World Bank funds to improve road resilience and climate risks management
WASHINGTON, August 28, 2014 – More than 170,000 Belizeans will benefit from improved climate resilient roads and capacity to manage climate risks and impacts as a result of a US$30 million project approved by the World Bank’s Board of Directors.
“This project will enable Belize to implement mitigation and adaptation strategies in the war against this global threat as it relates to the negative effects on Belize’s economic growth and welfare of its present and future generations,” said Ambassador Yvonne Hyde, Chief Executive Officer, Ministry of Finance and Economic Development.
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change identified Belize as one of the most vulnerable countries to the adverse impacts of climate change. More than half its population and business centers are at sea level along its low lying coastline. Hurricane Hattie destroyed half of Belize City in 1961, killing 400 people and causing damages amounting to over 600 percent of GDP, which prompted the government to build a new administrative capital 50 miles inland in Belmopan.
“Belize is particularly vulnerable to climate change and natural hazards. This project is an important contribution to address the impacts of climate change on the country’s social and economic development as part of the National Climate Resilient investment plan,” said Sophie Sirtaine, World Bank Country Director for the Caribbean.
“With the upcoming UN Conference on Small Islands Developing States in Samoa next week, this is also an opportunity to draw attention to the efforts needed to boost the resilience of Caribbean states that are particularly hit by rising sea level, flooding, hurricanes, and other disasters,” she added.
The climate resilient infrastructure project will:
- Rehabilitate 30 km of roads and train 100 people on road maintenance
- Improve 12 bridges and culverts
- Operationalize the National Land Use Policy and develop 26 localized hazard maps
- Train government staff in new flood tracking methods
This five year project is financed from an International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) loan of US$30 million to the Government of Belize. It has a final maturity of 40 years, with a five year grace period.