A World Bank diagnostic finds that Belize is thriving in some areas but failing in other sectors. On Thursday, a three-year growth and sustainable development strategy was launched at the Radisson. It outlines a plan to grow the economy, improve security and generally provide a better quality of life for Belizeans. News Five’s Duane Moody reports.
Duane Moody, Reporting
In the wake of the 2016-2017 Budget that projects an overall deficit of one point seven percent of GDP, today, the Government of Belize and the World Bank Group unveiled a growth and sustainable development plan for the country. It’s an actionable strategy that charts the path to a better quality of life. From a whole-system approach to sustainable development, to increasing prosperity, eradicating poverty; peace and justice as well as improving social cohesion and the sustainability of our natural resources.
Erwin Contreras, Minister of Economic Development
“This GSDS is to be viewed as the first in a series of medium term plans through which we expect to realize the vision articulated in Horizon 2030 and I quote – Belize is a country of peace and tranquility, where citizens live in harmony with the natural environment and enjoy a high quality of life. Belizeans are an energetic, resourceful and independent people looking after their own development in a sustainable way.”
Dr. Collin Young
Dr. Colin Young, C.E.O., Ministry of Environment & Sustainable Development
“The GSDS in its very approach—highly consultative and inclusive, cross-cutting to take the advantage of synergies and economies of scale and practical—represents a significant achievement that when implemented will achieve growth and sustainable development outcomes. I trust that you will leave here today, with both the understanding and the appreciation of the many opportunities contained in this strategy document. I hope that you will discern the intentional focus to transform how planning is done within our national institutions as well as the clear and deliberate attempt to embrace a truly results base platform where accountability and effectiveness are at the heart of an integrated development planning system.”
The strategic plan was created through consultation with the unions and a steering committee comprising of C.E.O.s from the Ministry of Economic Development, Environment and Sustainable Development and the Office of the Prime Minister. Indentified in the process were the four critical success factors for the development of the country.
Emily Waight-Aldana, Policy & Planning Unit, Ministry of Economic Development
Emily Waight Aldana
“In 2013, the ministry along with the government of Belize volunteered to be one of the pilot countries to develop the sustainable development strategy and for this we acknowledge UNDP and UNDESA for their work. In 2014, the SDGS were expected to replace the MDG; therefore, at that time we began rallying the technical and financial support to put together the national sustainable development strategy. What we were seeing were the same pillars; looking at income, looking at social cohesion and resilience, looking at the natural environment and encouraging and understanding its importance; looking at governance and security and how these interplay with ensuring development.”
The three-year strategy seeks to bring a balance among economic, social and environmental policies. Consultant Kent Vital spoke on the next step going forward.
Kent Vital, Consultant
“Entrenching program budgeting as we said before as a critical element going forward. The importance to put in place the institutional arrangements for implementing the GSDS; that is very important and the need to review and reform the tax systems…the need to prepare disaster risks, financing plan; the need to increase flexibility in human resource management and allocation and the implementation of the monitoring and evaluation framework; these are some of the key actions needed going forward as well.”
Duane Moody for News Five.