Category Archives: Conservacion

UN Clima Conference COP 16/CMP6 in Cancún 2010

Mexico and Climate Change

Mexico hosts this years Sixteenth Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP16).  It is also the 6th Conference of the Parties with a meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP6). Almost 200 nations will be attending this years United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Cancún. Cancún was thought to be the ideal location for this years Climate Change Conference. Reasons for this are: Mexico is one of the countries who voluntarily cut greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) and a 2009 report of the World Bank Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery states that Mexico will most likely be one of the countries to be negetively affected by severe weather conditions, which are a result of the forced climate change.

Mexico’s contribution on environmental matters

A positive surprise, being a developing country, Mexico has shown a clear determination to establish programs to reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHG) into the atmosphere and to generate a greener economy, by helping businesses to measure and report GHG emissions. This program of implementing environmental controls and its voluntary program for businesses, shows a clear commitment towards the climate change crisis. Mexico was one of the countries signing the Kyoto Protocol in 1998 and has endorsed it in 2000.

The main goal of this years Climate Change Conference is about finding consensus about at least two topics: 

(1) Providing support to countries having catastrophic events, and

(2) Requiring developed countries to provide developing countries with financial and technological support.

After the little successful Clima Conference at last year’s Copenhagen, this years expectations for the UN clima conference are generally small. The failing of reaching an agreement at the Clima Conference in Copenhagen has proved that it is most likely not possible to reach a comprehensive consensus at just one single event. It is more likely to apply a more gradualistic policy at this years UN clima conference in Cancún.

COP 16/CMP6 and Sustainability

Mexico in compliance of its obligations as a host of the 16th United Nations Climate Conference is committed to ensure the environmental impacts from the increased greenhouse gas emissions to a minimum during the duration of the 10 day event.

For this reason the Mexican government established recommendations fot the event’s participants.

  • one of the main goals is to ensure the energy used for and during the event comes from renewable energy sources.
  • to neutralize the greenhouse gas emissions through soil conservation programs.
  • reforestation and sustainable forest management programs throughout Mexico and abroad.
  • the implementation of a hotel assesment program for hotels in Cancún which aims to enhance their sustainable operations
  • establishment of a residual waste management program that facilitates processing and elimination of various types of waste
  • 10,000 trees and bushes will be planted along Cancun’s main corridor to the Riviera Maya, which will contribute to capture carbon and sequestration and will help to beautify Cancúns main boulevards.

Visit Sian Ka’an and Sustainable Tourism

Visit Sian Ka’an as a small local tourism company has comitted itself to sustainable tourism practises in the Biosphere Reserve  Sian Ka’an, a World Heritage by the UNESCO and a declared natural protected area in Mexico. Visit Sian Ka’an was funded and is run by natives from the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve and by touring with this small local company you are directly benefitting the local economy of Sian Ka’an and Tulum.

Our goal is not simply to strive to be the most ecologically sound and responsible tour provider in the area, but to serve as good practise model for sustainable tourism practices and to continually raise the awareness and conciousness for the natural world among the community and travel related businesses alike . 

Visit Sian Ka’an knows of the great priviledge and responsability of taking tourist to the protected Biosphere Reserve Sian Ka’an which is the key of our sustainable business philosophy. As part of our sustainable tourism philosophy we take into account the “Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria” (GSTC) which are a set of 37 voluntary standards and serve as a role model for Visit Sian Ka’an to aspire, to protect and sustain the natural and cultural resources in Sian Ka’an while ensuring tourism meets its potential to help local communities to sustain a living and to improve their living standards, but also by educating the local communities on the benefits of wildlife and nature conservation.

Our Sian Ka’an Tours are designed to educate and inform our travelers in their exploration of natural areas, to apreciate the natural world, the wildlife and the rich local mayan heritage of Tulum and Sian Ka’an. For more information about our tours, please visit our homepage: www.visitsiankaan.com

For all particpants of the UN Climate Change conference we are offering a 20 % discount on our tours. We would love to welcome you to one of our tours and show you the beauty of Sian Ka’an.

Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve- Finding a Balance between Conservation and Development

This following article was written by us and we are very grateful to the Ecotourism Society who has published our article at http://www.yourtravelchoice.org. We have thought it might be a good idea to publish the article again in our blog as there might be some of our readers who have not had the chance to read the article. It is a very informative article and I hope you enjoy it!!

Tourism has become one of the most important industries in the world with significant growth potential. Mexico attracts most tourists in all of Latin America, and with over 20 millions visitors each year, it is among the top ten tourist destinations worldwide.

Tourism is one of the leading industries in the country, and the Mexican Caribbean relies largely on tourism. Pressure imposed on the environment by the drastic and constant increase of tourism in the Riviera Maya and Cancún – as well as the lack of sustainable planning and management in many of Mexico’s towns and cities over the past forty years – has led to an environmental crisis and the industry is urgently required to seek greater harmony between economic needs and environmental sustainability.

The industry is endangering the same natural resources that tourism relies on to attract visitors. To build large hotel and resort complexes, forests and mangroves have been cut down at an alarming rate, leading to coastal erosion. Inadequate waste and water treatment are polluting the cenotes, or underground rivers. These are just a few of the negative impacts irresponsible tourism development has had in the Mexican Caribbean.

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Fresh water canal originally build by the ancient Mayas

In recent years, there has been a new trend in increased environmental consciousness, and many tourism businesses and developments companies, with the help of local and international NGOs, are working to reduce the impacts of new constructions. The government has also set aside protected areas, one of which is the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve in Quintana Roo, south of the Riviera Maya.

Unique Natural Treasure – UNESCO World Heritage Site

One of the most important protected areas in the Mexican Caribbean, the Biosphere Reserve of Sian Ka’an (Mayan for “Gift from the Sky”) is a place with an incomparable natural beauty and immense richness in flora and fauna. For these unique characteristics in biodiversity and its cultural treasures Sian Ka’an was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in December 1987.

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Biosphere Reserve of Sian Ka’an – “Gift from the Sky”

On January 20th 1986, Sian Ka’an was established as one of the first Biosphere Reserve in Mexico and also is part of the UNESCO’s Man and Biosphere (MAB) program, which tries to find compromising ways of low human activity while securing the long term conservation of the area.

Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve spans for an area covering 652,000 hectares, making it the largest protected area in the Mexican Caribbean. Including the world’s second largest coastal barrier reef, the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, Sian Ka’an is the most important coastal protected area in Mexico.

The Biosphere Reserve of Sian Ka’an has gained significant importance as a destination for ecotourism and sustainable livelihood development projects for local communities. It is known for its biodiversity and various ecosystems, consisting of a mosaic of inland water canals, mangroves, marshes, and tropical lowland forests containing ancient Mayan sites.

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Small Mayan ruin in the Caapechen lagoon

There is also an abundance of wildlife including manatees, four species of marine turtles, as well as howler and spider monkey, crocodiles, the rare Jabiru Stork, and some of the most elusive large mammals in the region including jaguar, puma, ocelot and tapir. By 2008, over 370 bird species had been identified, from tiny little birds to giant birds the size of a small person.

Visit Sian Ka’an – a Small Local Tourism Project

Recognizing the tremendous value of Sian Ka’an’s natural, historic and cultural resources, as well as the needs to conserve and foster these resources for future generation, Aldo Ancona has launched the small and responsible ecotourism project Visit Sian Ka’an. Visit Sian Ka’an is one of the very few eco-tourism enterprises in Sian Ka’an that are run by natives from the Sian Ka’an area. It is a community based tourism project that supports other locally run tourism enterprises, so revenues generated by tourism stays within the local community.

Visit Sian Ka’an offers ecological boat tours within the lagoons and coastal wetlands of Sian Ka’an. The tours are designed for travelers who are seeking to experience the nature in a respectful manner and are interested in learning about various wildlife, Mayan history, cultural heritage and local conservation efforts.

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Visit Sian Ka’an Experience – Enjoying the Silence

Visit Sian Ka’an’s tour guides are natives from the area. Equipped with a lifetime of experience, these local guides are professionally trained to showcase local history and culture. Committed to offering the most intriguing and informative tour, they have a sincere respect and passion for the cultural treasures and natural wonders that make Sian Ka’an the amazing place that it is.

At Visit Sian Ka’an, we are proud to have established our projects inline with the principles of biosphere reserves – to enhance people’s livelihoods and to ensure environmental sustainability. Our strong commitment to sustainable livelihoods and to the rich biodiversity of these fragile ecosystems is part of our business culture.

Visit Sian Ka’an tours only take very small groups of 2 up to 6 people. This contributes to two important factors: the exclusivity that enhances each guest’s experience, and the guarantee that the environmental impact of the tours is minimized and the unique coastal wetlands remain viable for our future generations.

A relaxing float through a fresh water canal surrounded by mangroves

Visit Sian Ka’an is committed to protecting the local area and its fragile ecosystem, through a business model based on sustainable tourism – minimizing the environmental impact of tours. Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is home to thousands of species of flora and fauna, and remains the largest protected area in the Mexican Caribbean.