Funding for Mexico’s natural protected areas (ANPs) has declined by more than 50% since 2014, according to a Mexico City think tank.
The Center of Economic and Budget Research (CIEP) said in a report that the National Commission for Natural Protected Areas (Conanp) has suffered budget cuts since 2017, including large double-digit cuts in 2019 and 2020.
Its 2022 allocation of 887 million pesos is 51% lower than what it received in 2014, the think tank said. The amalgamation of Conanp programs is a major reason for the funding decline.
CIEP said that several ecosystem and animal protection programs managed by Conanp in the early years of the 2012-18 government led by former president Enrique Peña Nieto were merged into two larger programs between 2016 and 2018.
The incorporation of the smaller programs into the larger ones resulted in less funding for Conanp, which has responsibility for almost 200 ANPs.
The two large programs – called “Recovery and Repopulation of Species at Risk” and “Management of Natural Protected Areas” – had a combined budget of 664 million pesos (US $32.4 million at today’s exchange rate) in 2018, but they were amalgamated into one program in 2019 and funding was slashed to 183 million pesos, a 72% cut.
Funding for the program – called “Program for the Protection and Restoration of Ecosystems and Priority Species” – was cut again in 2020, when it dipped below 160 million pesos, before recovering to just over 180 million pesos last year.
The program’s 2022 funding is 322 million pesos, a significant increase compared to the past three years, but less than half the amount its two predecessors received in 2018.
CIEP questioned why funding for ANPs has been cut when such areas “provide a variety of ecosystem services that are important for sustainable development.”
Among them: “the supply of raw materials, carbon storage, soil erosion control, pollination and the provision, filtration and regulation of water resources.”
With reports from Reforma