Mexico City, April 29, 2021.
Last Monday, April 26, 2021 was published in the Official Gazette of the Federation ("").DOF") the "Decree amending various provisions of the General Law on Sustainable Forestry Development." (the "DecreeThe main provisions of the Decree are as follows: "), which entered into force the day after its publication. The main provisions contained in the Decree are as follows:
- The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development ("...") is prohibited.SAGARPA") grant economic incentives for agriculture, livestock, forestry and aquaculture activities in deforested areas or increase the forest frontier.
- The Secretary of the Environment and Natural Resources ("SEMARNAT"), SAGARPA and the National Forestry Commission ("CONAFORThe "Land use policy will be defined in a coordinated manner in order to stabilize agricultural and livestock use, developing sustainable practices.
- The various government agencies, state and municipal governments are prohibited from granting incentives to individuals on forest land whose land use change has not been authorized by SEMARNAT.
- The following amendments are introduced for the authorization of changes in the use of forest land:
- SEMARNAT may only authorize the change of land use in forest lands after the technical opinion of the members of the State Forestry Council and based on the corresponding technical justification studies.
- When it is intended to authorize the change of forest land use on land located in indigenous territory, it will be necessary to carry out a prior, free, informed, culturally appropriate, and good faith consultation, for which SEMARNAT must act in coordination with the National Institute of Indigenous Peoples.
- SEMARNAT will not be able to authorize changes in forest use when the loss of forest cover was caused by fire, logging or clearing without 20 years having passed and that the affected forest vegetation has regenerated.
It is worth considering that the right to indigenous consultation in Mexico is already recognized through Article 6 of Convention 169 of the International Labor Organization on indigenous and tribal peoples, and in Article 2 of the Political Constitution of the United Mexican States; however, on June 10, 2020, the Second Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation ordered the Federal Congress to issue a law regulating this right.
Likewise, it must be remembered that according to the General Law of Sustainable Forest Development, those persons who carry out works or activities in forest lands without SEMARNAT's authorization or cause damage or serious deterioration to forest ecosystems will be subject to administrative fines of between $3,584 (m.n.) and up to $2,688,600 (m.n.), as well as the confiscation of goods used in the work or activity and, if applicable, temporary or definitive closure of the activities. The foregoing without prejudice to the criminal consequences that may be determined in accordance with the Federal Criminal Code.
Our Environmental practice group is at your disposal to clarify any doubts you may have on this subject.
A T T E N T A M E N T,
Daniel Del Rio