On November 30, 2020, The Official Gazette of the Federation published the Federal Expenditures Budget for the Fiscal Year 2021 (PEF 2021), which reflected that the total net expenditure of the public sector will be 6.257 trillion pesos, representing 25% of the GDP estimated by the SHCP for 2021, but with a reduction of 0.3% compared to that approved in 2020 in real terms.

According to the PEF 2021, there is an increase of 1.5% in real terms of the budget of the environmental sector with respect to 2020, which is concentrated in the increase in the budget for the programs carried out by the National Water Commission (CONAGUA), which will obtain 79.5% of the total budget of said sector and will have an allocation of more than 4.8% in real terms with respect to the budget allocated for 2020. CONAGUA resources will be destined mainly to the budgetary programs “Comprehensive and Sustainable Water Management” and “Drinking Water Infrastructure, Sewerage and Sanitation”.

Graph 1: Amounts of the Environment Branch, PEF 2019 PEF 2020 PEF 2021. Own elaboration with data from PEF -2019 PEF-2020 and PEF-2021, SHCP.

With an assigned budget of 1,780 million pesos, SEMARNAT will see a real reduction in its resources: 10% compared to the amount assigned for 2020. Internally at SEMARNAT, the General Directorate of Wildlife, the General Directorate of Informatics and Telecommunications and The General Directorate for Climate Change Policies will receive cuts from their approved allocations in the PEF 2020 of -75%, -28% and -10%, respectively.

The entities supported by CONAFOR, IMTA and INECC will see a reduction in real terms of their budget compared to 2020, of -11.7%, -5.1% and -8.9%, respectively. Similarly, the decentralised bodies CONANP, PROFEPA and ASEA will see reductions in their budget for 2021 of -3.7%, -9.5% and -8.6%, respectively.

Graph 2: Budget of Institutions of the Environment Sector PEF 2019 PEF 2020 PEF 2021. Own elaboration with data from PEF -2019 PEF-2020 and PEF-2021, SHCP.

The resources assigned for activities and programs associated with the mitigation and adaptation of climate change for fiscal year 2021 amount to 70,274 million pesos, an additional 21.6% compared to that assigned for 2020. In itself, attention to climate change in the PEF 2021 represents 1.1% of the total budget, where 75.3% will be allocated to the “Natural Gas Transportation Service” program, executed by the CFE.

PEMEX, CFE, CONACYT and the Salary and Economic Provisions branch, represented 98% by FONDEN, will have real increases in resources destined to combat climate change compared to 2020. However, the program “Research on Climate Change, Sustainability and Green Growth,” executed by INECC, will receive a 10% cut in real terms compared to last year. Likewise, the allocation of amounts to the budget program for environmental trusts in the budget for fiscal year 2021 are still being awaited; in the PEF 2021 it is stated that trusts will continue to appear in public spending, but its publication is still pending.

Graph 3: Resources for Cross-Sectional Annex: Climate Change PEF 2019 PEF 2020 PEF 2021. Own elaboration with data from PEF -2019 PEF-2020 and PEF-2021, SHCP.

2021 will be a year full of challenges for Mexico’s environmental and climate agenda, where cooperation between the public sector, international organizations and the private sector will be crucial to face these challenges in a post-Covid-19 context.