Defenders of indigenous peoples and the environment, as well as academics, warned about the privatization of natural resources in Mexico, through the approval of the General Biodiversity Law, promoted by deputies of the Green and the PRI.
At a press conference, members of the Citizen Coalition for the General Biodiversity Law (LGB) demanded a public consultation before approving the bill in plenary session, which was endorsed on March 22.
Adelita San Vicente, from the Semillas de Vida organization, denounced that the approval of the project “did not comply with the necessary quorum, it was held behind closed doors, without recording it and ignoring the regulatory time of 30 minutes to integrate the aforementioned quorum".
Furthermore, he said, only 15 legislators out of 30 who make up the Environment and Natural Resources Commission of the Chamber of Deputies (Comarnat) arrived at the meeting, when the presence of 16 members is required by regulations.
San Vicente warned that, after this bill, there would be very strong economic interests from the power generation, extractive, pharmaceutical, cosmetic and food industries.
The activist identified as one of the conglomerates involved “Grupo Salinas Pliego, which has interests not only in television stations but also in power generation, in mining companies; the Baja California mining company is being exploited by them over the defense that has been made by the population, and now they presume interests in access to genetic resources ”.
He also added that the economic interests by sectors are millionaires, and listed some of them: “The pharmaceutical industry is in a market that amounts to 955 thousand 500 million dollars; cosmetics, 426 billion; food and beverages, 11.6 billion dollars, we are talking about the future of the planet's food ”.
Carlos Ávila Bello, from the Universidad Veracruzana (UV), pointed out that the person who originally promoted the LGB was Senator Ninfa Salinas, "who represents particular interests of industries such as pharmaceuticals, food and beverages, cosmetics and industrial biotechnology."
The academic pointed out that the members of the Citizen Coalition before the LGB are convinced that these business groups “want to appropriate, through this law, the energy resources that not only belong to native peoples, but also to the country; if we have already lost sovereignty with Pemex, with this we are going to lose practically everything ”.
Ávila pointed out that the law is unconstitutional because “from its foundation it allows the patenting of genes, food and medicinal plants, cosmetics and indigenous knowledge that has preserved them for centuries”, and to those “700 pesos per hectare of protected area are paid to the year, and now the transnationals would do a great business ”.
Óscar Vélez, from Revive México, commented that the wording of the LGB initiative allows even species that were protected, such as the sea turtle, to be hunted, so “it is a regressive law, since it repeals the Law General of Wildlife ”.
Then he condemned that the LGB intended to roll back “decades of efforts to protect species such as sea turtles, leaving the use of endangered species to private discretion and allowing the legal possession of wild species as pets, which contravenes the conservation of the biodiversity ”.
Gustavo Sánchez, from the Mexican Network of Forest Peasant Organizations, recalled that the unconstitutional procedure being followed in the case of the LGB is similar to that of the General Law of Sustainable Forest Development, since “both have as a common denominator that they were promoted by the PVEM, which is under review by the Senate of the Republic ”.
He also highlighted that, in both cases, legislators “have systematically refused to open a broad process of social participation and to convene a consultation aimed at indigenous peoples and communities and comparable communities, despite the fact that in Mexico most of the forests are found. in the lands of this sector of the population. They have refused despite the fact that in both cases the requirements of ILO Convention 169 are met, and the request for consultation was made.
Danaé Espinosa, from the Youth Movement of Latin America and the Caribbean, insisted that the LGB is regressive, since it is incompatible with the international parameters promoted by Mexico.
"Mexico has been a pioneer in promoting international agreements against climate change, so it is essential that this law be rejected so that there is legislative coherence," said the defender.
Espinosa recalled that, so far, 175 countries have ratified the Paris Agreement, which provides for biodiversity, while, in Mexico, “in the 2030 agenda at the national level, the participation of civil society is included to review the proposals of the environmental part ”.
David Ruiz, from the National Indigenous Network, pointed out that the LGB ignores the second article of the Constitution, on the rights of indigenous peoples and communities and comparable communities, in addition to "violating basic human rights, including the use and enjoyment of biodiversity, a healthy environment, participation and food ”.
In addition, he insisted that the consultation should be carried out in "the territories of indigenous peoples and rural communities, with a broad, inclusive call, in their languages and open to all society."
It also considered that legislation "without clarity in the proposals collected or the criteria with which the observations are incorporated or left out, cannot be considered a valid exercise."
The researcher Octavio Klimek denounced that "the legislators of the PVEM and the PRI have despised the well-founded and legitimate opposition of social organizations, academics, experts and government agencies" in an effort to respond to economic interests.
The environmental consultant recalled that the National Commission for the Knowledge and Use of Biodiversity (Conabio), headed by former rector José Sarukhán, and the Ministry of Agriculture (Sagarpa), have spoken out against the initiative, without the legislators del Verde and the PRI have responded to the observations.