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Responding to Climate Change 2011

Home | Foreword | Welcome from Juan Elvira Quesada
Mr Juan Elvira Quesada, Minister of Environment and Natural Resources, México
Mr Juan Elvira Quesada
Minister of Environment and Natural Resources, México


Mr Juan Elvira Quesada, Minister of Environment and Natural Resources, México

It is a pleasure for our country and our region to host the Conference of the Parties on Climate Change. During 2010, México focused on re-establishing trust and confidence in the UNFCCC process and in providing all elements to achieve a balanced, inclusive, transparent and successful outcome in Cancún.

Climate change is one of the most critical environmental challenges of the 21st century. It undermines economic development, natural ecosystems and our very efforts to reach the Millennium Development Goals.

Scientific evidence unequivocally shows climate change can induce environmental catastrophes, with ensuing socioeconomic damages and climate variability which endanger modern civilisation. We must take action with a sense of urgency.

Climate change is a priority in México’s environmental agenda. We are investing human and economical resources to make the difference because our immediate response will define our future. To fail in this will mean to fail in our own survival.

This year, México has been impacted by serious flooding and landslides. Over 908 km² of 151 municipalities in south México were affected during the hurricane season, 40 people died and more than 250,000 people were adversely affected. The poorest sectors were worst hit. We are on the frontline in the battle against climate change

It is mandatory to build capacity in different ways to avoid high economical damages and the human costs that hurt our societies.

In a coordinated effort, various Mexican Ministries are working together on both mitigation and adaptation to fulfill our domestic responsibilities as well as our global commitment. Last year, we launched our Special Climate Change Program with specific action initiatives in different sectors. We will abate 51 million tones of CO2 by 2012 and cut emissions 30% by 2020, with respect to our baseline, if adequate international financing and tech transfer are provided.

Additionally, we have mitigated 19.5 million CO2e, which is 38.5% of our short-term target. As a part of our domestic actions, we are supporting the elaboration of local climate action programmes across 31 states with provision of tools and guides. So far, the Veracruz local programme is finished, Nuevo Leon is in the last stage and México City has independently developed its own programme.

The Ministry of Environmental and Natural Resources is also strengthening the forest ecosystem conservancy and its potential as carbon sinks. Since 2007, we have incorporated around 2.2 million of forest and rainforest hectares into the Payment for Environmental Services Programme.

During 2009, we exceeded our national target to increase the protected areas (PA) from three million hectares to 3.42 million. Actually, we have incorporated around 25,348,818 hectares of priority ecosystems, resulting in 13% of the Mexican territory under protection and 17.3% considered as wildlife management units.

It is my privilege to highlight the commitment of this Ministry to collective action: we have developed a National Strategy for Social Participation and set up bodies for this purpose, establishing precedents in the public administration.

I would like to emphasise that all public education institutions have integrated environmental issues into their programmes. Around 15 million of students receive environmental education in their civic and ethics classes. Furthermore, we have signed important agreements with 107 higher-education institutions to include the environmental approach in their operations.

We are in a race between political tipping points and natural ones, but I am enthusiastic; I am certain that Parties will work to reduce to the minimum the gap between scientific evidence and political response. It is possible, but above all it is mandatory; we cannot forget that carbon cycles do not follow political cycles.

Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, México

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