Country

Belize

Explore historical and projected climate data, climate data by sector, impacts, key vulnerabilities and what adaptation measures are being taken. Explore the overview for a general context of how climate change is affecting Belize.

Adaptation

Belize’s national policies address the issue of climate change and climate change adaptation. Its “Medium Term Development Strategy” for 2010 to 2013, for example, acknowledges climate change as a relevant part of Belize’s development context. The “Government of Belize Policy on Adaptation to Global Climate Change” recommends the mainstreaming of adaptation into all sectors and government ministry plans. In a more recent exercise, a consultancy elaborated a “National Adaptation Strategy to Address Climate Change in the Water Sector” as part of the “Mainstreaming Adaptation to Climate Change” (MACC) project implemented by the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC), a regional organization with headquarters in Belize. It presents five key adaptation actions for this sector involving integrated water resource management, institution and capacity building, transboundary collaboration and awareness and education. Belize has also developed a Climate Change Action Plan that outlines key sectors for adaptation.

Adaptation Options for Key Sectors

  • Alter inputs, varieties and species for increased resistance to heat shock and drought, flooding and salinization; alter fertilizer rates to maintain grain or fruit quality; alter amounts and timing of irrigation and other water management; alter the timing or location of cropping activities.
  • Manage river basins for more efficient delivery of irrigation services and prevent water logging, erosion and nutrient leaching; make wider use of technologies to “harvest” water and conserve soil moisture; use and transport water more effectively.
  • Make wider use of integrated pest and pathogen management, developing and using varieties and species resistant to pests and diseases; improve quarantine capabilities and monitoring programs.
  • Increase use of climate forecasting to reduce production risks.
  • Introduce forest conservation, agro-forestry and forest-based enterprises for diversification of rural incomes.
  • Develop early warning systems and disaster preparedness.
  • Develop new crops.
  • Core forest management needs to be strengthened to address existing threats as well as anticipated additional threats from climate change.
  • More information, based on both scientific and local/traditional knowledge, is needed to fully understand the impacts of climate change on forest and forest-based livelihoods to guide management.
  • Forest management institutions need to be strengthened to be able to effectively respond to climate change. Specific action is needed to link legal and policy frameworks of forest management to climate change adaptation and mitigation.
  • Analysis of mitigation potentials and adaptation options and the costs and benefits of carrying out REDD+ and adaptation actions need to be conducted to inform forest management planning.
  • Implement strict rules and regulations for the illegal removal of forest reserves and enhancing the policing for the monitoring forest reserves.
  • Maintain or increase the forest area through reduction of deforestation and degradation and through afforestation/reforestation.
  • Consider the development of a mechanism to facilitate Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) directives outlined in the National Integrated Water Resources Management Policy for Belize.
  • Assess the possibility of broad scale implementation of rainwater harvesting, localized wastewater recycling schemes and legislation, including for agricultural irrigation.
  • Water infrastructure should be developed to increase access to sanitation facilities and safe water, and reduce vulnerability during drought events and after major storms and hurricanes.
  • Develop pilot projects to assess artificial recharge of aquifers and conduct feasibility studies and explore the possibility of additional projects.
  • Increase water supply by using groundwater, building reservoirs or stabilizing watershed management and the implementation of desalination.
  • Decrease demands by increasing efficiency, reducing water losses, water recycling and changing irrigation practices.
  • Develop and introduce flood and drought monitoring and control systems.
  • Improve and/or develop proper water management techniques.
  • Coral Reef:
    • Monitor change in reef in response to climate induced factors.
    • Establish Marine Protected Areas.
    • Adopt/develop conservation programs, policies and plans.
    • Conduct research on reef response to climate change.
    • Develop & implement a sustained public information program.
  • Mangrove:
    • Mangrove monitoring and research.
    • Develop and implement replanting program.
    • Promote/support mangrove conservation programs, policies and legislation.
    • Monitor compliance with Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) requirements for coastal mangrove alterations.
    • Develop and implement a sustained public information program.
  • Fisheries:
    • Monitor fish catch and effort data.
    • Establish Fisheries Reserve or expand no-take zone in Marine Protected Areas.
    • Develop Fisheries Management Plan.
    • Conduct research to aid and support sustainable fisheries management goals.
    • Develop and implement a sustained public information program targeting fisherfolk especially and the public in general.
  • Coastal Community:
    • Monitor socio-economic status of fishers in coastal communities.
    • Encourage engagement in non-fisheries related (tourism) economic activity.
    • Encourage diversification of fish species targeted.
    • Assess vulnerability of coastal communities to climate change impacts; determine suitability of current structure and new construction
    • Develop and implement a sustained public information program on impacts of climate change and alternative livelihood programs.
  • Conduct thorough cost-benefit analysis of coastal protection in vulnerable coastal areas.
  • Conduct focused analysis to determine the economic impacts of sea level rise on the tourism sector.
  • Assess the adaptive capacity of the tourism sector to sea level rise.
  • Review and develop policies and legal frameworks to support coordinated retreat from high-risk coastal areas.
  • National Sustainable Tourism Master Plan – revise to integrate green climate adaptation options to help deal with current and future disaster risk reduction and climate risk factors within the tourism development landscape.
  • Coastal Zone Management (CZM) Act – ensure that the CZM Act is effectively revised to grant greater protection to Belize’s coastal habitats, including those beyond the high water mark. A revised CZM Act will also grant greater strength to the implementation of the Belize Integrated Coastal Zone Management Plan.
  • Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Regulations – ensure that the EIA Regulations, including associated development checklist, fully call for the accounting of the value of nature in combating risks and vulnerability related to climate change effect.
  • Mangrove Regulations – revise/update the mangrove regulations to grant greater protection to mangroves, and thereby reflecting the critical goods and services provided by these ecosystems in buffering against climate impacts; climate-smart regulation.
  • Horizon 2030 Development Plan – need to clearly account for the influence of climate change on our environment, social and economic sectors. Belize’s main economies are nature-based and climate change may compromise some of the benefits we are receiving from nature if appropriate planning and management actions are not set in place.

Gaps and Needs

  • Climate modelling applicable to small island developing states.
  • Water supply and demand studies in relation the effects of climate change.
  • Studies on the extent of damage to critical infrastructure for various categories of hurricanes.
  • Beach valuation studies to determine the economic impact of erosion and loss.
  • Understanding where impacts will occur in order to facilitate proper planning with regard to reducing damage to infrastructure.
  • There is a great need for the downscaling of the Global Climate Model (GCM). The GCM provides relevant data for the Caribbean; however, at the national level, the resolution and data needs of the model do not support meaningful interpretation. A regional climate model is required that will better assist the Caribbean and individual countries of the region to better plan and adapt for climate change and climate related activities.
  • More detailed information on the impacts of climate change on agriculture, tourism and fisheries is required. Financial plans to assist in the evolution and implementation of adaptation options are to be developed.
  • An effective and sustained education program on climate change is required to assist in the social, economic and cultural response to the impacts of climate change.
  • Gaps in institutions and response need to be addressed.
  • The formulation, publication, implementation and regular update of national programs to mitigate and adapt to climate change.
  • Promote and cooperate in the development, application, diffusion and transfer of technologies that control, reduce or prevent emissions of greenhouse gases.
  • A master plan to coordinate the programs and activities of all entities working in climate change.