Campeche, Mexico: Overcoming major governance challenges for REDD+
It's a tough climb to overcome the major challenges facing forests and land use sectors in Mexico. Photo of Calakmul mayan ruins in the Mexican state of Campeche by Sergey Yeliseev.

Campeche, Mexico: Overcoming major governance challenges for REDD+

By Editor
At a glance :
  • Harmonization of public policies and collaborative efforts one of the major REDD+ governance challenges in Campeche, Mexico
  • To overcome these, need to:
    • Link key private sector, government institutions and civil society
    • Develop and implement jurisdictional adaptation and mitigation actions that strengthen technical capabilities of government and other state actors.
    • Create and strengthen spaces for communication and feedback from users and landowners
  • Research should be directed toward topics that are of urgent attention to the Mexican state of Campeche – enabling actionable programs that foster partnerships between academia and government.

Evelia Rivera Arriaga is Secretary of the Environment and Sustainable Development of the Government of the State of Campeche, Mexico. She talks to about building collaboration, capability and communities as part of the state’s REDD+ activities.

This interview has been translated from Spanish. Lea la entrevista en español aquí. 

What are the 3 main governance challenges for REDD+ in your state?

First, it is necessary to empower communities, ejidos [area of communal land used for agriculture] and landowners in issues related to Reduction of Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+). It is also necessary to establish criteria for action, implementation, feedback and participation of communities so that they receive the economic, social and environmental benefits of REDD+. It is important to start with capacity building and the free, prior and informed consent, to stimulate the participation of communities in these processes: that way, they will be able to make REDD+ actions and projects in the local territory be actually theirs. Only if this occurs, the social and environmental as well as legal and economic safeguards, will be respected.

Another major challenges of governance for REDD + in the state of Campeche, is the harmonization of public policies and collaborative efforts on REDD+. It is important to note that efforts to reduce deforestation and degradation should involve all sectors, not only the environmental one. That is why it is essential that  subsidies created to encourage productivity in the rural sector, have a focus on sustainability. We believe it is important to direct the efforts of all stakeholders, in order to seek synergies and utilize available resources in an efficient way.

Evelia Rivera Arriaga, Secretary of the Environment and Sustainable Development of the Government of the State of Campeche, Mexico

Evelia Rivera Arriaga, Secretary of the Environment and Sustainable Development of the Government of the State of Campeche, Mexico

Finally, other major challenge has to be with giving  a low-carbon development approach  to all the processes of territory management, administration and planning.

The current paradigm of rural and urban development has not necessarily promoted the sustainability of natural resources and raw materials. As a result, isolated efforts to promote low-carbon development have been, in some cases, a barrier. The lack of comprehensiveness of efforts to provide government actions  with environmental sustainability has been a barrier in the transition to a new paradigm. If we want long-term results, it is necessary to align the vision and strategy for REDD +.

What steps need to be/are being taken to overcome such barriers?

To overcome these barriers, work has been done to promote diverse spaces and forums: the creation of the Interstate Commission on Climate Change (CICC) of the State of Campeche, the forest coffee agenda of the Planning Committee for the Development of the State of Campeche (COPLADECAM), the REDD+ Technical Advisory Council (TAC) for the State of Champeche, that is linked to the Municipal Councils for Sustainable Rural Development (COMUNDERS) of the state´s REDD + municipalities.

These spaces have promoted the inclusion and participation of communities, civil society, academia and representatives of social institutions.

I think it is important to establish partnerships among local actors to develop actions and projects aimed at improving living conditions in the communities. In that sense, it would be appropriate to conduct pilot projects in different municipalities of Campeche that are key in the forestry, food and environmental sectors. Currently, there are various partnership initiatives, such as: the Early Action project in the municipality of Hopelchén in collaboration with the City Council, Pronatura Peninsula Yucatán , the state government and the ejidos of Bolonchén Rejon , Chun-Ek and Francisco J. Mujica; the Multilayer Agroforestry Systems Project in collaboration with the state government and the HSBC Bank; the Soil Restoration Project through “Concurrent Funds” (a scheme of payment for environmental services – PES) together with the State Government and the National Forestry Commission.

Additional efforts have come from municipalities, such as in the case of Calakmul where various NGOs participate in projects of vegetal charcoal commercialization, forestry, PES and beekeeping production, as well as from academic institutions, federal and state governments.

Work should be done towards the linking with international cooperation agencies, as well as federal agencies and institutions, to promote a new vision of forest governance, one that supports the livelihoods of communities and offers them economic benefits and alternatives for their conservation work and efforts to reduce deforestation.

Campeche is part of the Governor´s Climate and Forest Task Force Working Group (GCF Task Force) to promote sustainable development and REDD+. Other actors who participate in the territory are the German Agency for Technical Cooperation, Programme of the United Nations development (UNDP), the World Bank, the Mexico-REDD + partnership, to name a few.

We believe that, as following steps, are necessary:

  • Multilaterally link key players from the private sector, government institutions and civil society, in activities carried by communities; promoting public-private partnerships.
  • Develop and implement adaptation and mitigation actions, with a jurisdictional perspective, and that take into account the key importance of strengthening the technical capabilities of government representatives as well as other state actors.
  • Establish the foundation for promoting the development of a green economy based on the use of natural resources and the empowerment of communities.
  • Create and strengthen spaces for communication and feedback from users and landowners, which take into account indigenous communities, young and old, women and children, among others, so that development opportunities are generated for all social groups.

Finally, it is also necessary to establish programs of action to promote economic alternatives for the society, the communities and the population, while promoting REDD+ mechanisms and climate change related initiatives. In this regard, it is important to promote and implement projects that develop alternative energies, green technologies, integral management of water and coastal erosion in communities with forest ownership, etc., in order to move towards a coordinated approach to managing forest governance.

What role should research play in tackling these challenges?

Academic institutions, hand in hand with public institutions, must encourage research because it is essential to meet these challenges. In particular, it is important because through it the necessary expertise is promoted to establish a suitable framework to guide public policy on climate change.

Campeche's forests. Photo courtesy of Cheitz

Campeche’s rainforest covers 80% of its territory. Cheitz

I think it is essential to direct studies and diagnosis toward topics that are of urgent attention to the state as a whole, so the result be translated into actions and programs that foster partnerships between academia and government institutions. In that sense, it is also a priority to promote the exchange of information between academia, private organizations, public institutions and civil society organizations for, among all, join efforts to address the great challenges we face as state.

Finally, I believe that researchers should participate in the harmonization of public policies; input from experts in the field is essential to create a strategic framework that responds to the challenges while empowering communities and directing resources to activities that generate long-term results.

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