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Environmental lawyers say Mexican government not complying with Ramsar Convention

Mexico City, Mexico — Environmental lawyers say that the Mexican government has not complied with its obligations regarding the Ramsar Convention and is putting its reefs and wetlands at risk.

Camilo Thompson, lawyer of the Program of Marine Biodiversity and Coastal Protection of AIDA, explained that the government of Mexico has not complied with the obligations established in the Ramsar Convention, especially those that refer to the use of wetlands.

The environmental organizations set themselves the task of exemplifying cases such as the “unsustainable practices” of alteration of the wetlands due to illegal authorizations, lack of vigilance and for illicit construction that led to the change of land use and alterations to the environment bypassing the Ramsar Convention.

Civil society organizations have already sent an “urgent alert” to the Ramsar Convention, an intergovernmental treaty for the protection of wetlands, in which it urges a visit by specialists to the Arrecife National Park of Puerto Morelos be carried out in order to evaluate the risks that the area faces due to mass tourism.

In 2004, the Arrecife National Park of Puerto Morelos in the state of Quintana Roo was declared a Ramsar site. It is home to different ecosystems, and, therefore, species of flora and fauna that are even in some category of risk. Despite this, tourism threatens to destroy everything in its path.

Sandra Moguel, regional director of the Mexican Center for Environmental Law, clarified that the cases of Hotel Azul Sensatori, Hotel Azul Beach, Beach Club Petempich and Beach Club of the Hotel Playa Senator, included in the letter addressed to the Secretariat of the Ramsar Commission, “they are not the only ones”, nevertheless, with them we seek to illustrate “the failed system”.

“What we identify in these projects is that they have as a thread a mangrove felling,” she criticized.

Therefore, “the damages that can be caused by tourism projects as a whole have not been evaluated. There is a need to evaluate how things are being done. It is necessary to define that this type of processes that are increasingly degrading the environment should no longer be allowed.”

Moguel affirmed that “the Puerto Morelos reef, according to studies, is one of the best preserved reefs within the Mesoamerican Reef System and there they are operating [tourist developments] without permission. Sometimes it’s cheaper to build, [the entrepreneurs] think it’s better to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission.”