Belize’s Ministry of Finance Economic Development and Investment (MFEDI) – the National Designated Authority (NDA) to the Green Climate Fund (GCF) – in collaboration with Willis Towers Watson’s Climate Resilience Hub (CRH) convened a three-day virtual Structured Dialogue to receive stakeholder inputs and validate Belize’s updated Country Programme* for eventual submission to the GCF**. The event brought together almost 50 key stakeholders across various Belizean ministries, private sector and civil society organisations (CSOs) to guide the country’s engagement with the GCF over the period 2021-2025.
The event took place in the context of the Readiness support project carried out in Belize by the MFEDI in association with the CRH climate finance team and national consultant, Ms Ann Gordon, to update Belize’s Country Programme through an inclusive, and participatory process. The project is funded by the GCF through the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) who acts as a Readiness delivery partner (DP).
Opening the meeting on 29th March 2021, MFEDI CEO Ms. Narda Garcia said that “to respond to the imminent threats posed by climate change, the government of Belize is committed to transforming the country’s economy along a low-emission and climate-resilient pathway towards sustainable development.” She also noted that one of the objectives of developing a CP that articulates priority climate change-related needs is to foster country ownership, built through an inclusive process driven by national stakeholders. Ms. Beverly Wade from Belize’s newly-formed Ministry of Blue Economy and Civil Aviation also opened the event by articulating the ministry’s mandate with ongoing GCF activities, acknowledging that Belize’s ocean health was a major contributor to Belize’s wealth and economic development.
Over the three days, attendees had the opportunity to engage in frank exchanges amongst each other and the NDA on the contents of the updated CP, including its new pipeline of projects for submission to GCF, and Belize’s national climate circumstances and policy goals.
Discussions during the Dialogue highlighted and welcomed the robust support provided by the GCF, while exploring through group discussions the challenges and opportunities to further strengthen the country’s access to climate finance. Ministerial stakeholders, such as the NDA and the National Climate Change Office (NCCO) of Belize, shared the priority areas under Belize’s new administration, such as working with the private sector and increasing agriculture’s climate resilience amongst others, and provided updates on critical national climate documents being updated, such as the updated Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) which is being finalised for eventual submission to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
On the last day, stakeholders were presented with each other’s comments that were collected on the updated draft CP and were invited to share their feedback with the audience which ensured that the updated document embodied national agreement through an inclusive and multi-stakeholder process.
In response to the challenges that arose from COVID-19 travel restrictions, the virtual Dialogue employed a mix of plenary presentations from guest speakers, the use of real-time online collaboration tools to comment on the CP, as well as takeaway preparation materials for attendees. Additionally, a poll was administered after the event which found that stakeholders found the process to be inclusive and allowed them as national stakeholders to validate the update of Belize’s CP. This reflects the team’s efforts to ensure national stakeholders’ ownership of the process, despite the challenges arising from the pandemic.
At the end of the event, Mr. Leroy Martinez, Economist and the NDA’s GCF Focal Point, provided closing remarks and thanked all participants, reminding that the group had a shared goal to advance Belize’s national climate change goals. The CRH team will integrate the validated stakeholder feedback from the event into the Country Programme, and share it with the NDA for approval, which will in turn submit it to the GCF in the coming months.
* A Country Programme is a document that establishes the basis for a country’s engagement with the GCF which includes the country’s profile (climate-related impacts, development challenges and climate priorities), the country’s engagement with the GCF (a GCF project portfolio and prospective pipeline), and the continuous monitoring and evaluation of the document. As such, the Country Programme provides investment guidance to GCF to support countries achieve low-carbon and climate-resilient development.
** The GCF is the largest public fund dedicated to financing climate change action in developing countries.