REDD+ spearheads training for journalists on climate change and its effects
Wednesday, May 19th, 2021
Various representatives from media houses across the country convened at the Placencia Peninsula over the weekend to learn more about the mitigation and adaptation efforts to cope with climate change. The training/workshop on the 14th and 15th of May was organized by REDD+, which stands for Reducing Emission from Deforestation and Forest Degradation, (+) conservation, sustainable management of forests carbon, and stock enhancement. Other partners involved in the event included the National Climate Change Office (NCCO) and the Forest Department. The training raised awareness of Belize’s strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the impacts of deforestation and forest degradation.
There were presentations on the topic, along with the social and cultural impacts caused by climate change. These impacts mainly affect indigenous people, who have noted disruption in their way of living due to climate change.
Chief Climate Change Officer in the Ministry of Sustainable Development, Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management, Dr. Lennox Gladden, spoke about his department’s role. According to him, they look at climate change through the environmental lens and the social and economic ones as well. “Some of our counterparts within the region focus on climate change only from that environmental lens, and that tends to marginalize some of the work that they do. Through our approach, through our methodology, we also need to look at some of the social implications when it comes to climate change,” he said, when the impacts of sea-level rise and coastal erosion get to an extreme stage. If a community is located within some of these areas, you are looking at losing a culture. If the beach has gone back by one meter, you are looking at the loss of culture and livelihood loss. And so these are some of the social impacts that you also need to factor when we try to combat some of the effects of climate change.”
REDD+ and NCCO are taking a tiered approach to train the next generation to be cognizant of some of the issues that might arise in climate change and disaster risk management, and sustainable development goals. “So the message is getting out there, but there are certain gaps. It is now to break it down at the community level,” said Gladden.
During the workshop, REDD+ along with the NCCO and Forest Department indicated that their initiative would take three years in phases. The first phase is planning (readiness), knowing where the country is and where the main goal is. The second phase will deal with the implementation of strategic actions, and the last phase will involve monitoring. During this three-year strategic planning phase, specific forest sector activities will need to be conducted before the country can ever see tangible benefits.
The protection of Belize’s forests and the reduction of carbon emissions are paramount for the success of this initiative. The project’s motto, ‘Our Forest is Our Future,’ emphasizes the need to conserve this natural resource that provides livelihoods and a much cleaner future from pollution and greenhouse gases.
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