Due to the federal organization of the Mexican State, responsibility over environmental matters - including forest and climate change matters – is shared between States and the National Government. Coherence among Federal and State policies and laws has been highlighted as a main challenge to successful implementation of a national REDD+ strategy (SEMARNAT, 2011; IDLO and FAO, 2011). The main law for forest governance, the General Law on Sustainable Forest Development (2003) lists one of its objectives as being to “provide mechanisms for coordination, consultation and cooperation between forestry institutions and other bodies” (Article 3). The federal environmental policy is led by the Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources (Secretaria de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales; SEMARNAT). SEMARNAT establishes the procedures, guidelines and criteria for permits and authorizations for forest management and exploitation. Within SEMARNAT, the National Forestry Commission (Comision Nacional Forestal; CONAFOR) is responsible for the promotion of sustainable forest management (CARRILLO, 2011). This SEMARNAT agency is the focal point for many REDD+ initiatives in the country and has been designated by the Working Group of Territorial Projects (Grupo de Trabajo de Proyectos Territoriales) as the coordinating entity for REDD+ activities (SEMARNAT, 2011). Also relevant is the National Forest Council (Consejo Nacional Forestal; CONAF), a consultative body to enhance the participation of public institutions, non-government actors and local stakeholders in the implementation of forest policy.
In order to enhance local and regional participation in forest policy, institutions such as Regional and State Forestry Councils (Consejos Forestales Regionales y Estatales) have been set up by SEMARNAT, CONAF and various municipal and federal entities. These forestry councils act as advisory bodies on the exploitation, conservation and restoration of forest resources. At the district level, local institutions called “Forest Development Promoters” (Promotorías de Desarrollo Forestal) have been established by the General Law on Sustainable Forest Development in order to disseminate forestry development policies and support forestry institutions.
As agriculture and livestock activities are some of the most important drivers of deforestation in Mexico, the Secretary of Agriculture, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food (Secretaría de Agricultura, Ganadería, Desarrollo Rural, Pesca y Alimentación; SAGARPA), the principal institution in its sector and the lead within the Interministerial Commission for Sustainable Rural Development (Comisión Intersecretarial para el Desarrollo Rural Sustentable), will play an important role in REDD+. The Secretary of Agrarian Reform (Secretaría de la Reforma Agraria) is in charge of providing legal certainty regarding land tenure through regularization of ownership titles. Similarly, as an external body of the latter, the National Agrarian Registry offers information about the states and changes of rights over rural lands (SEMARNAT, 2011).
Responding to the need for coordination amongst the various sectors involved in Mexican climate change policy, the Interministerial Climate Change Commission (Comisión Intersecretarial de Cambio Climático, CICC) and the Interministerial Sustainable Rural Development Commission (Comisión Intersecretarial para el Desarrollo Rural Sustentable, CIDRS) were established. In 2009, the CICC created the REDD+ Working Group (Grupo de Trabajo REDD+, GT-REDD+), which acts as an advisor to CONAF on strategies to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in Mexico. This institution involves various ministries and SEMARNAT agencies.
In 2011, CIDRS created the Working Group of Territorial Projects (Grupo de Trabajo de Proyectos Territoriales), which is coordinated by CONAFOR and is designated as the entity responsible for REDD+ early actions (SEMARNAT, 2011). Also, the General Law on Climate Change of 2012 transformed the National Institute of Ecology (Instituto Nacional de Ecología; INE) to the National Institute of Ecology and Climate Change (Instituto Nacional de Ecología y Cambio Climático; INECC). The INECC is a decentralized scientific research body within SEMARNAT that coordinates climate change, environmental protection and ecosystem restoration projects.
Other relevant national environmental agencies in the REDD+ process are the National Commission for the Knowledge and Use of Biodiversity (Comisión Nacional para el Conocimiento y Uso de la Biodiversidad; CONABIO) and the National Commission for Protected Areas (Comisión Nacional de Áreas Naturales Protegidas; CONANP). At the state level, such as in the States of Chiapas, Jalisco and the three States in the Yucatan Peninsula, many governments are increasingly active in promoting climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies.
Non-governmental organizations and academic and research institutions play a key role in the development and implementation of REDD+ in Mexico. In this sense, there are a large number of international, national, sub-national and local organizations currently involved in developing pilot projects and building local capacity. Some of these organizations include theMexican Civil Council for Sustainable Forestry (Consejo Civil Mexicano para la Silvicultura Sostenible, CCMSS) (national), Cooperativa Ambio (Chiapas), Servicios Ambientales de Oaxaca (Oaxaca), and U’Yool’Che (Yucatan Peninsula) to mention only a few. The College of Postgraduates, the College of Mexico, the National Autonomous University of Mexico – Research Center for Environmental Geography, and the College of the South Border, among others, have played an important role in the development of Mexico’s Readiness Preparation Proposal (R-PP), Mexico’s REDD+ Vision and on the future national REDD+ Strategy (ENAREDD+). Several donor countries and inter-govermental organizations (IGOs) also participate in Mexico’s REDD+ process (e.g., UN-REDD, IDLO, FCPF, Norway, Germany, Japan).
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SEMARNAT. 2011. Elementos para el diseño de la Estrategia Nacional para REDD+ (draft). Available here [Accessed February 2013]
CARRILLO, J.C. 2011. National Report: Mexico. Working paper commissioned by GLOBE International under Phase I of GLOBE Legislators' Forest Initiative (GLFI).