Over time, development policies in Mexico have not given importance to the economic and social costs of population growth. Many of the environmental crises have been caused by various factors, some of which include the following: unequal territorial distribution, urbanization activities, air, water and soil degradation, etc.
During the seventies the first organizations were founded in order to address the problems of pollution. In 1971 the Federal Law to Prevent and Control Environmental Pollution was enacted. Later, in 1972, the Secretary of Environmental Improvement was founded. Finally, in 1976 the General Office of Urban Ecology was established.
The concept of “Sustainable Development” was increasingly taken into account in the late 1980s. This happened in such a way thanks to research work and international agreements which proposed sustainable development as something necessary. This led to a second stage in the creation of government agencies and laws to comply with the sustainable process at the local and national level.
The first precedent in the country dates from 1983 when the Department of Ecology was created, which was part of the Secretariat of Urban Development and Ecology. New responsibilities were assigned and it was in 1988 when the Brundtland Report created an agitated international process that opened the way to sustainability. In Mexico, the General Law of Ecological Balance and Environmental Protection was approved.
In 1992, the Ministry of Social Development was created as an effort to unite social and environmental policies. Soon after, the National Institute of Ecology and the Federal Environmental Protection Agency were created. In the same year, the National Commission for the Knowledge and Use of Biodiversity was also established.
The management of the period was strengthened by the creation of the Ministry of the Environment, Natural Resources and Fisheries in 1994.
In 2000, this Ministry became the Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources. Since then, great changes in institutional engineering have taken place. Some laws that have been enacted are:
- La Ley General de Equilibrio Ecológico y la Protección del Medio Ambiente (1988, reformas en 2015)
- Ley General de Vida Silvestre (2000, reformas en 2018)
- Ley de Aguas Nacionales (1992, reformas en 2016)
- Ley General de Pesca y Acuacultura Sustentables (2007, reformas en 2018)
- Ley General de Desarrollo Forestal Sustentable (2003, reformas en 2018)
- Ley de Bioseguridad de Organismos Genéticamente Modificados (2005)
- Ley General para la Prevención y Gestión Integral de los Residuos (2013, reformas en 2018)
- Ley de Desarrollo Rural Sustentable (2001, reformas en 2018)
In the year 2000 the National Commission of Natural Protected Areas was created, and in 2001 the National Forestry Commission was established.
Establishing sustainable development as a priority, however, requires major changes in different areas. These changes must involve all sectors and all three levels of government.
State structures are not conducive to public information, management transparency, accountability, effective participation, goal setting, scrutiny, and compliance with regulations and policies.
In Mexico, environmental degradation and natural resource depletion has been increasing. The Institute of Statistics, Geography and Informatics (INEGI) has estimated through the System of Economic and Ecological Accounts of Mexico that the negative impacts of 2016 were equivalent to 4.6% of the Gross Domestic Product. This measurement is expressed through the Ecological Gross Domestic Product, which is an indicator of the effect on the economy of the use and degradation of natural resources.
Social aspects have also deteriorated since the implementation of the internationally open economic model and the rise of neoliberal policy since 1982. This deterioration has been seen in the weakening of formal employment and the purchasing power of salaries. It has also been reflected in the loss of quality in health care and education services, as well as in the increase in the cost of housing.
To address this problem, the National Population Council created the marginalization index. This index gives an overview of the status of social conditions at the state and municipal levels. In 2005, the percentage of the urban population with a marginalization index was 5.1%, and with a high marginalization index of 15.8%. By 2010, the percentage went to 4.6% in the very high level of marginalization and 20.1% in the high level. This proves what was stated above about the deterioration of the economic and social conditions of the population. In 2005 the urban proportion with a medium level of marginalization was 24.8%, with a low level of 33.5%, and a very low level of 20.9%. While in 2010 the percentages were 35.6%, 20.4%, and 19.3%, respectively.
From the student movement of 1968, a social process was derived that sought to establish a representative electoral system. The creation of the National Human Rights Commission in 1990, the establishment of the Federal Institute of Access to Information in 2003. In February 2014, the constitutional reform in political-electoral matters was published. This reform redesigned the Mexican electoral regime. The Federal Electoral Institute became the National Electoral Institute. In support of the above measure, the Attorney General’s Office published on March 12, 2014 in the Official Journal of the Federation, the creation of the Specialized Prosecutor’s Office for Crimes related to acts of corruption. The purpose of this office is to investigate crimes related to acts of corruption, with the exception of crimes committed by public servants of the PGR. These changes are part of democratic life.