News Release

CDB Funds Multi-Hazard Impact-Based Forecasting and Early Warning System for Belize River Watershed

Published on
View of a river with a bridge in the background

Belize’s climate data collection capabilities and capacity to withstand natural hazards are to be improved through a grant for approximately USD1.26 million from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB). This financing will facilitate the implementation of technical assistance to strengthen a multi-hazard forecasting and early warning system for the Belize River watershed.

The project, under the Bank’s Caribbean Action for Resilience Enhancement (CARE) Programme, funded by the European Union through the 11th European Development Fund’s (EDF) Intra-African Caribbean Pacific – European Union- (ACP-EU) Natural Disaster Risk Reduction Programme, will support improved weather and climate data collection, modelling and analysis, and climate and disaster risk assessment. It will enhance the institutional capacity of key stakeholders, such as the National Meteorological Service (NMS) and the National Emergency Management Office (NEMO), to deliver effective early warning and climate services.

Belize is prone to hazards such as floods, droughts, and tropical storms. Recent hurricanes and heavy rainfall that led to flooding, revealed weaknesses in the country’s early warning system (EWS).

CDB Division Chief, Environmental Sustainability, Ms. Valerie Isaac, said the project will result in an improved observation network, modelling, and analysis tools, allowing Belize’s NMS and NEMO to collaborate to perform more effective risk analyses, develop multi-hazard maps, and establish reliable forecasting and warning systems while improving the technical capacity of staff members.

“Climate and hazard data are critical to understanding and assessing potential disaster risks and impacts on economic sectors, as well as to designing and implementing robust early warning systems to save lives and minimise loss and damage of properties and livelihoods. They can support decision-making and planning for adequate disaster risk management intervention,” Ms.  Isaac said.

She added, “The project will ultimately help to reduce the vulnerability of the people living in the watershed and Belize overall.”

CARE is a five-year, €14 million initiative to support disaster risk management and climate resilience building efforts in CDB’s 19 Borrowing Member Countries. The Programme provides grant financing to support initiatives aimed at improving governance on disaster risk management and climate change adaptation.

Financing is also used for strengthening evidence-based and gender-sensitive decision-making and financial response to the effects of climate change and natural hazards and enhancing community infrastructure and livelihood resilience to climate change and natural hazards.