Página en Español

TEEBAgriFood Mexico_banner

TEEB for Agriculture and Food

A global TEEB for Agriculture and Food (TEEBAgriFood) initiative has been launched in 2016 by the UNEP TEEB Office. Modeled on the original TEEB, it brings together economists, business leaders, agriculturalists, and experts in biodiversity and ecosystems to provide comprehensive assessments of the ‘eco-agri-food systems’ complex.

TEEBAgriFood demonstrates that the entire agricultural value chain –production, processing, distribution, consumption and waste– not only has impacts on the way we live and produce, but also directly depends on the state of the environment, socio-economic well-being, and human health. A mayor focus of the study will be on the production stage of the value chain, highlighting some of the significant (yet hidden) flows between ‘agriculture and food systems’, ‘human (economic and social) systems’ and ‘biodiversity and ecosystems’.


TEEBAgriFood in Mexico

Mainstreaming Biodiversity into Agriculture in Mexico


1. Mainstream socio-economic, ecological and cultural value of biodiversity and ecosystem services into decision-making and planning instruments of key public and private actors, with focus on the agricultural sector.

2. Provide economic arguments for maintaining biodiversity and ecosystem services through sustainability-oriented agricultural practices and policy-making and help strengthen the negotiating capacity of environmental actors for intersectoral negotiation processes.


SAGARPA (the Mexican Agricultural Ministry) in partnerships with SEMARNAT (the Mexican Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources) will implement this project together with GIZUN Environment, FAO the private sector, Think Tanks and Academia.

Time frame

December 2016 > November 2020


The International Climate Initiative (IKI) of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB) supports the project with € 5.000.000.


As a mega diverse country hosting 10-12% of the world´s biodiversity, Mexico increasingly recognises the value of biodiversity for its economic development, e.g. by implementing various conservation instruments to protect its biodiversity: 3,000 ha of its land are under Payment for Environmental Services schemes and Mexico has declared 181 Federal Protected Areas. However, political will and biodiversity evidence are not yet sufficiently reflected in cross-sectorial planning and investment processes, with the cost for depletion and degradation of natural resources estimated to amount to 5.7% of GDP [1].

The agricultural sector is an important sector in Mexico, employing 13% of the economically active population[2]. It is highly dependent on ecosystem services, such as the regulation of the hydrological cycle, soil fertility, erosion control, climate control and pollination. However, the value of these ecosystem services to the sector, and the environmental costs arising from the current development model, are insufficiently recorded and hardly or not considered in the development programs or agricultural models. As a result, the agricultural sector is the second largest destructor of the Mexican environment: in the last 20 years, Mexico lost 35% of its forests and jungles[3], with 81% of this loss being caused by agriculture. Furthermore, the primary sector accounts for 77% of the water used in Mexico, while 20% of Mexico´s aquifers present conditions of overexploitation [4]. Moreover, the excessive use of agrochemicals in the agricultural sector causes an enormous cost, the magnitude of which is often ignored. At the same time, the contribution of agriculture to GDP has been declining for two decades, accounting for only 3.4% of the GDP in 2015 and showing one of the lowest productivity rates in Latin America [5].  At the same time, perverse subsidy policies (e.g., on water) cause disincentives for environmental conservation and strengthen production in an unsustainable manner, significantly contributing to the degradation of ecosystems, the loss of biodiversity and soil degradation (45% of Mexico´s land is severely or very severely degraded [6]).


Description of the Project

Given these mentioned challenges, the project “Mainstreaming Biodiversity into Agriculture in Mexico” seeks the integration of the value of biodiversity and ecosystem services into decision-making and planning instruments of public and private key actors in the Mexican agricultural sector. In partnership with SAGARPA (the Mexican Agricultural Ministry) and SEMARNAT (the Mexican Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources), as well as public and private actors, research institutes and civil society, GIZ, FAO and UN Environment will implement instruments for the protection of biodiversity and the promotion of sustainable land use practices.

A comprehensive analysis of the Mexican agriculture sector, its policies, programmes, as well as actors, will be the base line for a The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity Agriculture and Food for Mexico Study (TEEB AgriFood for Mexico Study), embedded in the TEEB Mexico Initiative. The study will provide an economic valuation of the ecosystem services important for the primary sector and showcase how they are affected by unsustainable agricultural practices. The study will develop policy recommendations for the integration of the value of biodiversity and ecosystem services into decision making and agricultural practices in Mexico and GIZ, the UN and the Mexican Ministries will then integrate these recommendations into selected agricultural production systems und value chains through pilot projects.

Lessons learned, collected from analyses, capacity-building, interaction with different actors, and the application of positive incentives schemes for the promotion of sustainable land use practices, will be embedded into public policies. At the same time, the project will promote inter-sectoral dialogue and generate concrete examples for the integration of biodiversity into agriculture. These examples, as well as recommendations and results, will feed into the international debate and support international and national targets (CBD COP13 results and mainstreaming targets, the Paris Agreement (by contributing to mitigation and adaptation), NDCs, SDGs 2, 11, 12, 13, 15 and 17 and Aichi Targets 2, 3 and 7).


Multiplier effect

Existing experiences and new insights on how to integrate biodiversity into the agricultural sector will be revised, systematized and made available to the public and private sectors, producers and other actors. Through capacity building and awareness-raising directed to producers, consumers, and decision makers, this project will foster behavioural changes, which will secure the conservation of biodiversity in the long term. Furthermore, the integration of the importance of biodiversity and ecosystem services into policies and strategies related to the agricultural sector will promote sustainable agriculture and biodiversity conservation at the local, federal and national level. Recommendations and results will feed into the international debate and support international and national targets. This project is highly innovative as it will design the pilot projects in the field based on an extensive TEEB analysis – thus not only “putting TEEB into action”, but also designing program interventions based on an extensive scientific economic valuation analysis.


Project Components

1. Provide recommendations for action and knowledge management on integrating biodiversity into agriculture

– TEEBAgriFood for Mexico Study: Provide specific recommendations for integrating ecosystem services and values of biodiversity into planning and policy instruments in Agriculture.

2. Promote policy dialogues

– Develop guidance on cross-sectoral integration of biodiversity.

3. Build capacities

– Enable that relevant planning and policy instruments take into account ecosystem services.

4. Provide incentive mechanisms for the protection of ecosystem services

– Integrate ecosystem services in selected agricultural value chains via pilot projects.

5. Foster communication of project outcomes and the importance of ecosystem services

– Communicate the importance of ecosystem services through website, international conferences, national, regional and international meetings and the UN network.


First steps


The Project was launched at the TEEBAgriFood Side event “TEEBAgriFood: A comprehensive framework to assess the eco-agri-food systems complex” at the CBD COP13 on 6 December 2016







[1] Out of the 5.7%, the cost of environmental degradation caused by the agricultural sector represents 24% (INEGI 2015).
[2] I.e., 6.5 million people (INEGI, 2015; World Bank).
[3] INEGI 2014.
[4] 126 of Mexico´s 653 aquifers (i.e., 20%) present conditions of overexploitation (INEGI 2012).
[5] INEGI.