WOMEN AND THE FUTURE OF FORESTS IN MEXICO

Azul Ogazón Gómez / Hannover / Opinión El Heraldo de México

In Mexico, according to figures from the National Forestry Commission (CONAFOR), around 5 million people belonging to indigenous communities live in forest ecosystems.

Forests are essential to the health of the planet. Covering almost a third of the world’s land surface, forests perform vital tasks such as absorbing carbon particles, regulating global temperatures, preserving watersheds, and preventing land erosion.

Their benefits do not end there, as they play a vital socio-economic role for one billion people living in and around these ecosystems. They are also home to many indigenous communities and local communities around the world, who are key stakeholders in their conservation.

In Mexico, according to figures from the National Forestry Commission (CONAFOR), around 5 million people belonging to indigenous communities live in forest ecosystems; in other words, more than 41 percent of the indigenous population lives in and depends heavily on forests to meet their food and development needs.

One example is located in Santa Catarina Cuexcomatitlán, in Jalisco, where 936 indigenous Wixárikas live and own 24,676 hectares of forest. According to CONAFOR, within their social structure, 400 women in this community have a bond of protection towards nature, which has motivated them to carry out various conservation actions, with which they have become self-employed.

Despite the indispensable role of forests in the life of the planet and of human beings, their degradation and depredation is advancing at a rapid pace. Agricultural production, the use of fossil fuels and illegal timber extraction, as well as the increase in fires due to global warming, are the main causes that are devastating biodiversity, vital ecosystems and the livelihoods of millions of people on a scale never before seen in human history.

According to a study in the magazine Nature, since humans began practicing agriculture some 12,000 years ago, we have lost half of the world’s estimated 5.8 billion trees. Furthermore, a recent World Wildlife Fund report revealed that more than 43 million hectares of forests were lost between 2004 and 2017; an area roughly the size of Morocco.

However, it is not all bad news. In recent years, as a result of increased global awareness of global warming driven by the Paris Agreement and the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, various nations, communities and even large companies are beginning to take decisive steps to save forests.

As a result, nowadays, approaches to stop deforestation have evolved from sole reliance on public policies and state regulations to mechanisms for production certification and the trade of legal timber products, the protection of the human rights of indigenous communities and local communities, the creation of sustainable supply chains and technological solutions, among others.

With this in mind, Reforestamos México, MEM Industrial – Tecno Mueble Internacional, Wise women, ANCE and INNOVATURE are working together to promote the event “Bosques del Futuro 2021”, to be held virtually on March 2 and 3, 2021.

The theme of this year’s forum is “Designing a New Future for the Rural World” and will seek to strongly promote the participation of women, with the slogan: “Mother Nature calls us to act”.

For two days, we will bring together brilliant women who are making a change from different areas: science, art, academia, communication and indigenous communities. 90% of the speakers and moderators will be women, who will share their experiences, work in rural areas and vision for the future to inspire disruptive actions that will lead us to have a new relationship with our environment.

Register at: http://bit.ly/bosquesdelfuturo2021

FROM AZUL OGAZÓN GÓMEZ
DIRECTOR OF MEM INDUSTRIAL AND TECNO MUEBLE INTERNACIONAL
azul.ogazon@hfmexico.mx