Javier Diaz Carvajal
- 16 December 2010
- What does Quintana Roo’s regular exposure to hurricane events such as Hurricane Dean of 2007 mean for the state’s perspective on issues like climate change?
Preparedness is one of the major objectives for Quintana Roo. Fortunately, the whole social structure in the State has a strong hurricane preparedness and disaster prevention culture. The current administration has installed the State Civil Protection System which works on designing and implementing the best public policies to prevent disasters caused by natural phenomena, namely hurricanes. As these phenomena become a more intensive and frequent threat to the State in the short and long term (and based on IPCC projections), our society is moving towards a rapid process of adaptation. We have achieved this by being conscience that hurricanes have always been and will be part of our environment.
- Quintana Roo is blessed with some of the world’s richest tropical rainforest ecosystems, yet also faces the need for economic development of its resources. How can government best strike a balance between these two competing interests?
Quintana Roo has based its development on the appropriate use and management of natural resources. The unique turquoise beaches, well-preserved jungle, the presence of the world’s longest underground rivers and abundant flora and fauna have made tourism the main economic driver in the State. In order to achieve a balance between development and conservation of the natural resources, we need strong and well defined public policies. Here in Quintana Roo we are national pioneers in implementing ecological management programmes as well in the area of establishing natural protected areas. Both of these policies represent the main tools for decision making that involve the participation of all sectors of society.
Without a doubt, the need to face climate change correctly and efficiently at the local and global level with adequate policies must prevail. These policies must be adapted to meet state, regional and country needs. Quintana Roo has done so and we look forward to maintaining a close collaboration with civil society which we believe is the key of all success.
- What role does Quintana Roo see for the indigenous people of its region in combating environmental problems such as climate change?
Local communities are the main actors in adapting and mitigating the effects and impacts of climate change. The Mayan people, the heritage and pride of Quintana Roo society, have worked on several natural resource and rainforest conservation schemes. They have a long tradition of conservation and rational use of the natural resources which perfectly fits on the government’s strategies and action plans on climate change. We seek to broaden similar schemes for rural and urban zones.
- What are the most significant barriers facing Quintana Roo’s pursuit of a clean development pathway? How do you think these might be overcome?
Although we have devised and consolidated the legal framework on environmental issues for the State and Peninsula of Yucatan—with a focus on hotel construction and infrastructure – the difficulty lies in the correct application and implementation of the framework. At the same time, a stronger administrative and financial structure is needed. This can be achieved through several national and international sources of funding and by having qualified personnel.
- Why has Quintana Roo joined the states and regions alliance? What can Quintana Roo learn from other states and regions in its response to climate change?
In a globalized world, we can tackle climate change by thinking globally but acting locally. Global problems have their origin at local or regional levels. Working on a local or regional basis is one of our main strategies to develop common environmental policies and achieve sustainable development. So far we have started working closely with the Mexican states of Campeche and Yucatan that are part of the Yucatan Peninsula—they share cultural, historic, economic, social and environmental similarities. This kind of joint effort makes us the first region in Mexico to work together in the area of climate change mitigation and adaptation.
The global Alliance represents an opportunity to exchange technology, build capacity and collaborate more closely with other state and regional governments and entrepreneurs. Our economy is bringing business to the discussion table in our search to strike an equitable balance between the interests of conservation and development – this type of collaboration will drive the Clean Revolution forward.
Quintana Roo has a shining future: At the COP16, our State Governor Felix Arturo Gonzalez Canto announced the installation of more than 25,000 LED lights in the county of Othón P. Blanco. This pioneering initiative set to occur in Quintana Roo is the largest LED project of its kind in Latin America. And the project is a good example of public-private partnership; backing comes from the country's new special climate change program (PECC) along with LED technology support from GE Evolve™ Cobrahead.
- As the host of COP 16, what are your hopes for the outcome?
The first achievement has to be that state and regional governments are working together to devise specific solutions to specific problems. Climate Change impacts necessitate rapid responses and adaptation measures which may start at local or regional scales. During this COP, developed and emergent economies have agreed to step forward in seeking the best deals and collaboration amongst states and regions. For the first time, the Mexican State Government of Quintana Roo joins The Climate Group. We hope other states and regions will follow suit.