ISBN Number: 9789264011687
OECD Rural Policy Reviews: Mexico
OECD countries have been undergoing a paradigm shift in their approaches to accommodate a number of new challenges that rural regions face in the context of globalisation. In 2006 the OECD published a thematic report The New Rural Paradigm: Policies and Governance , which seeks to explain the shift in rural development policies to account for these important economic changes and the new approach to governance that these policy approaches require. In order to deepen into such analysis and understand the different country-specific context and policy responses, a series of national rural policy reviews has been launched. This report constitutes together with the Germany Rural Policy Review the first two of this series.
The case of Mexico is particularly relevant for two reasons. First, the challenges and potential of Mexico’s rural areas are significant in comparison to other OECD countries. Mexico's countryside is home to a large population (more than the overall population of many OECD countries), highly dispersed and the majority of whom live in poverty conditions. However, their vast (and young) human resources, their natural, cultural and physical assets could provide, through a more diversified economy, a greater contribution to national development. Secondly, Mexico has been one of the most important laboratories of rural policy innovations in the past few decades, passing a new law in regional development, aggregating a rural "budget", identifying with specific indicators the most lagging rural region and coordinating federal strategies to support them, among other initiatives.
These elements make of the Rural Policy Review of Mexico a valuable document for policy makers, academics and the private sector not only in Mexico but in many OECD and non-OECD countries. The reader will find together with country-specific tables, boxes, maps and graphics, some standard figures comparable within the rural policy reviews series as well as relevant international comparisons.
The document is divided into three chapters. The first one provides a diagnostic of the situation of rural areas, the second an analysis of the rural policy in the country, and the third stresses critical issues and priorities of action for improving rural policy. French and Spanish translations of the Assessment and Recommendations are included in this volume.
The first chapter provides a comprehensive overview of the socio-economic dynamics characterising rural areas in Mexico and to identify the resulting policy challenges. Rural regions account for more than 80% of the land in Mexico and are home to up to 37 million people (36% of the Mexican population). That makes Mexico the country with the largest population living in predominantly rural areas in the OECD. Despite their importance in terms of territory and population, rural regions constitute a small share of the economy and their population has standards of living much lower than urban regions. In any case, the diagnosis of this chapter shows also that the challenges and potential of rural areas are spatially differentiated and therefore require a place-based policy approach. Some regions need to strenghtnen their agricultural potential, particularly strong in fruits and vegetables, while others must develop their tourism potential by cultivating their rich cultural and natural resources, and others are already becoming important manufacturing centres.
The chapter is structured as follows. Section 1.1 defines rural territories as the basic unit of analysis of the review. Section 1.2 analyses rural regions through different lens in order to have a comprehensive understanding of the demographic, social, economic and environmental dynamics within. Section 1.3 concludes enumerating the most significant policy challenges of rural Mexico from a territorial perspective, recognising the heterogeneity present within rural areas
This chapter analyses Mexico's rural policy and highligths significant accomplishments of the Mexican government in framing a multi-sector rural policy such as the creation of co-ordination mechanisms between the different ministries involved in rural policy at the federal, state and municipal levels, and the legal requirement of having a concerted rural development plan and the identification of a “rural budget”, integrating the programs of the different ministries oriented to rural areas. It also studies in detail two specific rural development programmes undertaken by two different ministries: the Rural Development Program of the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Alimentation (SAGARPA) and the Micro-regions Strategy lead by the Ministry of Social Development (SEDESOL).
The chapter is divided as follows: Section 2.1 describes the evolution of Mexico’s approach to rural policy. Section 2.2 describes the institutional framework for rural policy defined by law. Section 2.3 describes the existing policies influencing rural development by analysing the budget and programs associated with the entities involved in rural affairs. Finally, Section 2.4 analyses in detail the two mentioned policies for rural development.
While Mexico has taken action to strengthen its rural policy, there are several critical issues that deserve attention in order for its novel framework to consolidate. This chapter addresses them and provides a set of priorities for action. The first issues are related to the governance framework in rural policy. A second set of critical issues is related to the federal policies impacting in rural areas and the way they respond to the challenges and opportunities of rural areas identified in Chapter 1. A last part points the most relevant trends and results from external evaluations of the two policies explicitly targeting rural development, namely the Program of Rural Development of SAGARPA and SEDESOL’s Micro-regions strategy, and highlights aspects that can improve the effectiveness and efficiency of such programmes.
The chapter suggests that governance of rural policy could be significantly enhanced by providing the Inter-Ministerial Commission for Sustainable Rural Development (CIDRS) with stronger non-sectoral leadership, providing the "rural budget" (PEC) with clear and transparent criteria of inclusion and mechanisms for monitoring and evaluation, and by strengthening the process of decentralisation. From a policy standpoint, priorities for Mexico’s rural policy include: (1) poverty alleviation; (2) provision of basic public services; (3) strengthening and diversifying the rural economy; and finally, (4) better exploiting and preserving untapped cultural, natural and energy resources. Since these policy priorities extend the scope of any individual ministry the coordination of actions is necessary to pursue them efficiently.
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