Mexican Environmental Negotiations the Actors

Government agencies and political parties constitute a diverse group of environmental policy proponents. Although the traditional players (President, major government officials, PRI) comprise a part of the group, with the advent of an opposition party president and more diverse actors elected to Congress (including the Green Party candidates), the variety of interests represented within this group is growing [16,25]. Political parties are increasingly important in addressing environmental concerns—nearly all parties now include environmental issues in their platforms—and are pushing for greater representation within environmental negotiations. Finally, government agencies are also included within the environmental decision makers, although severe budget cuts and shortfalls have recently limited the power of these agencies within environmental discussions.

A second set of actors involved with environmental concerns is the domestic NGOs. The number and importance of environmental NGOs has grown steadily since the late 1980s, totaling over 400 accredited organizations active in Mexico [27]. Additionally, companies and farmers who benefit from green markets, through either ecotourism, organic products, or goods gathered from sustain-ably managed forests, also attempt to influence environmental policies and decision-making [27]. These groups have used the emergence of environmental concerns as an opportunity to construct new alliances. The resulting networks have been able to bring together the middle-class, urban-based environmental activists, grassroots indigenous and community-based groups, along with the green industries and farmers [27]. With increasing numbers of supporters and thus increasing levels of attention, these groups are beginning to garner consideration from the government for inclusion in some environmental discussions—at least in public forums held prior to the continuing "behind closed doors" negotiations and elite-controlled decision-making.

Finally, international actors also play a noteworthy role in Mexico's management of environmental concerns. The NAFTA institutions, following their environmental side agreement, have influenced and are influencing environmental decision-making events and procedures in northern Mexico. This influence is accomplished through developing regulations and enforcing greater compliance—spurring both administrative and legislative reforms along with greater public participation throughout Mexico. Additionally, international development agencies such as the Inter-American Development Bank (which is responsible for financing and influencing environmental conservation projects and policies) and international organizations such as the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, or OECD, (which requires commitment to moving toward a more comprehensive and transparent approach to environmental management), have become more involved in Mexican decision-making processes. Likewise, international NGOs such as the Nature Conservancy and the World Wildlife Fund have also become involved in Mexico. The strength of these international actors, through their fiscal resources and access to international media and supporters, have helped put Mexico's environmental concerns into the public realm, drawing attention to both the voices that are heard and those that are not heard without some external assistance [21]. The involvement of these international actors is forcing Mexico's elite to include other actors, at least superficially, within the bargaining and negotiation arena involving environmental concerns.

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