The United States Biden/Harris administration is in full effect in the US with several executive orders already signed and plans to undo and rectify many of the decisions made by the previous Trump administration. One of the things that Belize’s government is hoping the Biden/Trump administration does, is appoint a US Ambassador to Belize. Belize’ Foreign Minister Eamon Courtenay noted that the last Ambassador to Belize was His Excellency Carlos Moreno who left Belize in January 2017.
Hon. Eamon Courtenay, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade & Immigration: “I think first of all we hope that we will get an ambassador. Whilst we have been able to work and have had good relations with the United States and the chargé Keith Gilges, and we’re not criticizing him at all, I think it is important that we have ambassadors in both our countries so that we would welcome the naming and the ambassador taking up office soon. Beyond that we have welcomed the new Biden/Harris administration and we do that primarily because of a number of things. One, their position on the environment and sustainable development, climate change is much closer aligned with ours and we welcome their return to the Paris Agreement. They’re differentiated and more humanitarian posture on immigration and the status of documented and undocumented immigrants in the United States of America which affects some Belizeans I think is a matter that is again much closer to where we would want their policy to be. We also believe that there is a lot of scope for continuing collaboration on drug interdiction, the fight against human trafficking, trafficking in persons and I expect that with a seasoned diplomat at the head of the state department and the return of more foreign service officers who are professionals that we will have a better opportunity to engage in constructive dialogue even on things where we have differences rather than its either you’re with us or you’re against us approach to things. So we look forward to Caribbeanwide negotiations and discussions with the new US administration and in terms of Belize we can only see a strengthening of our diplomatic relations.”
Among the fixes that President Joe Biden has undertaken is the reinsertion of the United States into the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. In addition President Biden has pledged a one point seven trillion dollar investment into sources of clean energy. Belize is one among 197 nations that have signed onto the Paris Agreement. Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Sustainable Development and Climate Change Dr. Kenrick Williams spoke on the importance of the US rejoining the Paris Agreement and how his Ministry is preparing for the upcoming COP26 Summit in the United Kingdom.
Dr. Kenrick Williams, CEO, Ministry of Sustainable Development, Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management: “Yeah I think that’s an important, we’re lauding that approach and we’re lauding that decision by the US government to rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement because when you look at countries like Belize and the impacts from climate change we stand to be impacted. And so we have a powerful country who can support mitigation and adaptation efforts of countries like Belize and other small island developing states and so we’re excited about the opportunities now that exist in terms of addressing issues of climate change because in parallel with climate change there’s associated development and other challenges and when you look at Belize significant, maybe more than 40% of our population are coastal communities and so they stand to be impacted by climate change. We see the impacts in Dangriga and Monkey River and others and then we’ve seen the impacts from the recent storms and floods and so we’re able to go to the table through associations like the AOSIS, the Association of Small Island Developing States and other regional and international mechanisms which we’re a part of to negotiate reductions, to reduction finance and other climate resources to be able then to address adaptation as well as mitigating the impacts of climate change. The COP26 is supposed to be in November of this year, we are starting to name our team that will be part of that discussion. We are also in the process as a country of finalizing for example our low emissions development strategy, we’re finalizing the forest reference emission level studies where we can look at payments. We have recently done a vulnerability and adaptation assessment, our communication strategy so we’re looking at some of the key sectors that will be impacted as a country, what are the priorities for us in terms of negotiation as part of COP26 and what will be key things we want to achieve by participating in such an event.”
Belize has been a signatory on the Paris Agreement since April 2016