The Business Case for Community Engagement: Getting Prior Consultation Right in Mexico

The Business Case for Community Engagement: Getting Prior Consultation Right in Mexico

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Tenayuca 200, Sta Cruz Atoyac, Mexico City



Prior and free consultation

Mexico’s energy reforms have opened important opportunities for a wide range of energy companies and across industry segments. But mastering engineering, operational and other technical risks will not be enough to guarantee  successful and sustainable project development. Perhaps now more than ever before, knowledge and management of community related risks will matter.

For the first time in Mexico, laws associated with the energy reform recognized the right of indigenous communities to be consulted when affected by energy projects. However, the results associated with implementing consultas remains problematic. Since it came into effect in 2014, SENER has initiated 14 projects seeking consulta previas. Only nine secured consent, one was rejected, while the other five remain highly contested.

Community Engagement Consultation

Among other challenges, there seems to be confusion surrounding the implementation and the consulta process as the law does not provide  sufficient guidance to the different stakeholders as to their role vis-à-vis the consultation mechanism. Further complicating matters is the lack of experience of all the stakeholders involved, from regulators to companies, civic organizations and, most importantly, communities that could be affected by energy projects.

The overarching message of this event is one of collaboration and engagement; all parties (regulators, industry, NGOs and community representatives) working together to find a way forward for sustainable energy development and production in Mexico.



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