• .Today we know that the real challenge is to ensure that natural capital contributes to meeting people’s needs and improving their lives, he declared.
  • COP13 has the opportunity to change the traditional approach to the way we maintain and preserve our biological wealth. The point is to conceive of biodiversity as a development strategy for the present and future well-being of mankind, he explained.
  • Mexico has taken positive decisions on biodiversity with very important implications for conservation: UN.

During his inauguration today of the 13th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (COP13), President Enrique Peña Nieto declared that, “the only way to ensure this and a cleaner and safer future for everyone is through true, sustainable development”.

He said, We have reached a point where either we change our lifestyle to halt the loss of global biodiversity, or this loss will forever change our way of life,”

“Today we know”, he added, “that the real challenge is to ensure that natural capital contributes to meeting people’s needs and improving their lives”.

Addressing thousands of participants from 140 countries, the president said that moments before the opening of COP13 he signed decrees for new protected areas and safeguard areas. “Three of the four new protected natural areas”, he said, “are related to our maritime heritage, which covers an area 1.6 times the land area of our country”.

He explained that the decrees issued today to expand our protected areas, “allow us to increase them to 91 million hectares. Today alone we have declared 65 million hectares protected natural areas. We tripled any other figure in the past for protected natural areas in our country. This is the important step we have taken today”.

He stressed that, in addition, “It allows us to not only meet the goal for marine protected areas by reaching 10 percent, but actually double this target for Mexico, by declaring 23 per cent of the maritime zone a protected area.

President Peña Nieto said that, “COP13 has the opportunity to change the traditional approach to the way we maintain and preserve our biological wealth.” The point, he said, is to conceive of biodiversity as a development strategy for the present and future well-being of mankind”.

The president thanked the directors of the agencies of the various countries at COP13 who, “Adopted the Cancun Declaration on Integration for the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Well-being”.

This Agreement, he explained, “will enable the productive sectors of each country to incorporate biodiversity and protection criteria into decision-making”.

He explained that the sectors covered by the Cancun Declaration, “are very important for our countries”. He illustrated the case of Mexico with three examples:

“In 2015, Mexico received 32 million tourists, which made us the ninth most visited country in the world. People who visit us come to enjoy the country’s natural beauty, beautiful beaches and reefs, and extraordinary landscapes. The challenge is to ensure that this natural wealth is preserved and remains attractive for the tourists we will receive in the future”.

· "As a second example I will mention the agrifood industry, which is conquering international markets as never before. In 2015, for the first time in the past 20 years, the value of our agricultural and fisheries exports exceeded our imports. Some successful examples of the integration of biodiversity into agro-food chains are sustainable coffee production, fishing for yellow fin tuna and lobster, and the conservation of genetic material from corn, since Mexico is a center of origin”.

“The challenge is to consolidate more agricultural activities that combine economic development, social inclusion and environmental protection. These are the three core elements that must be provided by any economic activity in the future: caring for our environment, achieving social inclusion, but also, above all, making development and economic growth possible in conjunction with environmental protection.

· “Finally, I will illustrate the conservation challenge in the fisheries sector through the battle we are taking to preserve the vaquita porpoise, which is rather like a small dolphin, of which it is estimated that there are fewer than 100 in their natural habitat. We are working with fishermen in the Upper Gulf of California to ensure that the vaquita porpoise is no longer an incidental victim of fishing for other species.

The president highlighted the urgent need to protect biodiversity, “because that is the correct thing to do, but above all, because it is a moral obligation”. He added that, “Protection and conservation can translate into a useful cause that contributes to community livelihoods and development”.

He said that in the case of Mexico, “Being a diverse country entails the enormous responsibility of caring for our environment, which is not only national but also world heritage”.


Ibrahim Thiaw, Deputy Executive Director of United Nations Environment Program, congratulated Mexico on its decision to designate conservation reserves, and all those countries that have fulfilled their national goals in the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity for 2020.

”I would like to applaud and congratulate Mexico on the decision it has just taken and hope there are more measures that will be implemented,” he explained, while welcoming the president of Mexico’s efforts regarding biodiversity.

He said that, “These positive decisions have important implications not only for the conservation of our biodiversity, but also send a strong signal to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”.

He said that the goal for 2020 was to protect at least 17 percent of the world’s terrestrial and inland water, and 10 percent of its marine and coastal areas. “We have now protected 13 percent and five percent respectively, which is a great achievement,” he said.


Rafael Pacchiano, Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources and President of the Thirteenth United Nations Conference on Biodiversity, told the president that COP13, “Has left an important Mexican legacy because we are leading by example: Mexico has been recognized on various occasions as a country that is meeting the goals it has set, and above all, ahead of time”.

He noted that with the Reserve decrees signed at a previous event, "Mexico is meeting Target 11 of Aichi, Japan, concerning the protection of our marine areas”. Moreover, he continued, "we have doubled the goal to which our country committed and we are also doing so four years before the deadline. Mexico is therefore setting an important example so that other countries can follow suit”.


Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity of COP Braulio Ferreira de Souza, said that, “Mexico has demonstrated exceptional leadership in the scope of the agenda on biodiversity, both domestically and internationally. I am deeply impressed with the updating of Mexico’s 2016-2030 strategy and national planning for biodiversity”.

Ferreira said the country is one of the nations, “With the greatest wealth of biodiversity in the world, so any effort to increase the coverage of protected areas, here in Mexico, contributes significantly to the conservation of global biodiversity”.

He also hailed Mexico's commitment to achieving the Aichi Target 11 on Protected Areas, “and before the agreed date of 2020”. He congratulated the president on, “The decrees that have signed today significantly expanding the coverage of protected areas in marine, coastal and terrestrial areas here in Mexico, and particularly in Quintana Roo”.


Carlos Joaquin Gonzalez, Governor of Quintana Roo, said that COP13 is a space where important decisions are made to “collectively ensure proper conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity”, and that Mexico stands out because of its responsibility “to promote efforts in favor of this agreement, which is inserted into broader strategies, which, in order to protect and preserve the environment, are developed at all levels of government around the world”.

The state governor said that in 2016, leaders from around the world agreed to follow up on the common goals of the United Nations through the Sustainable Development Goals, which require collaboration between, “Organizations such as the United Nations, governments, NGOs, the scientific community and the private sector”. He added that this is generating new knowledge and concrete measures to solve global environmental problems and public policies to mitigate its causes and social consequences”.

Finally, he said that Mexico promotes and shares with the international community the principles to generate, “Major mechanisms to preserve the natural resources and biodiversity of our planet through sustainability and respect for the environment.”