Sunday, July 21, 2024

Honorable Andre Perez highlights Belize’s efforts to protect the environment at COP26


Belize’s delegation attending the UN Climate Change Summit COP26 continues to participate in different activities highlighting Belize’s efforts and commitment to the fight against global warming. On Thursday, November 4th, the Honourable Andre Perez, Minister of the Blue Economy and Civil Aviation, took part in a high-level panel discussion dubbed ‘Blue Carbon Protection in NDCs-Case Studies in Ambition. The event served to provide updates on the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). Perez demanded substance over promises and communicated Belize’s ambition to integrate robust targets for coastal-marine ecosystems in its NDC.

The event heard about Belize’s goal to protect further the environment and the continued efforts to protect mangroves and seagrass considered blue carbon ecosystems. Minister Perez shared that Belize stands out in the Central American region in leading conservation efforts. According to him, this includes reef and mangrove restoration while involving schools and communities.

Perez addressed his panel colleagues, stating that Belize faces great threats due to climate change, endangering coastal communities and local economies. Some of these factors identified were storms, sea-level rise, saltwater intrusion, and warmer waters. “These threats threaten our valuable and national assets such as our coral reef, the longest in the western hemisphere. In addition, they reduce the potential for fish production and other economic sector products such as tourism, and cause droughts the extreme high temperatures impact our crops and livestock,” said Perez.  Another point discussed was that Belize is a minor emitter of greenhouse gas, and the government is setting goals to mitigate the impacts on agriculture, waste, and industrial processes as other efforts in protecting the country’s natural resources, notably forests, wetlands, and marine ecosystems.

The minister said that Belize’s blue carbon mangroves and seagrass ecosystems play essential roles as nature-based solutions to climate change with mitigation, adaptation, and resilience. Perez explained the importance of these natural components in protecting coastal areas from erosion and storm surges. “So we will double the existing levels of mangrove protection by adding 6,000 more hectares by 2025 and a further 6,000 by 2030,” said Perez. The Minister of the Blue Economy said that 2,000 hectares of mangroves would be restored by 2025 and another 2,000 by 2030. “We will assess the climate benefits of Belize’s seagrass ecosystem and form the development of a national seagrass policy, and we will work together toward the inclusion of our blue carbon values to our national greenhouse gas inventory” Peres noted. These goals were presented as part of Belize’s shared efforts to the global awareness and benefits nature-based solutions can provide. Perez pressed that his government is willing to work with other countries in the region and strengthen their efforts to meet the global climate ambitions by sharing valuable experiences and best practices. Perez ended by pointing out substance over promises is very important and demanded actions over talks.

Perez ended the day with another high-level panel discussion meeting, where he joined the Minister of Environment from Costa Rica and Seychelles. The topic of discussion was the blue carbon efforts within their respective country’s NDCs. Belize’s leadership in conservation was again highlighted with the current administration’s goals on expanding the preservation of mangroves and seagrass ecosystems reiterated.

To watch the panel discussion, click here:

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