Drafting Instructions for the drafting of Regulations for the Implementation of the National Integrated Water Resources Act (NIWRA)

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

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Overview :

The Japan-Caribbean Climate Change Partnership (J-CCCP) brings together policy makers, experts and representatives of communities to encourage policy innovation for climate technology incubation and diffusion. By doing so, the initiative aims to ensure that barriers to the implementation of climate-resilient technologies are addressed and overcome in a participatory and efficient manner. The project is designed to strengthen the capacity of countries in the Caribbean to invest in mitigation and adaptation technologies, as prioritized in their Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs) and National Adaptation Plans (NAPs).

The Partnership will include the following eight Caribbean countries: The Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, the Republic of Guyana, Jamaica, Belize and the Republic of Suriname.

Global climate change will have an impact on all water resources being brought about by changes occurring globally in the earth’s climate and are predicted to be malignant rather than benign.  With changes in temperature levels, sea level rise resulting in saline intrusion, changes in precipitation leading to floods and droughts and stresses to biodiversity, countries, who are low lying will potentially be affected, as well as their economies.

Belize is categorized as a Least Developed Country listed to be extremely vulnerable to the effects of climate change due to its’ low-lying coastal location. As the country is highly dependent on its natural resources for earnings, the effects of climate change coupled with natural disasters would indeed impact the natural ecosystems, productive sectors and other sectors for which its populace depend on for their livelihood as was evident over the last couple years where the country experienced more frequent and severe events.

Coupled with the effects of natural disasters and climate change related events, increasing pressures from population increases, economic and agricultural activity the demand for freshwater has increased and is threatening the quality and availability of freshwater in Belize as reported by the National Adaptation Strategy to address Climate Change in the Water Sector in Belize document (BEST 2009) and the Belize Second National Communication to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, 2011. 

Cognizant of Belize’s water sector vulnerability to climate change, the Government partnered with the Caribbean Community Climate Change Center and developed two Integrated Water Resource Management documents addressing policy and strategy and action plan to assist with the management of water resources given the potential impacts of climate change entitled National Integrated Water Resource Management Policy (including Climate Change) for Belize 2008 and National Adaptation Strategy to address Climate Change in the Water Sector in Belize (Strategy and Action Plan) 2009. 

As one of the policy recommendations of the National Integrated Water Resource Management Policy (including Climate Change) for Belize 2008 and the National Adaptation Strategy to address Climate Change in the Water Sector in Belize (Strategy and Action Plan) 2009, there is a recommendation to develop and implement national integrated water resources management (IWRM) plans by 2018. The adoption of national IWRM policies and strategies is a fundamental step towards achieving a number of targets and goals outlined in the policy, strategy and action plans developed for the water sector.

As the Ministry mandated to execute the Government’s Water Policy which is to “..bring about the planned development, coordinated management, sustainable use and protection of Belize’s water resources consistent with the social, economic and environmental needs of present and future generations, and to ensure that all Belizeans have access to affordable, safe, adequate and reliable water”, the legislation of the National Integrated Water Resources Management Act (NIWRA), 2010 equips the MNR with specific measures to be employed in order to fulfill the requirements of the Government’s water policy in a systematic way.  Vital to the efficiency and effectiveness of the implementation of any legislation, regulations must be developed in order to guide the enforcers of the legislation being implemented to ensure fairness, equity and efficiency in managing the resource for all.  As these stressors continue to place increasing pressure on the country’s water supply, the challenge is exponential on the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) to ensure sustainable use and management of the resource.  The Ministry is presented with a lack of regulatory and technical / monitoring capacity to meet the objectives on several fronts.  

It is in this regard that the MNR has asked UNDP for assistance in the selection of a qualified and competent local, regional or international expert in the field of integrated water resources planning and management.