I2UD Completes Municipal Development Plans in Belize

In July 2014 I2UD completed an 18-month World Bank financed project to support the drafting of municipal development plans for seven municipalities in Belize. An inter-disciplinary team from the Institute supported Local Planning Working Groups (LPWGs) in the municipalities of Belmopan, Benque Viejo del Carmen, Corozal, Dangriga, Orange Walk, Punta Gorda and San Ignacio/Santa Elena to draft their own plans to address existing urban conditions as well as future growth.

The LPWGs were responsible for the actual preparation of the plans and were made up of active citizens, senior council employees, members of the council and the mayor. The I2UD team focused on building the capacity of the Town and City Councils to undertake these planning activities and draft the plan.

The I2UD team, working closely with the Belize Social Investment Fund and an Urban Planning Officer, held workshops, designed training modules tailored to each chapter in the plan and provided hands-on technical assistance in the field.  The training increased the professional capacity of the LPWGs to draft their plans and fill gaps in the technical know-how of its members. Additionally, during the course of the project, I2UD provided additional technical assistance through extended working sessions in-between modules to apply the planning concepts and provide GIS and mapping assistance.

In June the seven Local Planning Working Groups presented their final draft plans to over sixty participants from the municipalities, the central government, the Belize Planners Association, the World Bank team, I2UD and other organizations. Each LPWG delivered a 15-minute presentation with a special focus on key issues and opportunities, their vision for 2030, their land use proposals, their key priority infrastructural investments, and their short term implementation strategies. Implementation strategies emphasized the importance of enhancing local revenue collection and seeking partnerships with communities and local stakeholders in the short term, as a way to leverage external support for their municipal development plans in the medium to long term.

The Institute was very pleased to present planning certificates to all members of the Local Planning Working Groups to acknowledge their participation in the training modules and also handed out awards to those who made remarkable contributions to the drafting of the municipal development plans.  In addition, we submitted a Guidance Manual that summarized the key elements of the 18-month planning effort to help in future updating of the plans.

From September to November 2014, each municipal council will hold open forums where residents will have the opportunity to discuss the plans and provide recommendations and suggestions prior to the adoption of the plans.

Learn more about I2UD’s work on Municipal Development Plans in Belize.