Mexico, like many other countries, faces the deterioration and loss of valuable natural capital. In recent decades, the country’s ever-growing population has imposed a more intense and vigorous rhythm to the exploitation of natural resources, which has unavoidably led to the degradation of natural ecosystems and the increase in the volume of waste emitted to air and disposed of on land and water bodies. Given this situation, the federal government needs to take urgent action to halt and reverse the degradation of ecosystems and achieve a sustainable use of natural resources.
Information is key for this process. Identifying and documenting the pressures and threats on the environment, as well as its state and deterioration trends, is essential. Information aimed to assessing the effectiveness of programs and actions implemented both to reduce pressures and to improve the state of the environment should also be added. In this sense, indicators are one of the best and most widely used tools for society and decision makers to get an as detailed as possible vision of the state of the environment, the factors that threaten it and the effectiveness of public policies aimed at solving environmental issues.
The Mexico’s Core Set Indicators of Environmental Performance is part of the National System of Environmental Indicators (SNIA for tis acronym in Spanish); its primary objective is to provide information that describes the changing trends and current state of the country’s environment and natural resources, the pressures that threaten them and the institutional responses to address those issues. The Basic Indicators document, with the most updated information available, about 120 indicators encompassing the top-priority environmental issues on the national agenda: atmosphere (with indicators on air quality, climate change and stratospheric ozone), water, soil, waste (including both urban solid and hazardous waste) and forest and fishery resources, plus a number of special sections which, while not as directly relevant as the general issues, are also important because of the topics they cover. Each indicator is complemented with the statistical data supporting it and the respective technical sheet or metadata. Furthermore, nearly 450 additional variables have been included in tables, graphs or maps, enabling the readers to gain a better understanding of the issues and better interpreting the indicators.
In addition to the indicator sheets, each subject includes a brief introduction describing the importance of the subject and its overall issues, a couple of sections that include the rationale of the indicator and the literature references. Indicators for each theme are organized according to the PSR (Pressure-State-Response) framework, through which you can quickly access the sheets of each indicator.
Also included are the conceptual basis and background that explain the selection and organization of the sets of environmental indicators. Although any reader can find this section useful and interesting, it is actually conceived as a support for those involved in developing this type of indicators in state and municipal governments and other agencies, which in recent years have started to work on developing their own sets of indicators.