Belize’s Minister Orlando Habet asks for a firm commitment against climate change at COP27
Wednesday, November 16th, 2022
A Belizean delegation led by Minister of Sustainable Development, Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management Honourable Orlando Habet is currently participating at the annual United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties, commonly referred to as COP27. The 27th edition is taking place in El Sheikh, Egypt, where on Tuesday, November 15th, Minister Habet highlighted the impacts of climate change and appealed to developed countries that have built their wealth on exploiting fossil fuels, causing climate crises in countries like Belize.
Habet pointed out the recent devastation in Belize caused by Hurricane Lisa. The minister noted approximately US$100 million in physical and social damage, with 500 homes lost and 5,000 persons in shelters. He continued, “losses of this singular event are about 10% of the national budget, money that could otherwise be used for health, education and poverty alleviation,” Habet said. The Belizean minister noted that the impact of Hurricane Lisa is the reality of climate change and calls for immediate action. “How many lives must be sacrificed before there is urgent climate action?” he questioned.
Habet also spoke about the Small Island Developing States (SID) situation, which includes Belize. “Small Island Developing States such as Belize continues to be severely impacted by climate change across all sectors. SIDS continues to face natural health-related social and economic shocks that are beyond domestic control. The growing vulnerability of SIDS is a direct consequence of being in climate-sensitive zones and are especially prone to the destructive impact of climate change with damage costing approximately US$12.6 billion per annum. Losses due to natural hazards exceed an average of US$46 million dollars per year in Belize,” he said. “Even in the face of these challenges, Belize continues to implement target actions to mitigate and help our people adapt to the impacts of climate change.” Habet said the current COP is an opportunity to act and implement regulations that will safeguard the future of the planet and those living in the most vulnerable areas. He ended by asking for urgent action to address the ongoing issue of climate change.
This is the last week of COP27, closing on Friday, November 18th. At this time, the power brokers are finalizing negotiations to benefit from opportunities afforded to those seeking to implement resilient programs to fight the climate crisis. The Belizean delegation has been at the forefront of these discussions to access climate finance for adaptation and mitigation efforts. The opportunity to access climate-related resources continues to expand; therefore, Belize is looking at another aspect of it. According to Minister Habet, the government will seek finances for loss and damage.
COP28 will take place in November 2023 in Dubai.
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