Sustainable development central to Belize’s future, says IDB

7 Aug 17

Belize must make long-term plans to gain the greatest benefit from and protect its natural resources, the executive vice president of the Inter-American Development Bank has stressed, following an IADB visit to the country.

Julie Katzman stressed the need for careful, long-term planning to ensure the country takes full advantage of its natural resources, biodiversity and cultural heritage while protecting these from over-exploitation and natural disasters.

Katzman said: “Sustainable development is without a doubt at the core of the future of Belize, of the economy and of people’s quality of life and it is essential that everybody get this right going forward.

“We are focused on building lasting solutions to difficult problems that have been bottlenecks for the country. Being able to solve [those challenges] in an inclusive way that creates new entrepreneurial opportunities for people who are economically disadvantaged is the kind of solution that we are looking at to really get to the heart of what we mean as sustainability.”

This would also be essential to reduce Belize’s vulnerability to climate change, storms and flooding.

Katzman noted that for each $1 spent on such risk reduction investments, it was possible to reduce losses caused by future disasters by up to $4.

Natural capital was at the core of Belize’s economic and social development, so integrating biodiversity into key economic sectors was vital for its future, as would be the preservation of natural capital in a country where tourism supports one in every six jobs, the IDB said.

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