German Year in Mexico

Dolphins in water

Dolphins and almost all the world's whale species, can be found in the Gulf of California / Photo: Volker Koch/GIZ

On 6 June 2016 Frank Walter Steinmeier, the German Foreign Minister, officially launched the German Year in Mexico. Over the next twelve months Germany and Mexico will be giving practical meaning to the slogan ‘Alliance for the future’, reinforcing the good relations between the two countries. Between now and June 2017 there will be more than a thousand events promoting this alliance, including presentations of projects funded by the German federal environment ministry as part of its International Climate Initiative (IKI). Already this month, as part of Sustainability Week, the topics ‘Sustainable energy and climate change’, ‘Conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity’ and ‘Urban sustainability’ are to be addressed at a conference entitled ‘Dialogues for a Sustainable Future’.

Since as early as 2010 the German Environment Ministry has been promoting Mexico’s environmental and climate policy through numerous climate and biodiversity projects under its IKI initiative. IKI is currently assisting Mexico in preparations for the thirteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 13) to the Convention on Biological Diversity in Cancún (4-16 December 2016).

Installation of solar roofsOne of the projects supported by IKI is the Mexican-German Climate Alliance. The project advises the Mexican partner on issues such as options to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and also devises adaptation strategies to counteract the adverse effects of climate change. In that context, Mexico’s first and second climate change programme (PECC I and II) were reviewed and proposals were drawn up for further development of mitigation and adaptation. Individual states such as Veracruz were subsequently advised on implementing the national General Law on Climate Change (LGCC). This and many other measures contributed to the fact that in March 2015 Mexico was the first emerging economy to publish its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) for the Paris Climate Change Conference.
Cooperation also focuses on the expansion of renewable energy and on the introduction of nationally appropriate mitigation actions (NAMAs) in Mexico at (sub-)sector level. Under the NAMA programme, measures of this kind were developed for energy efficiency in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and for freight transport, which would also help to boost the Mexican economy’s competitiveness. Furthermore, emissions reduction schemes have been devised and are already being piloted in the housing construction sector. The New Housing NAMA is now being implemented with the help of the NAMA Facility. This will promote the sustainable development of Mexican cities.

On green issues, too, the partnership is remarkable for its highly innovative approaches. For example, one IKI project is helping the National Commission on Protected Natural Areas (CONANP) to improve its understanding of the value, especially in economic terms, of ecosystem services in Mexico’s federal conservation areas. The information will be made widely available and used in policymaking processes, which should result in the mobilisation of additional funds for protected area management. In February, a series of conferences (webinars) on evaluating ecosystem services was launched. In December a study began evaluating the economic and social contribution of Mexico’s federal nature reserves for selected economic sectors (agriculture, fishing, forestry and tourism). The sectors selected are Mexico’s priority sectors for the thirteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the CBD for the theme of mainstreaming. The study’s findings are to be presented at COP 13.

On a practical level, an IKI project is working to protect marine and coastal biodiversity in the Gulf of California. The region is home to unique and species-rich ecosystems that are under threat from industrial fishing, large-scale tourism and agroindustry. Measures are being implemented that guarantee an income for local people while at the same time conserving the biological resources. In total the park administrations of 21 marine protected areas in the region are receiving support to pursue a more targeted common strategy, cooperate more closely and extend their influence on the conservation of marine biodiversity across neighbouring special use zones. Sixteen successful local models of sustainable use of marine biodiversity have already been replicated in the region.
In addition, a German-Spanish blog has been set up to provide information about climate-related projects in Mexico, and a newsletter reports on German cooperation in the field of biodiversity.

Man working in fabricThere are further plans to assist the Mexican partners via IKI in promoting coherence between climate and energy policies in the wake of the liberalisation of the energy market, and in preparing the implementation of an emissions trading system. The value of biodiversity and ecosystem services is also to be integrated in productive sectors such as agriculture, and the capacity to adapt to climate change and make sustainable use of natural resources in livestock farming and in the tourism sector will be boosted.