Belize Protects its Marine Ecosystem to Fight Climate Change

March 3, 2015

WASHINGTON, March 3, 2015 – Belizeans will strengthen the climate resilience of its Barrier Reef and adopt sustainable alternative livelihoods as a result of a US$5.53 million Adaptation Fund project approved today by the Board of Directors.

“Tourism in Belize accounts for more than 15 percent of GDP. By protecting the country’s barrier reef and marine ecosystem, Belizeans will not only be able to support their tourism industry, increase their marine resources, provide sustainable livelihood opportunities to local communities, but also mitigate the effects of climate change in the most vulnerable areas,” said Sophie Sirtaine, World Bank Country Director for the Caribbean.

With a low lying coastline and more than 1,060 small islands, Belize is one of the most vulnerable countries in the world to climate change. It has the largest barrier reef in the Americas, which supports livelihoods for communities, vibrant tourism, and fishing industries, and shelters the country’s long coastline from high velocity winds that cause erosion and coastal damage.

The marine conservation and climate adaptation project will:

  • Increase the number of hectares of marine and coastal protected areas
  • Promote and provide sustainable alternative livelihoods for fishing communities adversely impacted by climate change
  • Raise awareness on the impact of climate change, as well as build capacity and train fishing communities in business and other technical; skills including mari-culture and eco- tourism.

This five year project is financed by a US$5.31 million grant from the Adaptation Fund and US$1.78 million in kind counterpart financing from the Government of Belize. 

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