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Supporting recovery and building resilience in Belize: Building on existing mechanism to enable rapid response to the COVID-19 pandemic

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This paper covers the scopes of recovery and resilience in Belize aiming to build on existing mechanism to enable rapid response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Belize is exceptionally vulnerable to natural hazards, climate change and economic shocks. It is greatly exposed to hurricanes, flooding, sea-level rise, coastal erosion, coral bleaching, and droughts with impacts likely to intensify given expected increases in weather volatility and sea temperature shocks. However, its low-lying topography makes it extremely vulnerable to rises in sea level: the capital city, Belize City, was moved inland to Belmopan after its inundation during hurricane Hattie in 1961. For these reasons, planning and engaging with development partners on gender-informed, climate-resilient preparedness, recovery, and public financial management practices have been central to Belizean policy making for many years, long before Belize submitted its nationally determined contribution (NDC) to the Paris Accord in 2015.

The paper concludes with four main result:

  • The COVID-19 outbreak in Belize activated USD 20.5 million from CERC under CRIP to respond to the pandemic. In total, more than 13,000 households in need are expected to receive cash transfers through this emergency response.

  • The Building Opportunities for the Transformation Initiative was expanded. This initiative is a cash transfer program that provides small cash assistance to poor households in Belize.

  • The Government of Belize conducted a post disaster public financial management review.

  • The Government of Belize developed a detailed reform action plan for post disaster public financial management with CRF’s support.