Quintana Roo, December 1, 2023. The presence of the Forest Stewardship Council in Mexico dates back to its founding in Oaxaca in 1993. Since then, the organization has expanded and now has an international presence. After nearly 30 years of working towards responsible forest management, the goal remains for certifications to be synonymous with promoting environmental and social well-being. In Mexico, the results have been and continue to be significant.
A second milestone in this country was the Noh Bec ejido certification in Quintana Roo. In 1995, thanks to its sound forest management, it became the world’s first community forest to receive certification. This region, situated in southeastern Mexico, also encompasses the Yucatán Peninsula. For several months, the members of the ejidos of Laguna Kaná, Chan Santa Cruz, Chan-Cah Derrepente, Naranjal Poniente, Santa María Poniente, Yaxley, Yoactún, Tixcacal Guardia, and Tabi set the goal of achieving FSC certification.
These ejidos, collectively forming the Organización de Productores Forestales de la Zona Maya (Forest Producers Organization of the Mayan Area), became the first recipients of the Group FSC Certificate under the Procedimiento de Mejora Continua (Continuous Improvement Procedure) on June 1st. To achieve this, they had to demonstrate that their practices adhere to protocols ensuring the conservation of the forests. In other words, they showed commitment to approaching these practices with care and responsibility.
This new program is based on a premise that allows more communities to get certified: sustainability is a journey of ongoing efforts rather than a fixed goal. Achieving this certification requires meeting FSC’s core criteria and serves as a starting point to begin enjoying the benefits of being certified. Moreover, one of the effects of pursuing certification has been the coming together of communities around this shared objective. Achieving sustainability at the core requires an unwavering social commitment from a group of individuals.
The communities collaborated closely with the Xico2e project –a joint initiative involving FORLIANCE, our partner in Mexico, Ala-boOl– Proselva Tropical, and Ecotrópico. To commemorate this milestone, a gathering occurred on December 1st at the Ejidal House of Laguna Kaná in the municipality of Felipe Carrillo Puerto. At the event, community members met with representatives from the organizations above and officials from the Government of Quintana Roo. Representing the FSC were Alfonso Argüelles, Vera Santos, and Janja Eke.
We’re continuing our efforts to ensure that the Yucatán Peninsula region continues to preserve the richness of its communities and culture. Our goal is to protect the habitats, home to species like the jaguar and the West Indian manatee, and to maintain the area as the preferred destination for tourists worldwide. As the ejidatarios know well, to keep enjoying everything the peninsula offers, we must start by protecting it. And as the Continuous Improvement Procedure demonstrates, effort and perseverance are essential in the journey toward sustainability.
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