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GOB and the MET Office working to bolster the country’s resiliency to climate change

The National Meteorological and Hydrological Services are key bodies helping Government to develop policies aimed at helping Belize to respond to the effects of climate change. Yesterday, the Ministry of Sustainable Development, Climate Change, and Disaster Risk Management held a high-level meeting focused on the establishment of a national framework of Weather and Climate Services in Belize. The initiative is focused on using data gathered by HydroMet over the past 50-plus years to track changes in weather patterns. The Ministry’s Chief Executive Officer Dr. Kenrick Williams spoke about how this partnership will meet its objectives. 

Dr.Kenrick Williams, CEO, Ministry of Sustainable Development and Climate Change: “What we want to do is integration of these key portfolios, looking at how do we build climate resilience and address issues of vulnerability across the country through the data and services provided by the National Meteorological Services. We saw the impacts of the floods last week for example how do we use long series data to inform, and even short series data really to inform the decision making ? We currently use the data at the level of the productive sector so the farmers and those in energy and transport and others use that short-term forecasting to inform for example the farming, the impact on pests and disease and stuff like that. We want to see how we scale up a national framework that forms a more long term adaptive management for Belize and really addresses that long term mitigation in terms of impacts of climate change. What we would like to do is to scale up the use of the dat and information that they have into policy and decision making like I said. So it’s really to scale up for example within the health sector how is it that we use the data and services that are provided by the National Meteorological Service to inform for example issues of pest and disease impacts you know what we’re looking at the COVID issue we were trying to figure out the impacts of the performance of this disease in wet season vs dry season or cold vs alternative temperatures how do you use that to inform for example the education sector ? And again this long term planning and so that’s really what we’re trying to do use it to inform project development for example or investments in infrastructure and development. SO given that trend and that change in rainfall for example where as you saw from the presentation we used to think that in April we would have almost no rainfall where this year we saw a change in the amounts of rainfall that we get. How do we use those forecasts then to inform our project planning or infrastructure work so as to reduce the investment cost that we have, the delay cost, the contingency cost that would result in these projects. So again it’s using the information to better plan and better manage.”

Chief Meteorologist Ronald Gordon weighed in on how the services provided by the MET office will be used to track the effects of climate change on the country.

Ronald Gordon, Chief Meteorologist, MET Service: “We are basically looking at the different steps that we can implement to implement the national framework for climate and weather services in Belize. We have three major outcomes that we want. We want to present to our stakeholders the different services that we provide, the different products that we provide from the National Meteorological Service, we want to look at how these products can be enhanced, can be scaled up to different stakeholders, we want to get from them how the product or the projects that the are involved in can be basically merged with what we are doing to certainly enhance the cooperation with different stakeholders. So the mechanism or the national framework for climate services is basically a mechanism to collaborate between the National Met Service and stakeholders that use climate information and weather information.”