By Climate Scorecard Mexico Country Manager Sara Zetune
Pronatura México AC is a national NGO dedicated to the conservation and resilience of biodiversity and environmental services that contribute to the construction of a just and equitable society in harmony with nature. Pronatura was created in 1981 and since then they have become a reference organization for the use and management of natural resources; they employ a distinctive approach to social systemic issues, such as marginalization, unemployment, migration and other challenges that threaten the conservation of biodiversity.
Since 2018, Pronatura has supported the conservation and/or restoration of more than 13 thousand hectares of land. Through its Neutralizate Program, Pronatura has placed over 360,000 forestry carbon credits (resulting in an investment of around $14 million MXN) in forestry communities in Oaxaca and Chiapas.
CO2munitario Program: Improving livelihoods through the recognition of standing forest value using market mechanisms
Pronatura’s CO2munitario Program builds upon the capacity of local organizations and Indigenous and rural communities to use sustainable forest management activities as a source of income. The program helps generate 941,000 reliable forest carbon credits through the conservation of 202,400 hectares making it the largest carbon capture project carried out in Mexico so far.
CO2munitario engages with project developers, communities and landowners through virtual and in-person training programs that cover the technical, financial, institutional and political topics required to sustainably manage a forest. Through the sale of carbon credits generated from the project, forest owners will receive approximately $4 million USD to continue with the sustainable forest management and MFP activities.
Pronatura follows a cycle of action to ultimately place the carbon credits so they can then be sold internationally in the carbon market or nationally in the Mexican Emissions Trading System.
- Phase 1: 14,000 hectares in Veracruz, Mexico State, Hidalgo and Oaxaca (completed)
- Phase 2: 80,000 hectares in Veracruz, Oaxaca, Campeche, Quintana Roo and Durango (in progress)
- Phase 3: 90,000 in Veracruz, Michoacán, Oaxaca, Durango, Quintana Roo and Aguascalientes (beginning)
Aligned with SDG 17: Strong alliances to make it happen
CO2munitario is aligned with four main United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG): #13 Climate Action, #15 Life on Land, #8 Decent jobs and economic growth, and #17 Partnership for goals.
CO2munitario is being developed through multisectoral alliances that cooperate to meet the Paris Agreement goals. The project is being carried out with international support from USAID, the private sector (bp , Chinoin ) and funds from the Mexican Government (SEMAEDESO ).
Pronatura México is the project leader and is working in collaboration with the World Resources Institute México, along with local organizations such as: Integradora de Communities Indígenas y Campesinas de Oaxaca (ICICO ), GAIA , SENDAS, Bioforestal, Unidad Topia and the Mexican Civil Council for Sustainable Forestry CCMSS).
70% of Mexico’s territory is covered with forest and many rural communities are being pressured to change the land use for cattle farming or fruit tree planting (via “Sembrando Vida” program) to gain increased income. Around 60% of the Mexican forests are owned by communities, or ejidos, so conservation efforts forcibly need to involve them. Forest carbon credits offer a lucrative alternative whereby forest owners can gain income for their sustainable forest management, while involving the private sector to invest in forest conservation. It is recommended to explore sustainable forest management as a way to minimize ecological disruption and maximize carbon capture and biodiversity conservation in Mexico.
Dra. María Amparo Martínez Arroyo, Director of that National Institute of Ecology and Climate Change (INECC)
Suriel Islas, Head of the instruments and indicators department (SEMARNAT)
Alejandro Ochoa, General Director of Michoacans State Forestry Commission (CONAFOR)
Ing. Jamie Bocanegra Gallegos, General Director of Aguascalientes’s State Forestry Commission (CONAFOR)
Integrating Ecosystem Service Values into Carbon Pricing
Photo: Pronatura México, A.C.