Belize advances in climate change adaptation planning and disaster risk management with support from UB and IDB

Saturday, November 9th, 2019

BELIZE CITY, Belize – Sixteen students representing private and public-sector organizations successfully completed and graduated today from a seminar entitled ‘Climate Change Adaptation Planning for the Coastal Zone’. The 3-month seminar was executed by the University of Belize Environmental Research Institute (UB ERI) with support from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). The course aimed at building local capacities for the management of natural and climate hazards along the Belize coastal zone.

Complementary to the objectives of the IDB-financed Climate Vulnerability Reduction Program for Belize to build climate risk resilience in key sectors, the course provided foundational technical skills and day-to-day practical knowledge on the planning, design and execution of risk-resilient coastal protection infrastructure and sustainable land-use policy and practices.

Targeting local stakeholders involved in engineering and land use management, the course covered the topics of integrated coastal zone management, coastal risk modelling, engineering design of hard and nature-based coastal protection infrastructure and low-cost monitoring and maintenance measures to better manage investments after implementation. The development team for the course stressed an innovative and applied approach relevant to local needs and conditions, involving online and in-person teaching and course work with relatable examples throughout the Caribbean, as well as field trips at locations within Belize.

UB ERI’s Administrative Director, Dr. Leandra Cho Ricketts shares that “the UB ERI is proud to have partnered with the IDB to build national capacity for climate adaptation that will ultimately increase the resilience of communities and ecosystems, through the use of climate friendly techniques for coastal infrastructure. The seminar in particular targeted the private sector, an important player in helping the country enhance its resilience to climate change and ensure continued provision of coastal ecosystem services”.

International and regional experts from the Environmental Hydraulics Institute of the University of Cantabria in Spain and the Coastal Engineering program of the University of the West Indies in Trinidad and Tobago complemented the UB ERI Faculty in delivering the course.

“The IDB Country Office in Belize is pleased to have collaborated with the University of Belize Environmental Research Institute to advance climate change adaptation planning and disaster risk management in Belize” said IDB’s Country Representative for Belize Cassandra T. Rogers, adding “It is our hope that the new graduates will apply the knowledge gleaned from this course, particularly the applications of nature-based approaches to coastal defense, to better leverage the wealth of ecosystem services that Belize is naturally, richly endowed with, towards building more resilient coasts and a sustainable path to national development.”

UB ERI and the IDB congratulate all graduates and especially commend the outstanding accomplishments of the three top performers: Tristan Usher, Executive Engineer in the Ministry of Works and Erwin Contreras and Lucien Chung, Civil Engineers from the Association of Professional Engineers of Belize.

About the IDB
The Inter-American Development Bank is devoted to improving lives. Established in 1959, the IDB is a leading source of long-term financing for economic, social and institutional development in Latin America and the Caribbean. The IDB also conducts cutting-edge research and provides policy advice, technical assistance and training to public and private sector clients throughout the region.

About the ERI
In January 2010, the University of Belize launched its Environmental Research Institute to narrow the wide gap in local capacity for research and monitoring through partnerships, training, communication and outreach. The work of the Institute is focused on producing results that are directly relevant and applicable to the effective management, sustainable use and conservation of Belize’s natural resources, while continuously working to empower Belizean professionals.

Caption: Graduates of the ‘Climate Change Adaptation Planning for the Coastal Zone’ Seminar with representatives from the University of Belize, Environmental Research Institute, and the Inter-American Development Bank in Belize.

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