• .The protected area comprises 65 million hectares. This brings the total to nearly 91 million protected hectares: 70 million in our maritime areas and 21 million in land areas, he explained.
  • We have thereby joined the small group of countries that have met the goal of Aichi, Japan, which pledged to protect 10 percent of the sea area. With the decrees signed today, we will have covered 23 percent of our protected marine areas, more than twice the target, he said.

President Enrique Peña Nieto today signed decrees for four new protected areas and five safeguard zones, “The largest area designated by any government,” which practically triples the country’s protected maritime and land areas.

 “This is a historic step in the government’s decision to preserve marine and land areas, and assume all its commitments to the United Nations, and beyond,” he said.

The president explained that the zone designated as a protected area comprises 65 million hectares. “This brings the total to nearly 91 million protected hectares: 70 million hectares of marine areas, and 21 million of land areas,” he explained.

We have thereby joined the small group of countries that have met the goal of Aichi, Japan, which pledged to protect 10 percent of the country’s sea area. With the decrees signed today, we will have covered 23 percent of our protected marine areas, more than twice the target.”

He added that Mexico also pledged to protect 17 percent of national territory by 2020. “We will continue working to achieve this goal. Today, nearly 14 percent of the land has been declared a protected area,” he said.

He noted that Mexico is, “The world’s fourteenth largest country, with an area of nearly two million square kilometers. Our maritime area, our exclusive economic zone, is 3,150,000 square kilometers, 1.6 times our territorial area. Hence the importance of having Mexican Navy care for, preserve and support the environment; to preserve our sovereignty, but also to take care of the vast expanse of our seas”.

President Peña Nieto explained that the decrees signed today protect four new natural areas, three marine and one terrestrial: The Biosphere Reserve in the Mexican Caribbean, the Mexican Deep Pacific, the Pacific Islands, and the Sierra de Tamaulipas.

· The Mexican Caribbean Biosphere Reserve will protect 50 percent of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System.

· The Mexican Deep Pacific, “Will protect a large proportion of coastal strip below a depth of 800 meters from Chiapas to Nayarit and the area around the Revillagigedo Archipelago, totaling almost 58 million hectares”.

· In the case of the Pacific Islands, its adjacent waters are protected on the west coast of the states of Baja California and Baja California Sur, within an area of 1.2 million hectares.

· The Sierra de Tamaulipas region declared a protected zone today is home to five Mexican felines (jaguar, puma, jaguarundi, margay and ocelot) and supplies eight hydrological sub-basins (rivers: Barberena, Tigre, Carrizales, Pescados and Soto La Marina and streams: Grande, El Cabrito and La Cañada).

The president noted that in the five safeguard areas enacted today, “The exploration and extraction of hydrocarbons is prohibited”.

They are:

· Mangroves and Ramsar Sites. Comprising the 32 states, with an area of 92,426 square kilometers.

· Lacandon Rainforest Region.

Located within the Oil Province Fold Belt in Chiapas and covering an area of 18.348.9 square kilometers.

· Yucatán Platform and Mexican Caribbean. Located in the states of Campeche, Quintana Roo and Yucatán, it covers an area of 219,001.2 square kilometers.

· Gulf of California-Baja California Peninsula-Baja California Sur Pacific. It is the largest region and includes onshore and offshore areas, mainly in the provinces of the Gulf of California and Vizcaíno-La Purisima-Iray. It comprises an area of 691,758 square kilometers.

· Gulf of Mexico Coral Reefs and Caribbean Sea. It covers the coral reefs located within the Misantla Tampico, Veracruz, Southeast Basin, and Yucatán Platform oil provinces, with a total area of 6,172 square kilometers.

President Peña Nieto said that the Mexican government and society, “Have made a serious, firm and very strong commitment to becoming a nation that is committed to the preservation and care of our environment, and ensuring that future generations have quality of life in the world they live in”.

The president said that, “Science, experimental and scientific analysis show us that men have been responsible for global warming. The activity we have promoted, particularly in the economic order, without respect for our environment, has led to global warming that endangers the future of the world that will be inhabited by future generations”.

He stressed that as a result, “Today more than ever this generation obliges us morally and ethically to assume greater responsibility for the world we want to have tomorrow."

MEXICO HAS TAKEN THE LEAD AS REGARDS ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AND IS PREACHING BY EXAMPLE: RAFAEL PACCHIANO

Rafael Pacchiano Alamán, Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources, noted that during the present administration, “Mexico has been characterized as a country that has taken the lead as regards environmental protection and also preaches by example”.

He noted that, “In climate change, we have been recognized as the country with the world’s most advanced legislation, regulations and instruments in the world, and also a country with increasingly ambitious commitments which is showing other countries the path to take”.

He said that December 5, 2016 will be recognized as, “The most important day in the history of our country’s environment, because not only we will meet the goal we set as regards the sea surface, but we will actually double it”.

He said that Mexico urged all countries to encourage new sectors of governments such as agriculture, tourism, fishing and forestry to pledge to protect biodiversity. In this regard, he said, “We are also setting an example because this biosphere reserve combines the environment and tourism, with good results”.

NAVY SECRETARY CONFIRMS COMMITMENT TO MONITORING AND PRESERVING NATURAL PROTECTED AREAS: ADMIRAL SOBERÓN SANZ

Navy Secretary (SEMAR) Admiral Vidal Francisco Soberón Sanz noted that, “Mexico’s marines are aware of the significance of the signing of these decrees. It is undoubtedly a great challenge that involves a greater effort as regards our environment and the economic and social aspects of our country”.

He declared: “As regards our seas, the Mexican Navy Secretariat reaffirms its commitment to protect and preserve these important national treasures, because they are the source of life and sustenance, tourism and research and a connection to the world”.

He said that Mexican Navy Secretariat will intensify the work of monitoring and oceanographic and meteorological research, "but above all, the surveillance and protection of these areas”. It will also cooperate, “As necessary in the conservation, development and logistical support of these new biosphere reserves and thus achieve national goals”.

RESPECT FOR ENVIRONMENTAL REGULATIONS CONTRIBUTES TO THE RULE OF LAW: CARLOS JOAQUÍN GONZÁLEZ

Governor of Quintana Roo, Carlos Joaquín González, thanked President Enrique Peña Nieto for the Mexican Caribbean Biosphere Reserve, whose objective, he said, “Is to create, from the highest level, new regulations and tools for environmental preservation in our state and in the Caribbean Sea, where some of the main natural reserves of the country and our continent are located.

He pledged that his administration will enforce, “Through their appropriate application, the provisions and rules generated in Management Programs through the creation of the reserve,” adding that, “respect for environmental regulations contributes to the rule of law, while aligning the economic activities of our state, with the legal and moral obligation to responsibly exploit our resources, so that future generations can also enjoy their benefits”.

The decree, he said, “Is a comprehensive project to create the largest protected area in Mexico”. The creation of this reserve, "Is a commitment we assume in Quintana Roo, because we have the responsibility to know, care, value, and contribute to the actions for the protection of this protected area,” he said.