By Chris Lang
Mexico’s Emission Reductions Programme under the World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility has been cancelled. In a recent note, the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility Management Team (FMT) explains that the Mexican government is in the process of re-writing the country’s forest law in to give a “legal mandate for the federal government to engage in [forest carbon] programs including the ability to transfer titles on behalf of indigenous and rural communities”.
After more than a year’s work, the changes to the forest law are currently under discussion in Mexico‘s lower house and the amended law “is expected to be approved during this calendar year”. But that is is too late for the World Bank’s bureaucratic process and the Emissions Reductions Programme has therefore been cancelled.
EDF’s REDD boosterism
In 2017, Chris Meyer wrote a boosterish post on the Environmental Defense Fund website, under the headline, “Here’s the proof REDD+ is advancing”. Mexico was among the countries he listed as having had their REDD+ programmes approved by the FCPF in 2016.
Meyer wrote that,
[T]hese programs will begin generating emissions reductions this year. The World Bank plans to sign purchase agreements with some of the programs by the end of 2017.
In 2018, Meyer wrote that Mexico was one of four countries that “are in or starting negotiations to finalize the results-based payment terms, which should be concluded before the year’s end. It is possible that a payment for results will also occur before the end of the year”.
Mexico “dropped from the Carbon Fund portfolio”
On 10 March 2021, the Facility Management Team wrote the following note:
At the CF22 meeting in November 2020 the FMT informed Carbon Fund Participants (CFPs) that it was uncertain whether the Mexico ERPA would proceed to signature. We have recently been informed that Mexico will not be moving towards signing an ERPA.
The current government, while willing to proceed with forest carbon operations, has decided that they would only do so based on a legal mandate for the federal government to engage in these programs including the ability to transfer titles on behalf of indigenous and rural communities. This is based on Mexico’s land tenure situation and the fact that 100% of the FCPF program would be implemented in IPLC territory, under collective or individual land ownership. Under the former government, this attribution of capacity/mandate was deducted from a legal gap analysis, that is, in the absence of an explicit legal provision, it is logical to assume the government has this capacity. The current government is not willing to base its mandate on a legal gap analysis. They have worked for over a year with other federal government agencies, NGOs, IPLC representatives and law makers to propose a reform to the national forest law that would amend the government mandate including: i) an explicit definition of carbon emission reductions, and ii) a legal mandate for the government to engage in REDD+ programs and transfer titles on behalf of IPLC. The legal reform is currently in the under house and is expected to be approved during this calendar year. As the law willnot pass in a timely manner for the FCPF, there is not an enabling framework to sign an ERPA.
For this reason the World Bank and the Government of Mexico have mutually agreed to cancel the ER Program. The Mexico ER Program has therefore been officially dropped from the FCPF Carbon Fund portfolio.