Around the Region

Impact study ordered for big Cancún market

Mexico’s federal environmental enforcement agency, Profepa, has determined that a giant commercial exhibition complex planned for an area south of Cancún must submit an environmental-impact study, handing opponents a victory in their attempt to stop the project. The development, called Dragon Mart Cancún, must also show that it is in compliance with the federal forestry law, according to a May 13 statement Profepa issued after inspectors visited the site. The Mexican real estate investors behind the development argue that federal environmental law does not apply to their project because it is too far from the sea to affect the coastal environment and because the site’s vegetation is not the original forest, but scrub known as “acahual” that has grown over land that had been...

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New means to gauge marine sustainability tried in Brazil

Brazil has served as the first subject of a project aimed at creating a means to measure the health of the ocean in different parts of the world and to grade marine-protection efforts of countries in those regions. In an evaluation headed by the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) at the University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB), Brazil received middling marks for sustainable ocean-resources management as well as a series of recommendations. Published this month in the science journal PLoS ONE, the study used the Ocean Health Index (OHI), a methodology developed by NCEAS researchers, to assess the state of Brazil’s coastal and marine resources and how sustainably they’re being used. The researchers say they chose Brazil as the...

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Bank environmental and social risk policies required in Brazil

Brazilian financial institutions must set up environmental- and social-risk (E&S) policies so they can better manage such risks when they analyze credit requests, the country’s Central Bank has ordered in a resolution issued last month. The resolution doesn’t specify how such policies must be structured, but it sets minimum standards for them. One directive requires banks to set up E&S risk-management departments with policies appropriate for the type and size of financing they offer. Those policies must be evaluated, and if necessary, updated, every five years. Another directive says that financial institutions must keep at least five years worth of data on financial losses incurred by a borrower due to environmental and social damages. In its resolution the Central Bank gives...

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