ESSENTIAL: Trouble in paradise - New initiative transforms tourism in Belize and its threat to the environment

ESSENTIAL: Trouble in paradise - New initiative transforms tourism in Belize and its threat to the environment

Climate change threatens coastal ecosystems around the world. In Belize, this is impacting tourism and the livelihoods of many poor people who depend on this sector, as well as others such as fisheries. But better communication and inclusive policy-making are helping to safeguard jobs and protect the environment.

A new 'CDKN Essential' by Nadia Bood of WWF Belize et al, which distils the highlights of this successful initiative in climate compatible development, finds the following lessons from Belize's experience.

Key lessons:

  • Consult all players from the outset. Consulting and collaborating with communities, tourism operators and governments builds trust, facilitates effective communication and ensures buy-in – increasing the likelihood that adaptation policies will be adopted.
  • Mainstream adaptation across national policy. Adaptation strategies need to be integrated within national policies, budgets and sectoral plans. In combination with sound development planning, this can deliver maximum returns on investments.
  • Understand the tourism sector’s priorities. The Government of Belize has tended to prioritise tourism revenue over climate action, without considering the tourism sector’s own priorities. An accurate picture of business priorities is essential in securing private sector commitment to national sustainable development goals.
  • Tailor climate information to each stakeholder. Policy-makers want concise briefings, not lengthy reports; communities want engaging, accessible information, not jargon and sciencespeak; the private sector responds to the language of business. Failure to tailor information can exclude certain groups and reduce their desire to participate.

Download the full CDKN Essential (on the right) to read more.

If you enjoyed this short briefing note, you'll also like the 8-page 'Inside Story' on this topic: Opportunities for climate compatible coastal tourism - Lessons from Belize.

Image credit: NATO / Flickr

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