Situation und Zusammenarbeit

Panoramic view of Mexico City

Mexico is a typical emerging economy: an im­por­tant regional and global player that has made remarkable economic progress but that still continues to be faced with the social and environmental challenges that are typical of a de­vel­op­ing coun­try. The Human De­vel­op­ment Index (HDI 2015) ranks Mexico 77th out of the 188 coun­tries assessed.

A girl and a little boy. Copyright: GIZ/MexicoMexico stands a good chance of achieving most of the Millennium De­vel­op­ment Goals (MDGs). Thanks to comprehensive social programmes, the coun­try has managed to reduce the number of people in extreme pov­er­ty. According to World Bank data, fewer than one per cent of Mexico's people must now live on less than 1.25 US dollars a day.

However, the coun­try has not yet managed to eliminate the structural causes of pov­er­ty. The Mexican gov­ern­ment calculates the national pov­er­ty rate on the basis of a multidimensional index that, in addition to income, also measures access to basic social rights such as health, education, and housing. According to this index, more than 45 per cent of the popu­la­tion still lives in extreme pov­er­ty. Almost 10 per cent is classified as extremely poor by this national yardstick.

The distribution of wealth between regions and popu­la­tion groups is extremely unequal. The regions in the north are relatively wealthy with companies producing to global market standards. The centre is dominated by the Mexico City conurbation, where a large proportion of the country's gross domestic product is generated. The south is still relatively underdeveloped, with malnutrition and undernutrition still to be found in some rural regions. These are also the regions with the highest share of indigenous people.

Governance, human rights, security

The main plaza of Mexico city (Plaza de la Constitución) is bordered by the Cathedral to the north.

For many years, the major political parties employed a tactic of mutual obstructionism, thereby hampering the implementation of much-needed reforms. President Enrique Peña Nieto therefore concluded a "Pact for Mexico" (Pacto por México) with the two largest opposition parties right at the beginning of his term in office in December 2012. As a result, the gov­ern­ment has been able, within one year, to adopt constitutional amendments that facilitate fundamental reforms in the areas of education, energy, taxation and financial management, telecommunications and the election system. Now it just remains to be seen whether the reforms will be implemented successfully.

At present, Mexico's democracy is still characterised by significant shortcomings in terms of the rule of law and legal certainty. Corruption is widespread in the realms of politics, administration and the legal system. In recent years Mexico has been slipping down the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) published by the non-governmental organisation Transparency In­ter­national. On the 2013 index it ranks 106th out of 177 coun­tries (compared to 72nd out of 180 coun­tries in 2008).

Although Mexico is a signatory to the main human rights treaties, they are not being implemented consistently. The indigenous popu­la­tion in particular faces economic and social exclusion. Violence against women has assumed alarming proportions. In response to the rising number of women murdered, "feminicide" has been made a crime in its own right in several Mexican states.

Organised crime is the greatest threat to Mexico's internal security. It is from Mexico that almost the entire US drug market is controlled. In parts of the coun­try, armed groups that are controlled by the drug cartels have rendered the state monopoly on force null and void. The mafia also exerts an influence on parts of the political apparatus, the private sector, and the police.

Journalists who report on corruption, the drug trade, or links between politicians and organised crime, put their lives at risk. The 2014 World Press Freedom Index compiled by the human rights organisation Reporters Without Borders ranks Mexico 152nd out of 180 coun­tries evaluated.

Economic de­vel­op­ment

Car plant in Mexico.

In 2009, the year the global finance crisis hit, the Mexican economy contracted by more than 6 per cent, mainly because of its strong dependence on demand in the US. About 80 per cent of Mexican exports are destined for the United States. The Mexican gov­ern­ment has recognised the problem and established a global network of free trade agreements in recent years. These include agreements with the EU and Japan. The coun­try is also an active member of various regional organisations, including the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (Comunidad de Estados Latinoamericanos y Caribeños, CELAC).

The Mexican economy has recovered swiftly from the impacts of the crisis. Between 2010 and 2012, it saw annual growth of around four to five per cent. There was a marked slump in growth in 2013. This was caused, among other things, by the strong decline in public spending following the change of gov­ern­ment in late 2012, the weak demand for industrial goods in the US, and the decline in remittances from Mexican migrant workers.

Experts expect the Mexican economy to grow significantly again in 2014 and 2015.

Environmental protection and climate change mitigation

One of Mexico's great problems is the worsening environmental degradation brought about by rapid popu­la­tion and economic growth. Urbanisation, the use of large areas of land for crop and livestock farming, and logging are threatening the country's huge biodiversity.

Fifty per cent of the original forests are now believed to have been destroyed, and almost half the land shows signs of desertification. Eighty per cent of Mexico's fishing grounds are overfished. Although modern environmental legislation is in place, it is not being applied consistently, because large sections of the popu­la­tion and the administration lack awareness of the problem.

With its national de­vel­op­ment plan for 2013 to 2018, the Mexican gov­ern­ment has given itself the goal of achieving sus­tain­able economic growth. And in April 2014, it presented its new special climate change programme (Programa Especial de Cambio Climático) to limit the ecological and economic impacts of global warming.

Priority areas of German co­op­er­a­tion with Mexico

On 8 and 9 June 2015, the government negotiations for the first time took place within the framework of a high-level binational commission. Germany pledged a total of 283 million euros for the coming two years. Given Mexico's strong economic performance, the bulk of this funding will be made available in the form of reduced-interest loans.

De­vel­op­ment co­op­er­a­tion concentrates on two priority areas:

  • Environmental protection and conservation of natural resources
  • Renewable energies/energy efficiency

The BMZ coordinates this work closely with the Federal Ministry for the Environment, which is also active in Mexico in the areas of climate action, renewable energy and biodiversity conservation as part of its In­ter­national Climate Initiative (ICI).

Germany and Mexico have also agreed to expand their triangular co­op­er­a­tion with other Latin American coun­tries and to implement projects jointly with third coun­tries.

Environmental protection and conservation of natural resources

Landfill in Mexico City

One focus of German-Mexican co­op­er­a­tion is environmental protection in the urban and industrial sector. Specifically, solid waste management is to be improved, contaminated sites rehabilitated, financial services provided for environmentally sound investment by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and efforts made to improve the collection and treatment of wastewater. To that end, Germany is also supporting related public-private partnerships.

A German-Mexican programme for a master's degree in environmental and resource management is also being set up. Through this programme, a close link is being forged between de­vel­op­ment co­op­er­a­tion and the scientific and technological co­op­er­a­tion programmes of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

Conserving biological diversity is the second focus of co­op­er­a­tion in the environmental sector. Mexico is one of the so-called mega-biodiverse coun­tries. Co­op­er­a­tion here is designed to stem deforestation, designate additional protected areas and link up individual protected areas through bio-corridors. Germany is also supporting Mexico in implementing the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the Nagoya Protocol.

Renewable energies/energy efficiency

Although Mexico's geographic and climatic conditions are conducive to renewable energy use, it generates most of its energy from fossil fuels. The coun­try has huge potential for solar and wind power that is not yet being harnessed.

Germany is supporting Mexico in its efforts to make greater use of renewable energy sources and increase energy efficiency. The support is going to key actors in the public sector that are engaged in designing policy strategies, creating enabling legal frameworks, and designing and implementing promotion programmes.

Under Financial Co­op­er­a­tion, Germany is supporting the construction of low-energy apartment buildings and is assisting micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in switching to more energy-efficient production methods.

Triangular co­op­er­a­tion

Germany and Mexico have agreed to make their experience in co­op­er­a­tion available to other Latin American coun­tries in the form of triangular co­op­er­a­tion arrangements, and to implement joint projects and programmes with third coun­tries.

This model has met with great interest. In the Dominican Republic, Mexican experts, assisted by Germany, have established a network of environmental advisors for solid waste management. And Mexico and Germany are helping Bolivia to enhance its wastewater management system. Triangular co­op­er­a­tion arrangements involving Brazil, Bolivia and Peru are focusing on natural gas metrology. Mexico has been able to contribute the experience it has gained in triangular co­op­er­a­tion to the work of the Latin American Network for the Prevention and Management of Contaminated Sites (Red Latinoamericana de Prevención y Gestión de Sitios Contaminados, ReLASC).

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