WHRC Supports Launch of REDD+ Preparation in Mexico

The governments of Mexico and the United States – through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) – signed a memorandum of understanding on January 19, 2012, to establish the Climate Change Cooperation Mechanism that is the framework for the Mexico REDD+ (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation) preparation program – a five-year initiative aimed at setting solid climate change mitigation policies and strengthening those already in place.

The program will be implemented by an alliance formed by non-governmental and academic organizations focused on environmental conservation. Alliance members include:  Woods Hole Research Center (WHRC), the Mexican Fund for Nature Conservation (FMCN), the Rainforest Alliance, the Carnegie Institution for Science, and program leader, The Nature Conservancy.  Together they will work with local academic and research institutions, indigenous and rural communities, and other public and private entities.

“We are excited to be part of this team, working with the Mexican Government to build a strong program supporting REDD+,” said WHRC senior scientist Dr. Josef Kellndorfer. “Mexico’s unique geographic and social setting, and it’s richness in biodiversity lends itself to the development of an exemplary approach as we work to combine greenhouse gas emissions reductions from deforestation, forest degradation, and forest carbon stock enhancement, while paying attention to biodiversity and social safeguards in the process.”

The Mexico REDD+ preparation program is part of the Global Climate Change Program (GCC) that USAID will be conducting over the next five years to support Mexico’s efforts to more effectively reduce carbon emissions and better address climate change.

Representing the Government of Mexico, key partners of this program include the Environmental Secretariat (SEMARNAT) and the National Forestry Commission (CONAFOR), in addition to state and municipal institutions and administrations.

“Mexico’s forests are vital to its development and the wellbeing of millions of people, especially rural and indigenous communities whose livelihoods depend on small-scale agriculture and timber extraction,” said Álvaro Luna, program Chief of Party. “The Mexico REDD+ preparation program represents a vital opportunity to decrease greenhouse gas emissions while helping improve the quality of life for Mexicans.”

To advance efforts to curb climate change, the program will support the development of capacity building and best practices that will be used to apply REDD+ mechanisms in the future. This will include the conservation of biodiversity, sustainable management of forest resources, increased carbon reserves, as well as the development of the financial architecture needed to manage REDD+ projects.

During the program’s initial phase, the alliance will work to set baselines and study the needs of the local communities in the regions where the program will be implemented, including the states of Campeche, Quintana Roo and Yucatan, in the Yucatan Peninsula, as well as Chihuahua and Oaxaca.

“The Mexico REDD+ preparation program includes pilot projects derived from carbon-sinks conservation criteria and priority conservation areas identified by Mexico’s Environmental Secretariat, on behalf of the Government of Mexico.  This assessment also considered other factors that favor the subsequent implementation of REDD+ mechanisms,” Luna added.

In the programs initial phase, the alliance will also develop a strategy to promote sustainable farming and forestry practices that conserve the environment.

About the organizations that are part of the Mexico REDD+ preparation program alliance:

  • Woods Hole Research Center (WHRC) is a private, non-profit research organization focusing on environmental sciences. Our scientists combine analysis of satellite images of the Earth with field studies to measure, model, and map changes in the world’s ecosystems, from the thawing permafrost in the Arctic to the expanding agriculture regions of the tropics. We work locally and regionally, with in-depth expertise and collaborations in North and South America and Africa; and we also work globally, focusing on how humans are changing global cycles of carbon, nitrogen, and water. We merge natural science with economics to discover sustainable paths for human prosperity and stewardship of the Earth’s natural resources. (whrc.org)
  • The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people.  It has worked in Latin America for over 30 years and for over 25 in Mexico.  Its mission is to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres in Latin America, the Caribbean and the Pacific (nature.org).
  • The Rainforest Alliance works with people whose livelihoods depend on the land, helping them transform the way they grow food, harvest wood and host travellers. From large multinational corporations to small, community-based cooperatives, businesses and consumers worldwide are involved in the Rainforest Alliance’s efforts to bring responsibly produced goods and services to a global marketplace where the demand for sustainability is growing steadily. (rainforest-alliance.org)
  • Fondo Mexicano para la Conservación de la Naturaleza, A.C. (Mexican Fund for Nature Conservation), is a non-governmental non-profit institution working to finance and strengthen strategic activities to conserve Mexico’s natural capital.  Established in 1994, FMCN has financed over 900 projects in 28 Mexican states, most of them being selected through a competitive process overviewed by directing boards and supported by independent evaluators.  This grants FMCN liability and transparency among the conservation community and government institutions.  Our success and credibility is based on the creation of public-private alliances, the use of learning and collaboration networks, and the integration of innovative projects for conservation and the sustainable use of natural resources in Mexico. (fmcn.org/)
  • The Carnegie Institution for Science is a world-leading scientific research institution regarding evaluation and monitoring of forest carbon, MRV and other crucial technical resources for applying REDD+ actions. A a unique organization dedicated to scientific discovery exploring the most intriguing scientific questions in an atmosphere of complete freedom, it is especially interested in the study of Earth, space, and life sciences. (carnegiescience.edu/)