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Focus on Latin America

October 2011

Flamingoes, plastics, mangrove forests, auto parts

PhotoHelping to preserve Mexico's mangrove forests

Promoting industrial plastics, auto parts and electronics. Helping to preserve internationally renowned wetlands. Strengthening so-called ‘triangular’ cooperation in developing countries.

Mexico, an emerging industrial nation of more than 100 million people, and JICA have been cooperating in those and other fields as part of the agency's overall approach in Latin America.

The coastal wetlands of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula boasts dense mangrove forests and more than 600 animal species including the famed pink flamingoes. But as the country undergoes industrial expansion the region has come under increasing pressure from overfishing, tourism, environmental pollution and the construction of more and more roads, bridges and other infrastructure.

Since 2003 JICA has participated with local government and civic organization in a project aimed to restore and preserve the wetlands, rehabilitating the mangrove forests, disposing of waste and providing local environmental education.

Fishing groups have turned their attention from over exploiting fish stocks to becoming eco-tourism guides, having been instructed in English and the natural history of the wetlands.

In the industrial sector JICA is helping to strengthen the competitiveness of small and medium enterprises in the automobile, auto parts, electronics and plastic industries.

Mexico has become an important oil-producing country and a resultant plastics industry is expanding. However, the country must still import around half of its annual 4.6 million tons of plastic needs because of the lack of skilled workers.

A core group of instructors at the National Center for Actualization of Industrial Technical Education arte undergoing advanced training and they eventually will train other teachers.

For the first time a new course on plastic transformation technology will three technical high schools in Mexico City, Ciudad Victoria and Tijuana.

PhotoJapanese expertise helps Mexico's plastics industry

Many Japanese companies are located around Baja California which includes Tijuana and a 2004 Economic Partnership Agreement between Mexico and Japan aims to improve the business environment, particularly in the country's electrical and electronics industries.

A public-private partnership project has improved the curriculum of model schools and helped forged closer ties between the schools and industry.

In collaboration with the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) JICA also implemented a joint project to strengthen support industries in the auto parts and automobile industries and Japanese experts have already visited more than 400 companies.

In its overall development strategy JICA has emphasized the importance both of so-called south-south and triangular cooperation and in one such example, Japan, Mexico and Paraguay cooperated in a joint project to provide enhanced training for Paraguay seed breeders and improve overall seed quality.

The Paraguay Faculty of Agrarian Sciences of the National University of Asuncion is implementing the three-year project which began in 2009. Visiting experts from the Mexican National Research Institute for Forestry, Agriculture and Livestock are responsible for transferring the latest technical knowledge which JICA provides technical and financial support.

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