Thursday, June 20, 2024

Prime Minister Briceño signs MOU with WWF and TNC strengthening the Blue Bonds initiative


On Tuesday, November 2nd, Prime Minister Honourable John Briceño signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) to create a Project Finance initiative for Permanence (PFP) by 2025. This project, considered the first of its kind, is part of the Blue Bonds initiative to further protect and promote sustainable management of Belize’s coastal-marine ecosystems. The historic MOU was signed in Glasgow, Scotland, UK, during the ongoing 26th Conference of the Parties (COP26) climate change summit.

The PFP is designed to aid Belize in helping to meet its climate and environmental goals. With the signing of the MOU, Belize commits to collaborate on the development and execution of the PFP, which will provide sustainable financing for Belize’s marine protected areas and other coastal ecosystems. This signing is part of the Blue Bonds initiative that will give Belize over $300 million in debt relief. During the side event hosted by WWF, Prime Minister Briceño pointed out that Belize has been on the map when it comes to conservation. “As it is, we have more than 30% of our land in some form of protection, and with this agreement, we expected by 2026 to have 30% of our oceans (seas) under some sort of protection,” said Briceño. He said that the MOU allows Belize to ensure that there is funding available permanently. The prime minister also highlighted that such commitment sends a message to developed countries that emerging nations like Belize are doing their part to mitigate climate change.

Briceño wants to encourage other countries to do what Belize is doing concerning conservation. He mentioned Costa Rica, Brazil, and Bhutan as some examples of countries benefiting from initiatives such as PFP. Briceño added that having the opportunity to protect the country’s resources for future generations is pivotal for any government. With this new program to obtain finances via the Blue Bonds, it is a way to negotiate debt forgiveness while securing funding for conservation. The creation of this PFP will provide funds to protect areas like Belize’s barrier reef system.

The event ended with the signing of the MOU with the Chief Executive Officers WWF Carter Roberts and TNC’s Jeniffer Morris. Briceño mentioned that while sometimes parties do not honor agreements, his administration will keep their word regarding this MOU and commit to using the funds available from these Blue Bonds via the PFP to conserve Belize’s marine natural resources.

Prime Minister Briceño will remain in Glasgow until November 5th, attending bilateral meetings and other events related to COP26. He will return to Belize on November 6th, but part of his delegation of thirty will stay until the summit’s last on November 12th.


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