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Mexico’s New Protected Areas Left Stranded Without Funding

Mexico's government has created 44 new Protected Natural Areas (PNAs) since the end of 2018, but only half of these have been allocated a budget for this year. None of them currently have a Management Program or Advisory Board in place, and only 16 have hired executive staff.

The National Commission of Protected Natural Areas (Conanp) disclosed that just seven of the 44 new PNAs have assigned park rangers or control and surveillance staff, totaling 30 individuals. The majority of these rangers are stationed at the Protection Area of Flora and Fauna Sierra de San Miguelito in San Luis Potosí, with others scattered across six other areas.

Data obtained through the Transparency Law reveals that only seven of the new federal ecological reserves have transport vehicles. These consist of 11 vans and three quad bikes, but none of the reserves have boats, drones, or specialized equipment for protecting and conserving Mexico's biocultural heritage.

Out of the 22 new PNAs with a budget for 2024, the Bajos del Norte National Park in Yucatán has the most resources, with two million pesos allocated. This is followed by the Protection Area of Natural Resources Lago de Texcoco with one million 513 thousand pesos, and the Sierra Tecuani Biosphere Reserve in Guerrero with one million 211 thousand pesos.

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Other areas, including the Sanctuary Playa Chenkan and the Protection Area of Flora and Fauna Balam Kín in Campeche, have each been allocated one million pesos. The Protection Area of Flora and Fauna Jacinto Pat and the Sanctuary Playa of the Island Contoy in Quintana Roo, along with a beach adjacent to Río Lagartos in Yucatán, have been allocated 800 thousand pesos each.

The remaining areas have been allocated lower amounts, with the Protection Area of Flora and Fauna Semidesert Zacatecano receiving just 43 thousand 942 pesos for this year. The Sierra de San Miguelito, the first PNA decreed by the current government in December 2021, has been allocated 48 thousand 337 pesos.

The Northwest Civil Society Coalition for Environmental Sustainability (NOSSA) estimated in late 2023 that the 2024 budget allocations are insufficient for effectively managing and conserving these areas.

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