Interview with Roberto Alcalá – Secretary of the State of Campeche and ANAAE President
Roberto Alcalá, Secretary of the State of Campeche and President of ANAAE, attended the 2017 General Assembly meeting and participated in the alongside Conference on Climate Adaptation “Islands: lands of innovative solutions for all territories”. In the framework of the mentioned events, nrg4SD had the opportunity to hold the following interview.
nrg4SD: Considering the great biodiversity of the State of Campeche, which has different biodiversity lands like jungles or mangroves, how can the nrg4SD Regions4Biodiversity program be useful to your State and citizens?
RA: We are very confident that working together with professionalism, we can achieve the development of technical capacities and expertise, not only for public servers, but also for those external partners that work with us in biodiversity topics. The State of Campeche has a strategy that, even though it took some years to develop, we were certain to create based on a consensus of all participants. We also learnt a lot from the COP 13 that took place in Cancun, which gave us the elements to introduce new economic activities that have great impact, such as tourism, agriculture and forestry. Campeche itself is a State with a vocation for forestry due to its great jungle extensions, which we manage as natural protected areas. We consider the Regions4Biodiversity Learning Platform to be very important and we are happy to take part of it with the purpose of sharing and exchanging knowledge and expertise with other member regions from all over the world who have also developed their own technics and methodologies to work towards biodiversity conservation within their territories. Campeche has already begun a process of decentralization with the Federal Government, which will make us responsible for a great part of the permits granting in terms of natural resources and energy exploitation. This means that we will be able to develop new projects that allow the owners of these lands to make use of them and improve their economies, because we believe that while guaranteeing economic development we ensure the conservation of our habitats.
nrg4SD: The state of Campeche, represented by Secretary Alcalá, plays a very important role within nrg4SD as a veteran member of the Network, former Vice-President of nrg4SD for the Americas and member of our Steering Committee. Mr. Secretary, which nrg4SD programs and projects interest most to ANAEE and the State of Campeche?
RA: Without a doubt, nrg4SD has very interesting and important programs, which allow ANAAE -as the organization that represents 32 federal entities from Mexico- to develop joint participation agreements. We believe that in terms of climate change, the initiative RegionsAdapt is very important. Also, the Visiting Experts program, which allows us to send people to other parts of the world with successful experiences and draw upon their knowledge and best practices to put them in practice in this megadiverse country that is Mexico, which is a very vulnerable country to climate change, making the task of adaptation even more important. Also, in areas where we have pollution and air quality problems, such as Bajio, Guanajuato, or the industrial area of Nuevo Leon, we take this opportunity to raise awareness and work together with the Network as regional and State authorities. We are very proud as ANAAE to be a veteran member of nrg4SD, which is celebrating its 15th year anniversary, and we are convinced that the way we can build a better world is through the active participation of different actors, which together as persons and working with true will, can implement public policies and action programs in which society is a key factor for decision making.
nrg4SD: In your capacity of President of ANAAE and Secretary of the State of Campeche, how do you envisage your collaboration with nrg4SD in the coming future?
RA: We plan to hold a Biodiversity Summit alongside with ANAAE’s General Assembly in March 2018 in Campeche. I am sure this will be an exceptional opportunity for our Network to manifest with greater force in Mexico, and for the States that form part of ANAAE to get to know better the different possibilities and opportunities within nrg4SD. I am convinced that this event will serve also as an opportunity to foster a dialogue framework for this crucial topics that are biodiversity and climate change, especially in the road to the biodiversity COP next year. Mexico’s Southeastern region, which is the Yucatan Peninsula, formed by the States of Quintana Roo, Yucatan and Campeche, has an agreement for the sustainable development of the Peninsula to the year 2030. This agreement was signed during the COP 13 in Cancun, and we now aim to review our framework of action and goals, and incorporate the necessary elements to achieve it. This is an example that, even though we are independent and separated governments, we can work together towards a sustainable ecosystem. Even though we have geopolitical frontiers, we are one ecosystem and it is our duty to protect, conserve, restore and use it in a rational way, and with love for our land.