Mexico's Vision on REDD+: Towards a National Strategy
Mexico's Vision on REDD+ was presented during the 16th Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP16) to the United Nations Framework Convention on climate Change (UNFCCC).
It represented a first step towards the development of a National REDD+ Strategy in Mexico. The document lays the ground for an operating mechanism and proposes the following five strategic lines for proceeding with REDD+ implementation: 1) Institutional arrangements and public policy (e.g., aligning policies within the agriculture and forestry sectors); 2) Financial mechanisms, reference levels and MRV; 3) Capacity building and communication; 4) Social participation; and, 5) Transparency.
Furthermore, the document includes "early actions" (Acciones Tempranas). These are REDD+ activities that are being considered to provide learning experiences to inform future development of the national REDD+ strategy. Mexico’s Vision on REDD+ is based on sustainable forest management to maintain and increase carbon stocks, while obtaining additional social, economic and environmental benefits.
In 2009, the Inter-Ministerial Climate Change Commission (CICC) created a REDD+ Working Group (GT-REDD+) which is responsible for REDD+. The coordination between the CICC and the Inter-Ministerial Rural Sustainable Development Commission (CIDRS) is considered key in promoting rural sustainable development. This coordination aims to promote alignment with other sectors that also impact forest territories, including infrastructure, energy, land tenure, social, tourism and civil protection activities. Similarly, states and municipalities will be responsible for promoting and developing REDD+ mechanisms since they can be influential in tackling the drivers of deforestation. Sub-national activities will have to be coordinated with the national level in order to promote synergies. It is worth noting that community, civil society and academic organisations also play an active role in REDD+ activities.
Stakeholder engagement and participation
The Technical Advisory Committee for REDD+ (CTC-REDD+) is comprised of representatives from social organisations, forest owners, academia, government agencies, financing institutions and non-governmental organisations. It acts as an advisor to the REDD+ Working Group (GT-REDD) and collaborated in the development of the Vision. The importance of participation of indigenous and rural communities in the design and implementation of REDD+ is recognised in the development of the national strategy. The Vision process and the subsequent development of the National REDD+ Strategy (ENAREDD+) have aimed to be participatory and inclusive, and have taken an approach in consideration of: 1) equity; 2) citizen participation; 3) transparency and legality; 4) coordination between actors; 5) equitable benefit sharing; 6) certainty in land ownership; and, 7) free, prior and informed consent.
Land tenure arrangements and carbon rights
All future actions associated with the Vision and ENAREDD+ aim to have no effect on the current land tenure regime as established in the Mexican Constitution and by all international treaties whereby Mexico acts as a signatory. The Mexican Federal Government is committed to guaranteeing land ownership rights. Past experiences from programmes like the Community Forestry Programme (Programa de Desarrollo Forestal Comunitario, PROCYMAF) and the Indigenous and Community Biodiversity Conservation Programme (Programa de Conservación Comunitario de la Biodiversidad, COINBIO) that have contributed to strengthening the local regulation of common resources, as well as regulations within the same communities, can assist in this matter.
The Federal Government will play a promoting and regulatory role in REDD+ implementation. One of Mexico's challenges will centre on strengthening enforcement institutions, including the Federal Environmental Protection Agency (PROFEPA), which will have to work in coordination with local and state governments. Furthermore, it will need to secure more financial resources in order to operate in a more efficient manner.
The reference level will use a combination of historical data, as well as estimates on future emissions and increases without the implementation of a REDD+ framework. In order to do so, carbon densities and emissions will be calculated by gathering and revising historical data on vegetative cover and land use, as well as through remote sensing methodologies. A consensus on the definition of forest will also be required. Reference levels will be complied at a national level, but could be created alongside sub-national levels.
The Vision mentions the importance of addressing deforestation drivers and forest degradation, while promoting social and environmental co-benefits that enhance biodiversity conservation and ensure the maintenance or improvement of ecosystem services. Sustainable forest management (SFM) will also provide ecological, economic and social co-benefits. The National REDD+ Strategy also aims to address safeguards.
The MRV methodology will be developed in accordance with international consensus on MRV. Mexico will use its National Forest and Soils Inventory (INFyS) as an instrument for a robust MRV system. The most recent INFyS was carried out between 2004 and 2007, during which time approximately 25,000 permanent plots were established in a systematic manner. These plots were established with varying distances according to the predominant land cover. Starting in 2008 all plots will be re-sampled in 5-year intervals. Furthermore, collaboration has existed between government agencies for the incorporation of terrestrial monitoring systems and INFyS. Mexico has worked closely with various countries as it relates to MRV. It has worked with Canada on carbon accounting, with Germany on radar technologies and with the United States and Finland on strengthening INFyS. Norway is currently financing and providing technical support for accelerating the implementation of Mexico's MRV system. Mexico considers that MRV systems and protocols should be national, yet flexible enough to incorporate subnational activities. A national MRV system will contribute to properly account for leakage. Finally, the development of a cost-effective, hybrid management mechanism (between academia, civil society, the private sector and the government) is being evaluated which would be transparent and dependable.