Mr. Leroy Martinez, Economist/Green Climate Fund Focal Point in the Ministry of Finance, Economic Development and Investment, participated in a virtual high-level panel discussion with other regional National Designated Authorities (NDA) to the Green Climate Fund (GCF) on September 22, 2021. The Regional Dialogue to Access Climate Finance was organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) under a Mexico and CARICOM initiative with the support of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean Countries who are organizing the Sustainable Development Movement Summit 2021.
The objectives of the event were to promote dialogue between participating countries regarding challenges, constraints and successes in accessing climate finance; strengthen cooperation by learning from Mexican institutions that have been successful in accessing GCF funds; and to receive feedback from GCF and the Global Environmental Fund representatives.
In his remarks, Mr. Martinez explained that climate finance for both mitigation and adaptation is urgently needed because Belize’s location makes it vulnerable to the impacts of climate change such as storms, flooding, drought and erosion that are already affecting coastal communities. He added that climate finance is also needed for primary sectors such as agriculture (sugar and banana) and tourism, which contribute significantly to the national economy, including food security and employment.
Mr. Martinez also acknowledged the ongoing regional initiative by the FAO, Mexico and CARICOM to provide training in project development. The Belize NDA, under the leadership of Dr. Osmond Martinez, CEO for Economic Development, has overcome challenges and is already accessing climate finance from the GCF one-time National Adaptation Plan (NAP) allocated funds of BZ$6 million.
To date, the Belize NDA has accessed a grant of BZ$1.2 million for a fisheries and coastal NAP implemented with support from the FAO as its delivery partner. Additionally, a new water NAP grant valued at BZ$1.8 million will soon be approved by the GCF. Furthermore, the NDA has already committed a BZ$3 million grant to the Protected Areas Conversation Trust to develop NAPs for the agriculture, tourism, fisheries and health sectors to support adaptation to climate change impacts.
Dr. Orville Grey, GCF regional Manager; Dr. Renata Clarke, sub-regional coordinator for the Caribbean – FAO; Ms. Camila Zepeda, director general – Global Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs; His Excellency Oscar Esparza-Vargas, Ambassador of the United Mexican States to the Caribbean; Mr. Shaun Baugh, programme manager, Agricultural and Agro-Industrial Development – CARICOM Secretariat; and other colleagues of the ministry also participated in the dialogue.
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