It’s National Climate Change Week!
Belize is marking Climate Change Week with several activities. Today, the week kicked off with a forum, which targets the country’s indigenous communities. Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Sustainable Development, Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management, Doctor Kenrick Williams explained that not only because the recent holiday dictates these communities’ inclusion, but because they are at the forefront of battling the effects of climate change.
Dr.Kenrick Williams, CEO, Ministry of Sustainable Development: “Essentially what we wanted to do was to engage with key sectors of stakeholders so indigenous people, young people, young negotiators and then high-level stakeholders and so this morning we are having the discussion with the indigenous peoples. What we wanted to do was to first engage in terms of what is climate change. you know the impacts of climate change and sort of context and then have some engagement that will allow them to represent their views in terms of the impacts of climate change and their respective communities. Some of the positions they think that we should take as it relates to climate change and so it’s really that engagement that will help to inform the national position that we take to COP 27, that we take to the convention of biological diversity COP that comes up in December so the idea was to really engage them, build some capacity in terms of the negotiating process and then solicit views as it relates to the impacts of climate change and informing the national position. Indigenous stakeholders remain an important stakeholder in the broader discussion, in the global discussion on climate change and climate change impacts because of course local communities are at the helm of the impacts of climate change and so we wanted to particularly target indigenous communities because of being a vulnerable community but again because being on the front lines of the impacts of climate change Belize as a country represents AOSIS and SIDS it’s in the global discussions on climate change and so when we go out and represent positions in terms of indigenous peoples positions we do not only represent Belize’s position but our sister countries on the SIDS network.”
Una May Gordon, an environmental and climate change expert is in Belize facilitating a four-day workshop, which addresses these environmental issues. She reiterated the need to have indigenous peoples around the discussion table and also said their input will be important in the run-up of COP27, which takes place in Egypt next month.
Una May Gordin, Environmental and Climate Change Expert: “We are taking off a week of activities, training and sensitization here at the behest of the government of Belize the climate change office has asked me to come in as a facilitator to facilitate a four-day workshop for indigenous people, for young people talking about negotiation and for the senior policymakers in government. Just to sensitize as we go into COP 27 we which is to take place in Europe and the role that the government of Belize so just to ramp up their own action and their own information and to sensitize really the population. It is happening really at a very good time. This week as you know a lot of flooding, a lot of rains a lot of it being ascribed to climate change what do we ascribe to climate change and what don’t we ascribe the climate change, what do we ascribe to actions that we can take and what don’t we ascribe to actions that we have not taken so it’s really a very good time for this to be taking place. Particularly for today that yesterday was Indigenous People’s Day and therefore we thought that it was necessary for the indigenous people to come out and to engage with the Government of Belize representatives so that they can start to be more active in the crafting of the solutions for them.”