June 5, 2009

Billionaire Helps Fund Mexican Environment Project

On Thursday, one of the world's wealthiest men, Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim, launched a joint $100 million project with the Mexican government and the World Wildlife Fund to protect Mexico's environment.

"I believe that looking after the environment will be one of the big generators of jobs in the future," Slim told the AFP while on a beach on Mexico's Caribbean island of Cozumel.

"Whether there's a crisis or not, the cost of looking after the environment and reducing risks is more advisable than not doing anything," Slim said.

The joint effort aims to encourage sustainable development in Mexico, one of the world's most biodiverse nations.

Six priority regions of Mexico, representing 30 percent of the nation, are involved in the project and will receive funding from the private and public sectors, said Mexican Environment Secretary Juan Rafael Elvira Quesada.

"It's more important beyond the money. It's the fact that the private sector, civil society and the government are working together," said Carter S. Roberts, CEO of the World Wildlife Fund.

"In the developing world it's a very new model," he added.

The Mexican regions selected for the project are the Gulf of California, the Chihuahuan desert, the Mesoamerican Reef, Oaxaca, the Monarch Butterfly Region and Chiapas, including the Lacandona Forests and El Triunfo reserve.

According to Forbes Magazine, Carlos Slim is worth nearly $60 billion.


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