Articles 157 y 159 of the Mexican Ley General del Equilibrio Ecológico y la Protección al Ambiente (Environmental Framework Law) establish that the national government must promote public participation in the planning, implementation, evaluation and monitoring of environmental and natural resource policy. The Secretaría de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (SEMARNAT) created the Indice de Participacion Ciudadana del Sector Ambiental (IPC) in 2009 as a tool to measure and evaluate citizen participation in the various instruments and institutions relating to environmental decision-making.
The IPC evaluates participation based on four main categories: public participation; transparency; inclusion and equality; and citizen complaints. Each of these four categories is further subdivided into sub-categories. For example, with respect to the first category of public participation, the IPC sets out four sub-categories: consultation bodies; public consultation meetings; environmental education activities; and environmental awareness raising activities. In addition, each of these sub-categories is defined and has indicators associated with it. For example, the IPC defines consultation bodies as advisory boards, technical committees and other working groups under SEMARNAT or its subsidiary bodies where civil society can review and make recommendations on plans, programs, projects, laws and other instruments relating to environmental decision-making. The indicators under this sub-category include: citizen representation in SEMARNAT’s consultation bodies; the number of public consultation meetings held; recommendations issued by consultative bodies; and budgetary expenditures for meetings, such as for citizen transportation, food and lodging. The 2013 Report included a total of 4 categories, 10 sub-indexes and 39 indicators.
SEMARNAT published the first IPC in 2010, and subsequent IPCs use 2010 as the baseline year to evaluate whether public participation is improving or retrogressing. For example, the 2013 IPC noted an overall score of 1.5 on the Index, an improvement from 1.0 in 2010.
The annual IPC reports can be found on SEMARNAT’s website: http://www.semarnat.gob.mx/transparencia/participacion-ciudadana/indice-de-participacion-ciudadana-del-sector-ambiental.