UNDP SGP Highlights Climate Resilience Project in Mexico

4 December 2010: On the occasion of the Cancun Climate Change Conference, the Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme (GEF SGP), the Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery of the UN Development Programme (UNDP), and Mexico's National Commission of Protected Areas organized a site visit to a community-based project in the protected area of Yum Balam, which is helping a Mayan indigenous community increase its resilience to climate change.

During the visit, delegates, researchers, members of the civil society and the media learned first hand how the Mayan community is implementing a local risk management strategy as an approach to climate change adaptation and in enhancing the conservation of the flora and fauna of the area. Through the prevention of forest fires after hurricanes, including by collecting downed trees and tree parts that would serve as fuel, constructing firewalls, and increasing community awareness and commitment to forest conservation, the project has been successful in preventing significant fires in the Yum Balam reserve and its surroundings. Based on the impact of a fire that started after Hurricane Gilbert in 1999, the reserve is avoiding the emission of approximately 54.98 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent per hectare.

The Yum Balam Wild Flora and Fauna Protected Area is located within the Atlantic Hurricane Belt, in an area of high fire incidence with 989 fires recorded to date. In 2005, two category 5 hurricanes (Emily and Wilma) destroyed thousands of trees causing a fire emergency in 2006, which affected 50,000 hectares and reinforced the need for creating a Forest Fire Prevention and Combat Program. [IISD Sources]