Mexico has 64.8 million hectares of forest, both tropical and temperate. Improving sustainable rural development has been identified in the National REDD+ Strategy as the best way to reduce the pressures that drive deforestation and forest degradation. Safeguards have been a priority for Mexico’s National REDD+ Strategy, ensuring that the planned rural development benefits both people and nature.
After eight years of extensive consultations, the National Forestry Commission (CONAFOR) launched the world’s first, fully operational safeguard information system (SIS) in December, 2017, a milestone achievement for Mexico and the UN-REDD Programme. Since 2010, the UN-REDD Programme has been working with CONAFOR on designing and establishing the information system, a key requirement of the UNFCCC for REDD+ countries as part of a broader National Safeguards System.
The brand new SIS will serve to present integrated information and issue reports on REDD+ safeguards and how they are implemented at national and state levels. Identifying, assessing, and strengthening policies, laws, regulations that comprise the National Safeguards System, as well as the institutional capacities to implement them, will ensure the benefits of REDD+ are enhanced and risks reduced.
To design the SIS, a broad, participatory approach was applied, engaging national institutions, civil society, academics, indigenous peoples, women, local communities and state-level representatives through national workshops, webinars and workshops. The participation of indigenous peoples and local communities was considered particularly important and will be an ongoing challenge, making sure they are kept informed in a culturally appropriate manner.
“The design and the development of the SIS represented an unprecedented process, carried out in a participatory manner,” said Norma Pedroza, REDD+ Safeguards Coordinator with FAO in CONAFOR.
The SIS will be used in the national decision-making process, improving the implementation of REDD+ activities across the country. Mexico’s experiences setting up the world’s first fully functioning SIS will also provide inputs and practical help to other REDD+ countries in the region and beyond.