The Ministry of Foreign Affairs held a public forum this week on water security and the effects of Climate Change.
The forum was held at the Bliss Center for Performing Arts on Wednesday night, and is a part of the ministry’s efforts to hold a forum every month. The forum featured four guest speakers and four short videos on the topic.
The panelists discussed topics such as the challenges that water systems in Belize face, water’s relation to providing the country’s present and future energy needs, and an assessment of our resources with respect to shared water sheds.
Three of the videos, each lasting between three and four minutes, emphasized the importance of water to health, productivity and to life.
The fourth video showed interviews the ministry did with random citizens to get their opinion on the importance of water and to see if they knew where their water comes from.
After the panelists made their presentations, Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Alexis Rosado led a round table discussion, giving them a chance to elaborate on their presentations.
The panelists included Carlos Fuller, Climate Change representative; Rafael Manzanero, of Friends of Conservation and Development; Roel Guerra, of Belize Electric Company Limited; and Tennielle Williams, of the Ministry of Natural Resources.
For the purposes of the forum water security was defined as “the reliable availability of an acceptable quantity and quality of fresh water for health.”
With 97 percent of the world’s water being salt water and only two percent fresh, rising sea levels due to climate change, while it carries little impact, is an increasing concern for countries the world over.
Erratic weather conditions due to global warming is also becoming an increasing water security threat.
In the region countries are experiencing the negative effects of climate change in different forms, such as Jamaica which has within the past three months been experiencing a drought.
On Sunday, Jamaican water Minister, Robert Pickersgill, told his countrymen to expect worsening conditions in the face of a drought the nation is having.
He cautioned that increased levels of heat and wind will make areas more susceptible to bush fires which will be difficult to extinguish since the country’s water levels are so low.