Conanp: Mexico strips its natural protected areas of 75% of their budget

Environmental activist and academics have slammed the decision

Conanp: Mexico strips its natural protected areas of 75% of their budget
The Budget cut became official on April 23 - Photo: Mario Arturo Mertínez/EL UNIVERSAL
English 10/06/2020 12:39 Adriana Varillas / corresponsal Mexico City Actualizada 12:51

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Austerity is taking a toll on environment protection. After the federal government stripped the National Natural Protected Areas Commission (Conanp) of 75% of its budget, and environmental activists have issued several online petitions to ask President López Obrador to reverse the decision.
 
Although the Conanp has protected Mexico’s natural resources and ecosystem for the last 20 years, the decree was made official after being published in the official gazette on April 23. 

 
For the Conanp, the 75% budget cut means it will have to close all its offices in the Yucatán peninsula, which are in charge of monitoring and protecting jungles, woods, mangroves, cenotes, coral reefs, and wildlife in the 25 natural protected areas in the region, which also includes the Mexican Caribbean Biosphere Reserve, the largest of its kind in the country. 
 
Ricardo Gómez, the former regional Conanp director, explains this is a mistake. He adds that the cuts began during Enrique Peña Nieto’s administration. In 2018, the regional commission operated with MXN 12 million when it required at least MXN 30 million. 
 
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Throughout the country, the Conanp is responsible for the administration and operation of 182 natural protected areas that comprise 90 million hectares.
 
NGO NOSSA presented a document that indicates that in the last seven years, the budget allocated for the protection of these areas has suffered a 86% cut. 
 
The World Wildlife Fund also voiced its concern over the controversial decision to defund the Conanp and asked the government to rethink its decision. The WWF emphasized that besides the 90 million hectares in danger, 1.5 million Mexicans, including 36 indigenous communities, will be affected by the 75% budget cut. 

 
Activists and academics have also voiced their concern. 

 
The Conanp acknowledged the budget cut will have a negative impact but said it is trying to efficiently use its resources in its nine regional offices. 
 
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