Belize Partners with Stanford University, IDB for Natural Resource Monetization Project
Belize is looking to monetize its natural resources. This endeavor is coming about through a collaboration with California’s Stanford University and the InterAmerican Development Bank (IDB). A pilot project was launched this morning at the Best Western where the CEO in the Ministry of Economic Development, Dr Osmond Martinez, spoke on the aims, objectives and benefits.
Dr. Osmond Martinez, CEO, Ministry of Finance: “We’re looking at an opportunity when you look at the natural assets company or natural assets accounting which is not being captured within Belize’s GDP but it’s also a natural resource and also at many points we don’t understand that we don’t convert these things or monetize them. So for example when there is a natural disaster, and say for example there are trees that have fallen because of the natural disasters we would say X amount of trees have been destroyed because of a natural disaster. In reality it’s how much money did the nation lose ? And this is one of the aspects that is not well captured within Belize and along with the University of Stanford and IDB we’re working very closely now to see how we can set up a system that will be able to tell us exactly what is the value in money that we have within our natural resources. Belize is a country that is a carbon sink but how can you monetize those carbon credits? And so how can you make it in a way that it will impact the most vulnerable population in Belize? That you can say, okay, we can develop a housing program that will be resilient to a category one hurricane ? Or how can you move on to say, you know what this is a climate adaptation project for the most vulnerable population. Therefore our natural resources is important. At the same time the Government of Belize has invested a lot in our natural resources but now who can the most vulnerable population enjoy those benefits? And this is the things that we are working on in terms to formalize the assets and the stock within our natural resources.”
Martinez added that the ministry will be collaborating with Stanford University and local Universities in Belize to develop a centralized data bank system focused only on data related to climate change. Executive Director at the Natural Capital Project at Stanford University, Mary Ruckelshaus spoke about what she hopes to achieve at the end of today’s workshop.
Mary Ruckelshaus, Executive Director, Natural Capital Project Stanford University: “Our participation with the government of Belize and many different ministries is to co-create science-based solutions that show the connections between nature, your coral reefs, your mangroves, your sea grasses, and human development goals like livelihoods and safety and food security. So we’re in the middle trying to bring some extra technical capacity to the incredible capacity that’s already in Belize. So at the end of this workshop, what we’ll have is a much better indicator set. So we’re going to make a long list of indicators for humans, for nature, and for the connections between humans and nature and then we’ll start to identify, okay who’s going to measure what and how can we do this over time in a very transparent and data-driven way ? I’m thrilled to see we’ve been here since 2010 working with the Belizean governments and your community and I am just thrilled and impressed and proud to see all that your country has done to advance science-based solutions that find connections between people and nature so that the government sees its prosperity and the safety of its people depends on its beautiful coral reefs and mangroves and sea grasses.”
The end goal for the plan with strategic monitoring, reporting and verification is set for 2025.