Coastal Watersheds Conservation Project to Protect near One Million Mexicans

November 21, 2013

US$39.5 Million GEF Grant for Biodiversity, Sustainable Land Use and Climate Change Mitigation

WASHINGTON DC, November 21st, 2013 – Near one million Mexicans will benefit directly or indirectly from a US$39.5 million grant from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) to Mexico.

The Coastal Watersheds Conservation Project in the Context of Climate Change, approved today by the World Bank Board of Directors, seeks to promote the comprehensive management of coastal watersheds across the gulfs of Mexico and California in the states of Veracruz, Tabasco, Chiapas, Hidalgo, Puebla and Campeche, among others.

The project will work directly in the poorest, most underprivileged communities living within or around Natural Protected Areas (NPA). Direct beneficiaries include ejidos, indigenous people and individual residents and owners; in total around 100,000 people receiving Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES). In addition, further 800,000 people will benefit indirectly as members of PES-recipient households or for residing in those communities adjacent to two protected marine areas that will benefit economically.

“The project represents an inter-institutional initiative with financial and technical cooperation that seeks to strengthen social organization with the objective of preserving biodiversity and ecosystem services, guaranteeing the comprehensive management of coastal watersheds draining into the gulfs of Mexico and California,” said Luis Fueyo Mac Donald, National Commissioner at the National Commission of Protected Areas (CONANP).

“As a top priority, it identifies the need to link protected natural area management with landscape planning, thus guaranteeing the integrity and functionality of ecosystems, communities and productive systems in the context of climate change,” he added.

The project intends to preserve the ecosystems in priority coastal areas of global importance in terms of biodiversity, and to protect them from the effects of climate change. In order to do this, it will focus on preserving biodiversity, resilience to climate change and land use sustainability.

“Mexico has made significant progress in the environmental sector and is a global leader in its efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change. We recognize its constant commitment to an inclusive and sustainable growth,” said Gloria M. Grandolini, World Bank Country Director for Mexico and Colombia.

This public-private partnership constitutes an unprecedented coordination effort between four institutions with broad experience in conservation: the National Commission of Protected Areas (CONANP); the National Forestry Commission (CONAFOR); the National Institute of Ecology and Climate Change (INECC), and the Mexican Fund for the Conservation of Nature(FMCN).

The project will contribute to the creation of social and economic value at a local level via community participation in the implementation of practices aimed at improving the productivity of agricultural and forested plots, as well as improving monitoring and follow-up mechanisms. It will help reduce carbon emissions with the introduction of conservation practices in key areas for global biodiversity. It is thus expected that the project will reduce deforestation and promote the conservation of the forest cover in one million hectares adjacent to the protected areas.

Some of the expected results include:

  • Safekeeping at least 1.1 million hectares of protected areas, including at least two new protected areas;
  • Improving land and forestry management, as well as reducing carbon emission in six water watersheds (1 million hectares); and
  • Creation of Action Plans for Comprehensive Watersheds Management at municipal, regional and federal level (in six watersheds).

A Technical Committee comprised of representatives from each one of the four institutions -CONANP, INECC, CONAFOR and FMCN, will be responsible for the project’s execution. It will  be implemented during a five-year period and will have a total cost of US$268 million, US$39.5 million of which will be financed by this GEF grant and US$228 million from the government counterpart. The project is expected to end on June 28th, 2019.


About the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) and the World Bank

The Global Environmental Facility is a mechanism that provides grants and funds with the intention of achieving global environmental benefits in six focal areas: climate change, biodiversity, international waters, persistent organic pollutants, land degradation and ozone layer reduction. The GEF also supports the work of global agreements to combat desertification.

The World Bank Group is one of the GEF’s implementing agencies and helps countries prepare projects that are co-financed by the GEF, as well as supervising their implementation. The Bank plays a primary role in ensuring the development and administration of investment projects. It relies on its experience of investing in eligible countries to promote investment opportunities and mobilize private-sector, bilateral, multilateral, governmental and non-governmental resources that are consistent with GEF objectives and different national sustainable development strategies.


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