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Belize to reduce climate vulnerability with IDB assistance

US$10 million loan to benefit 103,503 people in Belize City and Caye Caulker

Belize will seek to reduce its vulnerability to climate change and risk with the implementation of climate resilience measures in the tourism sector and the improvement of disaster risk management governance, through a US$10 million loan from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). The project is expected to directly or indirectly benefit 103,503 people living in Belize City and Caye Caulker.

Based on losses as a share of GDP, Belize is one of the countries most affected by extreme meteorological events –mostly hurricanes and tropical storms– in Latin America and the Caribbean. Between 1930 and 2016, the country has been hit by 16 major tropical storms, or one every five years on average, which affected 287,670 people and caused US$635 million in losses. The tourism sector is particularly vulnerable to climate risk, and the situation could worsen in the future due to climate change.

The program consists of two components. The first will seek to reduce climate change risk in the tourism sector. It will include studies and investments to reduce floods in the Orange Street area of Belize City, an area with a comparatively high climate risk. Planned works include a pumping station, the installation of floodgates in canals to control water flow, and actions to control coastal erosion in Palapa Gardens beach on Caye Caulker.

The second component deals with disaster risk management governance and climate change adaptation. It will focus on sharing information among key players, funding research efforts, and acquiring software to develop and publicize a web platform expected to become the cornerstone for a National Climate Risk Information System.

The US$10 million loan, from the Bank’s ordinary capital, is for a 25-year term, with a 5.5-year grace period and a LIBOR-based interest rate.

About the IDB

The Inter-American Development Bank is devoted to improving lives. Established in 1959, the IDB is a leading source of long-term financing for economic, social and institutional development in Latin America and the Caribbean. The IDB also conducts cutting-edge research and provides policy advice, technical assistance and training to public and private sector clients throughout the region.