Yucatan counts with 535,246ha of protected natural areas, an equivalent of 13% of its land territory. It is one of the states with the highest forest territory in the country and the third of mangrove areas, with 96,873ha which is approximately 10% of the total mangrove area of the country. This is a great responsibility that obligue us to focus on the conservation of these very valuable ecosystems. In the State of Yucatan we work to integrate them in the tools of planning, management and governance, both in the urban and rural environments; not only for their conservation but also to generate economic activities that become a sustainable income for the local communities.
Since 2018, the government of the Stated of Yucatan has renewed and invested in achieving and creating a path to sustainability. Its public policies have been modified to be governed based on the 2030 agenda and to lead the state through sustainable growth and development, placing the 17 SDGs as the axis of new challenges and goals.
Yucatan is a committed region with the creation of projects which lead towards sustainability. Several challenges still remain. The state is experiencing significant urban growth, which means a significant consumption of forest land. In the same way, a third of the houses in the State are not connected to the public drainage network and dispose of their wastewater through septic tanks (INEGI, 2020). These factors make Yucatan highly vulnerable, giving great urgency to the prevention and mitigation of impacts on ecosystems.
- Equitable Waste Management
Yucatan has a total population of 2,320,898 inhabitants, and it is estimated that it produces 2,128 tons of waste per day, or 800 grams per capita, of which only 18% is valorized and 51.5% represents an area of opportunity for an integrated waste management system. This puts at risk the pollution generated by inadequate waste management, which not only causes environmental problems, but also urban and public health issues.
- Inclusive Sustainable Transport
According to the Urban Mobility Index (2018) among the 20 cities with the highest urban mobility, Merida is in sixth place with a medium-high level of competitiveness; with a score of 48.8, which is considered to be a figure above the national average of a score of 44.5. With the aim of reducing emissions, the government has implemented the projects IETRAM: the first 100% electric system of buses which also reduces noise pollution and is the equivalent of more then 170 planted trees regarding the reduction of CO2 emissions in ten years; and Va y Ven, a metropolitan mobility system that connects more than 120 colonias and 104 transport rutes, benefiting more than 144,000 inhabitants by allowing faster and more efficient travels and generating savings in their economy.
- Biodiversity Conservation
Yucatan has a great natural wealth with 10.4% of the country’s biodiversity, with more than six thousand species; of which 332 are endemic and 349 are considered exotic. The state’s coastline has an extension of 378 km, which are made up of mangrove wetland ecosystems and the coastal lagoon system that houses a great biological diversity, which act as a refuge for different aquatic species of great commercial and ecological importance; in addition to its 535,000 hectares of natural areas which are protected in their entirety. Likewise, the aquifer of the Yucatan Peninsula is considered one of the most important hydrological basins in the world. In Yucatan, 2,686 cenotes and 331 caves have been registered, giving a total of 3,017 karst manifestations. The conservation of these ecosystems is extremely important and a great challenge.
The government of the State of Yucatan has put in place the State Strategy for the Recovery and Conservation of Ecosystems, focused on Nature-Based Solutions and Adaptation Based on Ecosystems. This initiative aims to promote the sustainable use of natural resources, reducing the vulnerability of the territory and combating climate change, with a set of strategies to protect, restore and sustainably manage ecosystems, while at the same time address social problems adaptively providing benefits both for ecosystems and for society. Through joint collaboration with NGOs, academia, private sector, Government and communities. These strategies seek to position Yucatan as a leading state in the promotion of projects for the recovery and conservation of ecosystems. The State has also developed and is implementing the Agenda 2040 which arised as a response of the COVID-19 crisis as well as the negative impacts on social development caused by the climate crises. The Agenda 2040, which was developed by participatory processes with the participation of more than 130,000 yucatecas and yucatecos, is a roadmap with the aim of ensuring that present and future generations have guaranteed all their rights of access to better levels of well-being.