Belizeans must be wondering where all our recent weather extremes – hot sun, heavy rain, biting cold – are coming from. The National Meteorological Service says last year’s rainy season, particularly November, was the wettest on record, but is there more to come?
Back in September we told you that University of Montreal professor and climate change expert Dr. Bhawan Singh was leading an assessment of Belize’s vulnerability and adaptation to climate change. The results of those findings will be presented at a two-day event that began today.
At the opening ceremony, Minister in charge of Fisheries, Forestry and Sustainable Development, Senator Lisel Alamilla, spoke of the importance of the assessment.
“Ladies and gentlemen, climate change is one of the biggest challenges the world faces. For this government, tackling climate change is a top priority at home and internationally. The reason is simple. With climate change and variability and climate change, we can expect in the future than the current climate, we can expect different patterns of rainfall, rising sea levels and global seawater temperature as well as changing weather pattern resulting in an increase in the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events such as droughts, floods and hurricanes. These changes will naturally impact the natural environment and the social and economic sectors resulting in potentially catastrophic consequences and society”.
Six sectors were covered: agriculture, tourism, water, coastal development, health and fisheries. The workshop is about how each sector is most vulnerable and the strategies in place to fight back. The Minister went on to speak about how the findings can be implemented on the ground.
Senator Liselle Alamilla: “Today at this workshop, you will be presented with the findings of this assessment, mainly the possible impacts on climate change on the natural and human resources of Belize. Based on these findings, adaptation measures has been identified. Therefore, your role here at this workshop is an important one. You are here to provide comments and feed-backs on the findings relating to the assessment and the sector’s specific adaptation measures that can be implemented to facilitate resilience to climate variability and climate change. The results from this Vulnerability and Adaptation Assessment will be useful sources of information and can be a part of a decision making routine when formulating and identifying projects for project developments”.
The Assessment was funded by the European Union Global Climate Change Alliance (EU GCCA) and the Global Environment Facility (GEF), with assistance from the United Nations Development Programme. Dr. Singh will lead the writing of the final report, a version of which will be presented to the United Nations’ Framework Convention on Climate Change.