Mexico and Norway confirm mutual climate cooperation

Mexico´s Minister of the Environment, Mr. Juan Rafael Elvira Quesada, and Norway’s Minister of the Environment and International Development, Mr. Erik Solheim, today signed a Memorandum of Understanding at the margins of the Oslo Climate and Forest Conference 2010. The two countries agreed to work together on climate, forests and environment.

Mexico´s Minister of the Environment, Mr. Juan Rafael Elvira Quesada, and Norway’s Minister of the Environment and International Development, Mr. Erik Solheim, today signed a Memorandum of Understanding at the margins of the Oslo Climate and Forest Conference 2010. The two countries agreed to work together on climate, forests and environment.

“Mexico strongly welcomes this Memorandum of Understanding because of the concrete benefits it will deliver on advancing REDD+ activities bilaterally, including moving forward on measuring, reporting and verification (MRV) issues. We also believe this initiative will contribute to consolidate a concrete experience on MRV that can be deployed in other countries. We are certain that concrete initiatives, where developed and developing countries work together to take actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, are crucially important to reach a positive outcome at the UNFCCC negotiations”, said Mexico’s Minister of the Environment, Juan Rafael Elvira Quesada

Mexico will host the next Conference of the Parties (COP16) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) at the end of this year, where the framework to enhance the implementation of the Convention now, up to and beyond 2012 is being negotiated.

Mexico and Norway have worked closely together during the climate change negotiations. During the Conference of the Parties in Copenhagen in December 2009, the countries launched a joint proposal for an international green fund to finance developing countries efforts on mitigation and adaptation related to climate change. Today the two countries confirm their will to working together on climate issues.

A key priority for both Mexico and Norway is for this regime to include a mechanism for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries – internationally known as REDD+.

About one third of Mexico is covered by forests (642 000 squared kilometers). These forests are rich in biodiversity, and provide livelihoods for millions of poor people, many of them belonging to one of many Mexico’s indigenous populations. Mexico is one of the five most biodiversity-rich countries on the planet.

Mexico experienced heavy deforestation in the 80s and 90s but have since been able to reduce deforestation rates, because of sound forest policies. The country has gained important experience on forestry policies that benefit local people through direct revenues from sustainable use of forests, and from systems to reward to forest owners for maintaining ecological services, such as water provision and quality. Mexico is also among the most advanced developing countries in monitoring forests by combining satellite data and systematic “on the ground” data collection.

Norway wants to support Mexico in harnessing these experiences, in order to benefit also other developing countries that are working to reduce deforestation. Mexico and Norway also want to continue a close political dialogue on climate and forests, and Norway is determined to contribute to a positive outcome of the 16th conference of the Parties in Cancún.

- We are pleased to further strengthen our political collaboration with Mexico on climate issues, said Erik Solheim. - Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation is a field which is still developing. As a tropical forest country, Mexico holds excellent experience on forest issues. We would like to closely collaborate on REDD+ activities so that other forest countries may benefit from these experiences.

Mr. Elvira Quesada is in Oslo to participate at the Oslo Climate and Forest Conference, where 50 countries - including the most important forest countries and REDD+ donors - will come together to establish a global REDD+ Partnership to complement the negotiation track with an action track.