From March 12-13 the Governors’ Climate and Forests Task Force held its first regional meeting of 2019, hosted by Senator Eduardo Murat Hinojosa in his role as President of the Mexican Senate’s Commission on the Environment and Climate Change. Titled ‘Forum on Sustainable Low Carbon Rural Development in Mexico’, the two-day event provided a space for high level political dialogue as well as an opportunity for members to discuss priority actions for 2019 with their federal counterparts and civils society partners.
The first day of the meeting highlighted advances from COP 24 in Poland and underscored the important role that states and their partners will play in achieving national targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Senator Murat opened the meeting by highlighted the pioneering role Mexico has played in international climate negotiations, including by establishing one of the most ambitious land-use targets of eliminating deforestation by 2030. His presentation was reinforced by renowned ecologist Dr. José Sarukhán, who discussed the advances that Mexico has made in managing and monitoring its natural resources. In recent years this has resulted in tangible successes including the restoration of thousands of hectares of coastal mangroves, and local and community based experiences of sustainable use of biodiversity.
The second day provided an opportunity for GCF Task Force states to develop stronger linkages with federal agencies which are under new leadership following the recent election of President Lopez Obrador. Representatives from a number of national agencies participated in both days, including the National Biodiversity Commissions (Comisión Nacional para el Conocimiento y Uso de la Biodiversidad), the Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources (Secretaría de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales), the Secretary of Agriculture and Rural Development (Secretaría de Agricultura y Desarrollo Rural).
As a result of the dialogue GCF Task Force members agreed to collaborate with federal agencies to ensure that new rural development programs are implemented in alignment with environmental protection and natural resource conservation priorities. This line of work will be a priority for the recently established Regional Working Group on Agricultural Production and Tropical Deforestation, which will move forward in close collaboration with partners such as the United Nations Development Programme, the Food and Agriculture Organization, National Governors Conference (CONAGO) and the Senate’s Commission on the Environment and Climate Change. GCF Task Force members also decided to develop a strategic analysis of opportunities to move the recently adopted Guiding Principles for Collaboration and Partnership Between Subnational Governments, Indigenous Peoples and Local Communitiesfrom practice to action.
Summarizing the next steps for the GCF Task Force in Mexico, Yucatan’s Secretary of Environment and Urban Development, Sayda Rodriguez stated: ‘Let’s put our hands in the ground, our minds in the community, and put our commitment to governance and development into practice.’