Biocultural Heritage

Promoting resilient farming systems and local economies

IIED logo

Biocultural Heritage is entrenched in Mexican law

08 Dec 2020

On 2nd of December, the Mexican Parliament voted unanimously to include the protection of biocultural heritage and promotion of agroecology in Mexico’s Law on Ecological Equilibrium and Environmental Protection.

Mexico has 10% of the world’s biodiversity and 364 living languages. It has identified 22 ‘biocultural regions’ which are Indigenous Territories with high biodiversity levels, such as centres of domestication of species and landscapes.

The legal amendment aims to urgently conserve the biocultural heritage (BCH) of Mexico, since BCH is the legacy of Indigenous Peoples’ evolutionary relationship with nature over thousands of years. It defines BCH as being comprised of the environment, culture and the territory in a reciprocal relationship that fosters landscapes in balance, characterised by heterogeneity, diversity, connectivity, stability and resilience. It recognises that BCH faces diverse threats, from biopiracy to mega-projects. And that traditional knowledge is being eroded daily in the face of a development model that excludes Indigenous and traditional communities, not only in Mexico, but worldwide.

The amendment aims to safeguard and raise awareness of biocultural heritage in order to conserve biodiversity through the associated traditional knowledge and practices of Indigenous Peoples, for the benefit of society. It mandates competent authorities to include biocultural heritage and traditional knowledge in ecological research, communication and education. It also aims to promote agroecological practices that support the restoration and conservation of agroecosystems and contribute to their productivity and resilience.

You can read the full text of legal amendment (in Spanish) on the Gaceta Parlamentaria website.