Mexico and the U.S. share a 2,000 mile border, are economically interdependent, and confront shared security challenges directly impacting both countries’ citizens. These strong and enduring linkages make Mexico a unique USAID partner.
Mexico has a $1.3 trillion economy with a GDP per capita of $10,118. Regional and socioeconomic disparities are vast; one northern state’s per capita GDP is on par with South Korea and southern Mexico’s is akin to Guatemala. Forty-one percent of Mexico’s 126 million population lives below the poverty line and 57 percent of the workforce is in the informal sector. Over $1.8 billion in goods and services and 520,000 Mexicans cross the U.S.-México border legally each day.
Mexico is highly biodiverse. Although its territory represents only one percent of the earth's surface, it hosts more than ten percent of the world's biological diversity. Over the past three years, however, Mexico lost an average of nearly 300,000 hectares of natural forest. The principal driver for this loss was land use change for agriculture and livestock production. However, illegal logging also plays an important role.
The core goal of USAID is to deepen and strengthen the strategic partnership between the U.S. and Mexico. By working with governments, civil society, and the private sector to reduce impunity and corruption, narrow the enabling environment for criminality, and expand sustainable mechanisms for trade and prosperity, USAID will help Mexico address challenges to maximize our bilateral partnership. During this CDCS period (2020-2025), the Mission will continue its transition from a supply-driven, direct service delivery approach to a demand driven, facilitative one. In line with USAID’s Acquisition and Assistance (A&A) Strategy, USAID will focus on enhancing the organizational and technical capacity of the government, private sector, and civil society to unlock their intellectual capital in co-creating, co-financing, and, in some cases, directly implementing activities.
Under Development Objective (DO) 1, USAID will focus on reducing the impunity that is an enabler of crime, violence, human rights abuses, and corruption. This DO represents a consolidation and targeting of past efforts in justice, human rights, crime and violence, and parts of the Mission’s transparency and integrity initiatives. This approach integrates natural resource management programming where it intersects with enforcement (justice), protection of environmental activists (human rights), and accountability (NGO advocacy).
Under DO2 (Expanded bilateral economic ties through improved competitive business climate), USAID will focus on improving the competitive business environment by capitalizing on the projected growth of sustainable value chains and the initiative of the Mexican private sector to self-regulate in terms of transparency and integrity practices. USAID is integrating part of its environment programming with business integrity practices, and reducing the number of focus states for environment programs from 14 to 10 states to yield impact at scale.
USAID supports local actors -government, civil society, the private sector and academia- to test, implement and scale alternative justice models, such as civic justice to address community-level conflict and violence, and slowly rebuild social capital among community members and confidence in government institutions. USAID programming also curbs the escalation of criminal behavior by the primary perpetrators through systematic identification of high-risk youth and provision of tailored services. USAID supports the adoption of evidence-based prevention approaches, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, by the Government of Mexico and local stakeholders to promote social reintegration of youth and reduce the recruiting base for criminal organizations.
In 2008, the Government of Mexico approved a constitutional reform mandating the nation-wide adoption of a new oral adversarial criminal justice system, to improve the transparency, effectiveness, and efficiency of criminal justice proceedings while protecting due process, promoting assistance to crime victims, and strengthening human rights. Under the Merida Initiative, a strategy for regional security cooperation between Mexico and the United States, USAID’s current rule of law assistance supports local governments in Mexico, civil society, and other institutions to consolidate the transition to the new oral adversarial criminal justice system.
USAID advances the protection of human rights and the prevention of abuses by providing technical assistance to the Mexican Government and strengthening civil society efforts on human rights protection, public outreach, and awareness-raising of human rights violations. USAID promotes the incorporation of human rights-based approaches into federal and state-level policies and facilitates dialogue and engagement on human rights issues with the Government of Mexico, civil society, and victims groups.
Preventing corruption is one of the most important policy priorities for Mexico and a critical aspect of the bilateral relationship between Mexico and the United States. USAID supports Mexican-led efforts to reduce corruption and impunity at the federal and state levels, and works alongside Mexican public, private, and non-governmental stakeholders and through international organizations to assist the GOM in the prevention, investigation and sanction of corruption.
USAID’s initiatives address objectives: 1) Increased participation in green value chains, 2) Improved management of community forest-related businesses, and 3) Community, private, and public lands sustainably managed. In addition, the program focuses on strengthening policies and institutional capacities, and creating sustainable financial mechanisms for emissions mitigation in the energy, forestry, and agricultural sectors.
Karla Toledo - USAID/Mexico