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Andrés Manuel López Obrador

Climate love

Mexico announces 20 new protected areas despite budget cuts

The Mexican government has created 20 new protected areas, covering 2.3 million hectares. This is a positive step for biodiversity conservation, but environmental groups are concerned that budget cuts could hinder efforts to conserve these areas.
The new protected areas will safeguard important species and habitats, including whale sharks, Mexican prairie dogs, and jaguars. They will also help protect coral reefs and areas of cultural significance to Indigenous communities.
The largest new protected area is Bajos del Norte, a national park in the Gulf of Mexico. It is important to fishing communities and one of the main grouper fish reproduction sites in the Gulf of Mexico.
The second- and third-largest newly protected areas are Sierra Tecuani, a biosphere reserve threatened by illegal logging, and the Semidesierto Zacatecas Flora and Fauna Protection Area, which is important for the recovery of the Mexican prairie dog.
The state of Oaxaca is where the government created the most new protected areas, numbering three. Other protected areas were created in the states of Quintana Roo, Veracruz, Campeche, Nayarit, Zacatecas, Chiapas, Colima, Durango, Jalisco, Chihuahua, Guerrero and the State of Mexico.
President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has protected more areas than any previous administration, but Mexico’s Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT) has become severely cash-strapped throughout his six-year term.
SEMARNAT is one of many sectors in Mexico undergoing funding cuts. In recent years, Obrador’s government has implemented a series of strict austerity measures to free up more money for other areas like pensions and wages.
The new budget cuts funding for the environmental department by 9 million pesos (about $520,000) or 11.4%, according to a recent report by the Noroeste Civil Society for Environmental Sustainability (NOSSA). With this new budget, the administration has allocated 35% less to the department than its predecessor in the last six years.
Juan Bezaury-Creel, the director of the organization Fundación BD BioDiversidad Mexicana, said a protected area is better than no protected area because, once a decree is formalized, the government has a duty to protect it. However, this puts “huge pressure on existing personnel because they have to take care of more surface area with less resources,” he told Mongabay.
“The personnel from CONANP are heroic,” he said. “They are putting their lives on the line many times with little budget and little help.”
NOSSA’s report revealed that approximately 10.7 pesos ($0.63) per hectare has been allocated to care for Mexico’s 225 protected areas in 2024. “If there is no money, no personnel and no material resources to take care of these areas, it is not clear how, in practice, they are really going to be conserved,” said Gustavo Alanis-Ortega, executive director of the Mexican Environmental Law Center. “They will be completely neglected.”
Another department that has been badly hit by budget cuts in the last six years is the Federal Attorney for Environmental Protection, which is responsible for the inspection and monitoring of compliance with environmental protection laws. Its budget increased by 8% in 2024, though this leaves it with almost 30% fewer resources than in 2016, when President Obrador first took office.
“To do its job of verifying if these decrees are being respected, for example, it will be very difficult because it will not have the personnel or material resources needed to ensure that the decrees are being respected,” Alanis-Ortega said.
According to Gustavo Sánchez, secretary of the Board of Directors of the Mesoamerican Alliance of Peoples and Forests and president of the Mexican Network of Peasant Forestry Organizations, without the financial resources, “many of the provisions of the decrees cannot be fulfilled.”
While many institutions suffer from the impact of these budget cuts, the state-owned energy company Pemex has received billions of dollars of support from the government to help pay back its mounting debt and finance its new refinery. Sánchez told Mongabay the government has prioritized the construction of large-scale development projects, such as the controversial Maya Train, over the protection of the environment and the Indigenous and local communities who care for it.
This is echoed by Fidencio Sánchez Atanacio, UEFAHG president, whose ejido in El Balcón has also been designated a protected area in the latest round of decrees. “We are going to make use of all the possibilities available to continue our work and, above all, not lose sight of the main objective, which is the conservation of the environment.”




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  • johnte ndeto

    10 w

    Great milestone on biodiversity conservation

    3
    • Princess

      10 w

      Inspiring commitment 👏.

      5
      • Gorffly mokua

        10 w

        Positive conservation commitment! Mexico's decision to announce 20 new protected areas despite budget cuts demonstrates a strong dedication to environmental preservation.

        3
        • Kevin

          10 w

          Great seeing the Mexican government stepping up it's efforts

          4
          • We Don't Have Time

            10 w

            Dear George Kariuki Your climate love has received over 50 agrees! We have reached out to Andrés Manuel López Obrador by email and requested a response. I will keep you updated on any progress! To reach more people and increase the chance of a response, click the Share button above to share the review on your social accounts. For every new member that joins We Don't Have Time from your network, we will plant a tree and attribute it to you! /Adam, We Don't Have Time

            3
            • walter lungayi

              11 w

              This is a positive step towards conservation despite budget challenges. It shows a commitment to protecting Mexico's natural heritage.

              3
              • Joseph Githinji

                11 w

                This is encouraging news, the Mexico authorities deserves an applause for such efforts to improve conservation amid budget cuts.

                10
                • Tabitha Kimani

                  11 w

                  Mexico covers a huge area and its really inspiring to see the government's dedication towards protecting biodiversity.

                  10
                  • Abraham Jok Atem

                    11 w

                    There must always be a reasonable amount of money set aside by the government to solve Climate issues facing the citizens. Good job from Mexican government

                    5
                    • dickson mutai

                      11 w

                      Environmental sustainability should remain a priority amid budgetary decisions everywhere

                      5
                      • Jane Wangui

                        11 w

                        @dickson_mutai eventually all the math will fall into place.

                        4
                      • Marine Stephan

                        11 w

                        This is great!

                        6
                        • Saustine Lusanzu

                          11 w

                          Impressive

                          4
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