Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Belize to Grow Sustainable Blue Economy with IDB Support

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The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) approved a $7 million loan to Belize to help it sustainably expand its blue economy. The program’s overall objectives are to increase the earning potential of artisanal fishers and keep fishery exports high while promoting sustainable use of the country’s commercial marine resources.

The Government of Belize demonstrated its commitment to this project during a ceremonial signing held by John Briceño, Prime Minister of Belize, and Tomás Bermúdez, IDB´s General Manager for Central America, Mexico, Panama, the Dominican Repúblic and Haiti, at the recent Belize Investment Summit in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye.

The loan is designed to strengthen the government’s capacity to sustainably manage Belize’s economically important commercial fish species, like conch, lobster, and finfish. It will also help prompt the country’s artisanal fishers to adopt sustainable and climate-resilient technologies.

“IDB Group remains committed to supporting Belize to achieve sustainable and inclusive growth and one of our priorities is climate action. Conservation initiatives aimed at preserving and rejuvenating marine ecosystems are integral cornerstones in our efforts to mitigate climate change and facilitate the restoration of biodiversity,” stated Tomás Bermúdez.

The fishing industry has played a major role in Belize’s development, providing the country with jobs, food security, and revenue and foreign currency reserves. On average, fisheries and aquaculture accounted for 12% of total exports from 2015 to 2021. The fishing industry directly employs over 3,000 fishers and indirectly provides livelihoods for more than 15,000 people, or around 10% of the country’s labor force.

“Almost 50% our productive sector is dependent on the Blue Economy as this space is vital towards our national development and the successful implementation of Plan Belize. Fisheries has traditionally played an important role in the Belizean economy and continues to do so. As such, we need to work hand in hand with our Belizean people to sustainably manage our ocean’s resources” said John Briceño.

This operation is expected to improve the way Belize’s fishing industry is managed by using technology and science to process information on fisheries. This data will in turn help the country design and implement science- and evidence-based policies to maintain the biological health of the country’s fisheries and the profitability of its fishing industry. The approved loan will also boost the quality of life of artisanal fishers through a grant program that finances business plans for implementing sustainable and resilient fishing technologies. The implementation will be done using a centralized executing scheme for project administration with the strong technical leadership of the Ministry of Blue Economy and Civil Aviation.

The IDB loan has a 25-year repayment period and a 5.5-year grace period.

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 projects and provides policy advice, technical assistance, and training to public- and private-sector clients throughout the region.

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