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Goal: Yucatán as sustainable as Costa Rica by 2030

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The Nature Conservancy has ambitious goals in Yucatán. Photo: Courtesy

In the year since 81 peninsular universities, state agencies and private companies signed on to the Yucatán Sustainability Agreement, an environmentalist here sees progress.

“How do we want to see the Yucatan Peninsula in 2030? The dream is to be like Costa Rica, a country recognized for its sustainable development. That is the vision. To get there we need a strong policy, with government institutions, communities, civil society, universities and consumers,” said Sebastien Proust of the Nature Conservancy.

The Nature Conservancy is a non-governmental organization dedicated to the land and water conservation. Its presence in Yucatán goes back 30 years.

The Sustainability Agreement sets 2030 goals including zero deforestation, conservation and sustainable management of half of the territory.

The Autonomous Universities of Yucatán, Marista, Quintana Roo, La Salle Cancún, Autónoma de Campeche and the Instituto Campechano “join forces to train new generations with the commitment to teach students environmental literacy. … this generation is the one that will be adult in 2030,” commented Proust.

The accord was signed one year ago at COP13, the UN Biodiversity Conference in Cancun after six years of planning.

Among the achievements that have occurred since, Proust highlights the inter-institutional coordination with the peninsula’s three states’ Secretariats of Rural Development and Urban Development, as well as with hotel chains and businesses with tourist and environmental impact.

“In Campeche they work with environmental guidelines in agricultural development. Agricultural burns are being controlled; in Yucatán just a few weeks ago the first organic soybean harvest was made, and in Quintana Roo the companies that made up the accord have been working to reduce their impact on the carbon footprint, especially hotel and tourism companies,” Proust added.

Also, he said, work is being done on the restoration of reefs.

“That the three private universities and the three public universities have joined voluntarily is something positive. All sectors must work hand in hand, “he said.

The transition to sustainability is not easy, or cheap.

“It’s going to take time, yes; you can not decree the end of deforestation, but you can create solid foundations to achieve it,” Proust said.

Society can also contribute to this ecological change.

“If you start to consume local goods and support ecotourism, you are also helping. Consumption is key for the citizen,” he concluded.

Source: La Jornada Maya

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