Sustainability Week in Mexico

Flasbarth visiting an enterpriseSustainable development, biodiversity, climate change mitigation and environmental conservation will dominate the agenda during a two-day visit to Mexico by Jochen Flasbarth, State Secretary at the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB). Flasbarth is taking part in the Mexican-German Sustainability Week and will also hold political talks in Mexico City.

‘Mexico is showing the rest of the world that a major emerging economy can set itself ambitious climate change mitigation targets and conserve biodiversity without neglecting its own development. And we will continue to support Mexico in this endeavour,’ he explained. Flasbarth pointed to the numerous projects being funded as part of BMUB’s International Climate Initiative as an example of cooperation on biodiversity conservation. One of these projects is seeking to protect the unique marine and coastal biodiversity in the Gulf of California.

Sustainability Week is being held as part of the Mexico-Germany Dual Year, which is running from June 2016 to May 2017. Designed to provide fresh impetus for strengthening the wide-ranging relationships in the spheres of policy-making, culture, research and business, and for forging new alliances for future cooperation, the year was launched by German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier in Mexico City on 6 June.

Environmental and sustainability work is a key cornerstone of Mexican-German cooperation and an area in which the two countries have many years of experience. This was recognised in the Joint Declaration on Climate Action and the Energy Transition and Biodiversity concluded by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto when the latter visited Germany in April. The declaration also provides a basis for further consolidating cooperation between the two countries in this area.

Additionally, Germany and Mexico are working at international level to promote environmental conservation and sustainable development. Like Germany, Mexico has been constructively supporting international climate change mitigation and biodiversity conservation processes for many years. This is also reflected in the country’s own climate change mitigation policy, which is very ambitious for an emerging economy, and in its holding of major international climate conferences. After successfully coordinating the 16th UN Climate Change Conference in Cancun in 2010, Mexico is set to play host to the 13th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in December this year.

In addition to attending Sustainability Week and conducting political discussions, Flasbarth will also visit the project Eco-Crédito Empresarial (Green loans for SMEs). This initiative helps to replace outdated, power-hungry electronic devices with new, energy-efficient equipment while also promoting environmentally friendly processes for recycling and scrapping old devices. The project finances activities by issuing low-interest micro loans, which pay themselves off by delivering energy savings and, consequently, reducing energy bills. Because the project only works with tax-paying enterprises, it also provides an incentive for businesses to leave the informal sector and put themselves on a sustainable footing. The International Climate Initiative (IKI) of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety supports Eco-Crédito Empresarial with its project “Mexican-German NAMA programme”, which is implemented by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH since 2011.