World Environment Day: An Opportunity to Reflect on Human Development

02 Jun 2011

World Environment Day (WED) 2011, in support of the United Nations (UN) International Year of Forests (IYF), is the global day for positive action for the environment. This year’s theme – Forests: Nature at your Service – underscores the variety of life-sustaining services that forests provide and calls for action to protect these resources and move towards a green economy.

In Belize, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is supporting the development of a National Human Development Report (NHDR), “Think Change: Climate Change and Human Development”, which takes into consideration how the changing climate could potentially impact our country’s growth and commitment. The report will reflect on Belize’s vulnerabilities and examine if we are in fact mainstreaming climate change and incorporating mitigation and adaptation strategies into our national plans and strategies. It is hoped that this National Human Development Report on Climate Change can deliver concrete recommendations for national actions securing the sustainable development of Belize and the reduced vulnerabilities of Belizeans.

The report will analyze observed trends and variability of the climate of Belize and will offer projections of Belize’s climate in the 21st century, including country-scale projections of air temperature, precipitation, and projections of changes in frequency and severity of extreme meteorological events. It will describe how climate change is a major human development risk, including its links to livelihoods, vulnerability of populations, implications on security, migration and settlement patterns, human health and human rights, exploring the existing level of awareness in Belize by posing the question “how does climate change affect you?”.

National Human Development Reports place emphasis on the parameters of human development with an aim of positioning human development at the forefront of the national political agenda. They are tools for policy analysis reflecting people’s priorities, strengthening national capacities, engaging national partners, identifying inequities and measuring progress. As policy advocacy documents, they have introduced the human development concept into national policy dialogues — not only through human development indicators and policy recommendations, but also through the country-led and country-owned process of consultation, research and report writing.

With this in mind, we would like to hear from you and ask that you mark this World Environment Day by contributing your thoughts and experiences to the process. Let us at UNDP know what you understand about climate change and its impacts on Belize. We want to know how you see climate change impacts affecting your life. Is your future vulnerable? If so, what changes should be made today to afford more security tomorrow? Send your comments to NHDR Coordinator, UNDP, 3rd Floor Lawrence Nicholas Building, P. O. Box 53, Belmopan, Cayo District or by email to: nhdr.coordinator@undp.org or to diane.wade@undp.org.

Commemorated every year on 5 June, since 1972, WED is a principal vehicle through which the United Nations stimulates worldwide awareness of the environment. For specific queries related to WED, contact: worldenvironmentday@unep.org or visit the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) website http://www.unep.org/wed/ to register your 2011 environment activity.