Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Experts share information on natural-based solutions for Belize’s coastlines


At a workshop held in Belize City, a five-year project called Coastline and People was presented. The project focuses on using nature-based solutions to fight climate change and other threats to the Belizean coastline. The University of South Florida (USF) spearheaded the project in partnership with the non-governmental organization Fragments of Hope and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).
The event was held on Friday, September 1st, at the Best Western Biltmore Plaza Hotel. Following a cultural presentation by a Garifuna group, the event started with the participation of dozens of environmentalists, journalists, and other stakeholders. WWF’s Nadia Bood explained that climate change is dynamic, and its impact will continue. “The university’s role is to ensure they do the necessary science and modeling to inform us on how we can proceed going forward, whether it certain local strategies or actions,” said Bood. She added that the five-year project had just wrapped up its first year. It involved plenty of data gathering and meeting some strategic partners, including engaging communities and holding workshops.
Executive Director of Fragments of Hope Lisa Carne is excited about the project and looks forward to obtaining accurate data. According to her, such accurate data can be used to create updated models. “We have four more years until we get some answers and guidance on how we can improve our restoration attempts to better generate shoreline protection,” said Carne.
The USF’s representative, Dr. Maya Trotz, professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, said she admires Fragments of Hope’s work in Placencia, southern Belize. “It is an inspiration to see all these researchers from around the world working together and trying to think about how to gather data in a more holistic manner that others can benefit from,” said Trotz. She noted the importance of these initiatives and encouraged others to come to the table to find solutions.

The all-day event included interactive activities that allowed participants to share ideas on projects championing nature-based solutions. Some areas highlighted as vital natural resources to preserve included corals and mangrove forests. It was emphasized that protecting these natural resources can strengthen coastal communities and significantly contribute to the challenging task regarding climate change.

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