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International Partnerships

Building climate change resilience and social integration of displaced people in Western Belize

One of six settlements that will be supported by this Lives in Dignity project © Government of Belize

This project enhances prevention, protection and solutions for communities facing disaster and climate-related displacement in settlements in the northeast Cayo District of Western Belize. The project plans to use an integrated and participatory approach with the involvement of the central and local Government of Belize, international organisations, settlement interest groups and academia.

This project is being implemented through funding provided by the Lives in Dignity (LiD) Grant Facility.

Scope and objectives

Mass displacement flows into Belize began in the 1980s when varying degrees of civil unrest and conflict engulfed the Central American region, principally Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. As a result of the unrest, tens of thousands of people were displaced and fled their homes, seeking safety in Belize. Many of the displaced people formed settlements in the west of the country. This resulted in the creation of communities that lack proper integration into Belizean society, as well as basic services such as education, water and health. These communities also face exposure to the impact of climate variability, such as flooding, drought and wildfires.

The overall objective of this project is to support displaced persons in six such settlements (Los Tambos, Duck Run 1, 2 and 3, Billy White and Santa Familia) in the region, enabling their inhabitants to become productive members of their communities and participate in furthering their own resilience, growth and the sustainable development of the region.

This project works at the heart of the humanitarian-development-peace nexus and has a strong development focus for communities whose needs have traditionally been met by short-term approaches. The sustainability of the project is enhanced by significant government involvement. The project addresses multiple possible hazards among a mixed target population and demonstrates innovation in the areas of disaster and flood mitigation. There is a strong focus on the participation of marginalised populations, particularly women.

Expected results

Increased access for displacement-affected persons to quality and integrated basic services (education, health, water, sanitation and energy)

  • Access to safe, adequate, and affordable drinking water for 1,150 households in three settlements containing displaced and migrant populations, and improved water systems in three nearby settlements
  • Access to health services for a total of 1,600 households in six settlements containing displaced and migrant populations, including the rehabilitation and upgrading of health centres in the Billy White, Duck Run 3 and Santa Familia settlements, and the upgrading of a health centre in Duck Run 1

Enhanced prevention, protection and solutions for disaster and climate-related displacement

  • Four settlements equipped with firefighting brigades and equipment, with at least 12 women and 12 men from the community trained in forest fire management
  • Increased resilience to natural disasters by building three new hurricane shelters in settlements Duck Run 1 and 3, to which 500 people will have access, and upgrading two schools in Billy White and Los Tambos to serve as shelters, should a disaster occur
  • Flood resilience through the construction of a drainage system serving 50 households in the flood-prone areas in Billy White and 170 households in Los Tambos


The EU-UNOPS Lives in Dignity Grant Facility was founded in 2020. The facility aims to promote development-oriented approaches and solutions to new, recurrent and protracted displacement crises. It funds innovative projects that support the resilience of communities and empower their members through livelihoods and basic services, making a concrete difference in the lives of displaced people.

This project will be jointly undertaken by the Government of Belize’s Ministry of Sustainable Development, Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management and the International Organization for Migration (IOM). For Belize to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, it must turn its attention to those forcibly displaced: human mobility is indivisible from sustainable development in the country. This is especially true for climate vulnerable settlements in Western Belize, where a lack of integration programmes for displaced people into mainstream society has left people in these settlements to fend for themselves. This project will provide a blueprint of how communities such as these can be supported.

Implementing organisations

Belize Ministry of Sustainable Development, Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management, and the International Organization for Migration (IOM)