Tens of thousands of delegates from state parties began working Monday Dec. 2 in the Spanish capital to pave the way to comply with the Paris Agreement on climate change, while at a parallel summit, representatives of civil society demanded that the international community go further.
The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) is in the process of modernising the social and environmental safeguards that govern the financing of projects considered vital for the construction of sustainable infrastructure in the Latin American region.
The sun's rays are also used to cook food and thus replace the burning of firewood and gas, improve the health of local residents and fuel the energy transition towards the use of renewable sources - the objectives of an enterprise in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca.
Reyna Díaz cooks beans, chicken, pork and desserts in her solar cooker, which she sets up in the open courtyard of her home in a poor neighborhood on the outskirts of this town in southwestern Mexico.
"They mislead the workers, tell them that they will be paid well and pay them much less. The recruiters and the employers deceive them," complained Marilyn Gómez, a migrant farm worker in Mexico.
Minerva Montes lost her home on Holbox Island in 2005 when Hurricane Wilma hit the Yucatan Peninsula in southeastern Mexico. Rebuilding her home was quicker and easier than overcoming the psychological aftermath of the catastrophe.
"We're in a very difficult situation. There is militarisation at a regional level, and gender-based violence. We are at risk, we cannot silence that," Aura Lolita Chávez, an indigenous woman from Guatemala, complained at a meeting of human rights defenders from Latin America held in the Mexican capital.
Social organisations in the central Mexican municipality of Yecapixtla managed to halt the construction of a large thermoelectric plant in the town and are now designing a project to convert the installation into a solar panel factory, which would bring the area socioeconomic and environmental dividends.
"I couldn't plant my cornfield in May, because it rained too early. I lost everything," lamented Marcos Canté, an indigenous farmer, as he recounted the ravages that climate change is wreaking on this municipality on Mexico's Caribbean coast.
"I dream of a healthy, sustainable, well-managed forest," says Rogelio Ruiz, a silviculturist from southern Mexico, who insists that "we have to clean it up, take advantage of the wood, and reforest.”
"If thousands of people flock to this town, how will we be able to service them? I'm afraid of that growth," Zendy Euán, spokeswoman for a community organisation,said in reference to the Mayan Train (TM) project, a railway network that will run through five states in southern Mexico.
"Setback" and "disillusionment" were the terms used by Yolanda Morán, a mother whose son was the victim of forced disappearance, to describe the security plan outlined by Mexican president-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who takes office on Dec. 1.
Following the fanfare of the countries' leaders and the relief of the export and investment sectors, experts are analysing the renewed trilateral agreement with Canada and the United States, where Mexico made concessions in sectors such as e-commerce, biotechnology, automotive and agriculture.
Manuel Villegas is one of the peasant farmers who decided to start planting amaranth in Mexico, to complement their corn and bean crops and thus expand production for sale and self-consumption and, ultimately, contribute to improving the nutrition of their communities.
Achuar indigenous communities in Ecuador are turning to the sun to generate electricity for their homes and transport themselves in canoes with solar panels along the rivers of their territory in the Amazon rainforest, just one illustration of how indigenous people are seeking clean energies as a partner for sustainable development.
Fishermen are scarce in the Klamath River delta, unlike other fishing season, because climate change has driven up water temperatures which kills off the salmon, the flagship species of this region in northern California.
One of the fears of the people of the Sierra Huasteca mountains in the state of San Luis Potosi in northeast Mexico is the construction of combined cycle power plants, which would threaten the availability of water.
Twenty-five years ago, Mexican engineer Gustavo Rodriguez decided to collect rainwater to solve the scarcity of water in his home and contribute to the care of natural resources.
Agronomist Irene Salvador decided to learn the process of making corn tortillas in order to preserve and promote this traditional staple food in the Mexican diet, which has lost its presence and nutritional quality.
“It made me angry that a company from outside the region was making money from renewable energy and I wondered why people weren't getting involved," says Petra Gruner-Bauer, president of the German co-operative SolixEnergie.
Latin America is facing challenges in energy efficiency, transportation and power generation to move towards a low carbon economy and thus accelerate that transition, which is essential to cut emissions in order to reduce global warming before it reaches a critical level.