Mexican conference focuses on role of sub-national governments in curbing climate change

The Forum recently held a workshop on climate change in collaboration with Mexico’s National Institute for Federalism and the Queretaro State Department for Sustainable Development.

The workshop examined the role of sub-national governments in climate change action planning. The event examined how sub-national governments can develop influential and innovative policies, focusing on the experiences of Canadian provinces and Mexican states.

This event, held November 25, 2010 in Queretaro, brought together more than 200 practitioners from Mexico’s federal, state and local governments.

The event was opened by Tonatiuh Salinas Muñoz, State Secretary of Sustainable Development, who spoke of Queretaro’s program of sustainable land and water use. The state is also working to strengthen local government’s capacity to process solid waste in an environmentally responsible manner.

Alex Long, Senior Policy Advisor at the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy, discussed British Columbia’s tax on carbon-based fuels, as well as the provincial requirement that all electricity be zero-emission by 2016.

Eric Mercier, Minister-Counselor at the Quebec Delegation in Mexico, presented Quebec’s climate change action plan, outlining the province’s greenhouse gas reduction strategy. Quebec is committed to reducing carbon dioxide emissions while remaining economically competitive, and has invested significant resources in green industries.

Like British Columbia, Quebec has a provincial tax on carbon-based fuels. In 2008, Quebec signed an agreement with Ontario to establish a joint cap and trade regime. Quebec, along with Ontario, Manitoba and British Colombia, are members of the Western Climate Initiative (WCI).

The WCI has provided an unparalleled opportunity for states and provinces to lead the way in designing a de facto regional greenhouse gas reduction strategy. It is in fact, independent jurisdictions working together to identify and implement policies to tackle climate change at a regional level.

Workshop participants agreed that there is an important role for sub-national governments in climate change planning, not only to assist in the implementation of national strategies, but also to develop local and regional plans to address domestic challenges.

Mexico is composed of 31 states. Queretaro is located in the southern-central part of the country.

The participants at the event included Tonatiuh Salinas Muñoz , State Secretary of Sustainable Development, Queretaro; Rosario Castro, Coordinator of the National Institute for Federalism (INAFED); Raúl Ríos Ugalde, Coordinador, State Municipal Development Agency, Queretaro; José Octavio Tripp, Director General of Technical Cooperation, Ministry of the Exterior, Mexico; Teresa Tattersfield, Director of Climate Change Office, Embassy of the United Kingdom.

Also attending were Eric Mercier, Minister Counselor, Quebec Representation in Mexico; Edgar Villasenor, Executive Director of Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI) Mexico; Alex Long, Senior Policy Advisor, National Roundtable for the Environment and the Economy, Canada; Mathieu Parenteau, Mexico Desk, Ministry of International Relations, Quebec; Simone Lucatello, Research Professor, Instituto Mora, Mexico; and Johanna Koolemans-Beynan, Program Coordinator, Sustainable Development and Climate Change, Technological Institute of Monterrey.

Presentations from the event: