Climate change: it’s a major threat to governments and businesses across the globe, particularly micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs). In Belize, 98 percent of the private sector is made up of MSMEs, which employ thousands of Belizeans. To prepare these enterprises for the effects of climate change, the Ministry of Economic Development, the Caribbean Development Bank, and the Belize Chamber of Commerce Industry launched the Private Sector Readiness Project. It’s an initiative funded by the Green Climate Fund (GCF). At this morning’s closing event for the project, the ministry’s CEO Dr. Osmond Martinez explained that the project was mainly to boost the capacity of Belize’s private sector to access climate finance for investments in climate change projects.
Dr.Osmond Martinez, CEO, Ministry of Economic Development: “The main outcome that we expect from it that the MSMEs will be able to access climate finance and accessing of climate finance would mean one it’s either a grant which is free money and two concessionary loans which is between 0.01% to 0.02% interest rate. So it’s a low-cost financing hence the reason there are three entities in Belize that are being – they are in the process of getting accredited with GCF. One of them is DFC the second one is the ministry of economic development and the third one is SIF and it is important to note that we have two entities that are already accredited one is PACT and the second one is 5 CS however 5 Cs is a regional entity but PACT is more of a national entity and is focused on helping the NGOs. So the main objective here is to help the MSMEs to access 1. local financing and 2. grants.”
Dr. Martinez further discussed how the MSMEs will benefit from climate financing and spoke about the urgent need for the country as a whole to be better prepared for the devastating effects of climate change.
Dr.Osmond Martinez, CEO, Ministry of Economic Development: “You have two categories of climate financing you have mitigation and adaptation. Mitigation meaning that we have issues with drought, we have issues with flooding, Belize is ranked #8 in the world for being the most vulnerable country within the most vulnerable countries to climate change and the impact of climate change. Now we have 192 countries Belize is 8th so we are in the top ten so we are highly at risk in terms of climate change. We can remember back in 2018 what the drought did to the agro-productive sector and how it affected our economy so you have floods, you have hurricanes, you have issues on the seasons are changing now it would rain when it is expected to be dry and it’s dry when it expected to be raining so these are the things in terms of the adaptation. Mitigation is how will you be able to reduce the impacts that climate change is having in the agro-productive sector within the MSU in all sectors. It can be in within the tourism, the service for the agricultural sector so for example instead of using traditional energy can we move onto using renewable energy? Instead of printing documents can we just use e-documents so the main outcome is to see how we can adapt and contribute to the reduction of the impact of climate change. It is important to note that Belize is a very low contributor to CO2 emissions so Belize does not have an issue on it or a problem in terms of but we can always make some sort of improvements.”
The Ministry of Finance, Economic Development and Investment is the National Designated Authority (NDA) of the Green Climate Fund (GCF).