Mexico Announces Four MPAs, Achieves Aichi Biodiversity Target 11
Photo by IISD/ENB | Kiara Worth
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The Mexican Caribbean Biosphere Reserve, a 5.75-million-hectare reserve, will encompass coastal wetlands, coral reefs and sea habitats on the east coast of Mexico’s Yucatán peninsula.

The 1.16-million-hectare Pacific Islands Biosphere Reserve contains more endemic species per square meter than the number found in the Galapagos Islands, according to Mexican Government officials.

6 December 2016: The President of Mexico, Enrique Peña Nieto, signed a decree declaring four marine protected areas (MPAs) at the UN Biodiversity Conference. The decree brings Mexico’s total MPAs to 22.05% of its coastal and marine area, in line with Aichi Biodiversity Target 11, which aims to conserve at least 10% of marine and coastal areas.

The decree also contributes to Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14 to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development. In particular, the decree helps Mexico to achieve SDG Target 14.5 (By 2020, conserve at least 10 per cent of coastal and marine areas, consistent with national and international law and based on the best available scientific information).

The Mexican Caribbean Biosphere Reserve, a 5.75-million-hectare reserve, will encompass coastal wetlands, coral reefs and sea habitats on the east coast of Mexico’s Yucatán peninsula. The 1.16-million-hectare Pacific Islands Biosphere Reserve contains more endemic species per square meter than the number found in the Galapagos Islands, according to Mexican Government officials. The Reserve will protect 21 islands, 97 islets and surrounding sea areas through multiple-use zoning, which includes protection of fishing grounds for local fishermen and habitats for marine mammals and seabirds.

The Pacific Biosphere Reserve is Mexico’s largest MPA at 57.78 million hectares. The reserve is a deep-sea ocean area that will include strictly protected core zones and zones where fishing and mining are allowed. The Sierra of Tamaulipas Reserve, which is 309,000 hectares, aims to protect eight watersheds. The reserve also hosts five feline species in danger of extinction: the jaguar, puma, jaguarondi, oncilla, and ocelot.

The Nature Conservancy (TNC) collaborated with the Government of Mexico, through its Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT) and the National Commission of Protected Areas (CONANP), on the creation of the Pacific Islands Biosphere Reserve, the Pacific Biosphere Reserve and the Sierra of Tamaulipas Reserve. In a press release, TNC describes the public consultation processes involved in the creation of the reserves and underscores the importance of the conservation and protection of oceans for biodiversity and ecosystems, coastal economies and livelihoods, natural disaster protection, tourism and other benefits.

CBD Executive Secretary Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias praised the Government of Mexico’s commitment to increase its MPAs as “a significant contribution” to Aichi Biodiversity Target 11.

In a statement, Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Executive Secretary Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias praised the Government of Mexico’s commitment to increase its MPAs as “a significant contribution” to Aichi Biodiversity Target 11 that will “provide much needed momentum to implement the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020.” He stated that Mexico has the second highest level of marine fish diversity in the world. Mexico also launched its updated National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP) 2016-2030, ‘the ENBioMex.’

The UN Biodiversity Conference is hosted by the Government of Mexico and organized by the CBD Secretariat. It is convening in Cancun, Mexico, from 2-17 December 2016. The Aichi Biodiversity Targets are part of the CBD Strategic Plan 2011-2020. [The Nature Conservancy Press Release] [CBD Executive Secretary Statement] [UN Biodiversity Conference Website] [IISD RS Coverage of UN Biodiversity Conference] [Aichi Biodiversity Target 11]


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