Around the Region

Dominican Republic reaches 30x30 sea-conservation goal

Dominican Republic President Luis Abinader’s recent decree creating a marine reserve and expanding an existing one has made his country the Caribbean’s first nation to reach the UN Convention on Biodiversity goal of conserving 30% of its ocean waters. On April 11, Abinader issued a decree establishing the 55,000-square-kilometer (21,000-sq.-mile) Orlando Jorge Mera Beata Mountain Range Marine Sanctuary [Santuario Marino Orlando Jorge Mera Cordillera Beata] and nearly tripling the size of the existing La Plata and La Navidad Banks Marine Mammal Sanctuary to 31,000 square kilometers (12,000 sq. miles). The moves make the Dominican Republic an early adopter of the international goal to put 30% of the world’s land, inland waters and oceans under protection by 2030. Colloquially known as 30x30, the objective was set in an agreement struck at the 2022 meeting in Montreal, Canada, of parties to the UN Convention on Biodiversity. “We are...

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CEC finds Mexico has failed to enforce turtle protection law

The North American Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) has found that Mexico has failed to enforce its own law protecting the loggerhead turtle. In an extensive report, the commission’s secretariat tracks the rising mortality of turtles along the beaches of the Gulf of Ulloa, on the Pacific Coast of Baja California Sur, and outlines the measures the Mexican government says it has taken—to little effect. The Montreal-based commission operates under the umbrella of the free trade agreement among the United States, Mexico and Canada. While its reports on complaints about signatory-nations’ environmental performance, called factual records, have no enforcement mechanism, they serve to spotlight negligent environmental governance. Loggerhead turtles (Caretta caretta) are found in subtropical to temperate oceans across the world and are listed as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). They are believed to have a lifespan of up to 100 years...

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Ruling against huge pig farm could set precedent in Mexico

A federal judge in Mexico’s Yucatán state has revoked permits for a massive pig farm in the Mayan village of Homún, preventing the start of operations and laying down a marker for environmental and social groundwork that must precede such projects. Federal District Court Judge Rogelio Leal Mota cited serious flaws in the environmental-impact statement submitted to gain government approvals. He also found that the farm’s owner, Mexican-owned Porcícola (PAPO), had violated the rights of Homún’s largely Indigenous community by failing to consult it before embarking on the project. “This should put the rest of the industry under scrutiny and benefit other communities facing damage from pig farming,” says Lourdes Medina Carrillo, the attorney who represented the plaintiffs. Felipe Romero, a human rights attorney at the nonprofit Mexican Center for Environmental Law (Cemda) suggests the decision could have even broader reach. Says Romero: “This ruling supports many other...

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