Interview with Hilda Martinez-Salgado

IPMS 2001
Sub-director, National Institute of Ecology (INE), Ministry of Environment
Mexico


(This interview was conducted in 2002.  Ms. Hilda Martínez-Salgado is currently Manager of Climate Change & Air Quality at the Center for Sustainable Transport in Mexico (CTS-Mexico)).

Current Activities
Hilda currently serves as Sub-director of Mexico’s National Institute of Ecology (INE), where she has been for the past five years.  Her first three years at INE were spent linking domestic Pollutant Release and Transfer Register (PRTR) initiatives with the work of international agencies like the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) and the Organisation for Economic Co-ordination and Development (OECD).  Much of her work on the PRTR initiatives required frequent coordination with a variety of Mexican industries and non-governmental organizations.
Currently, Hilda manages the collaborative research programs on air quality in Mexico City with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard University.  She also serves as INE’s representative to the Environmental Commission for the local and state governments of Mexico City.  The aim of the Commission is to provide for an equitable allocation of environmental projects that can benefit both the capitol city and the surrounding state.

Most Important IPMS Lessons
When asked about what she found most useful about the International Programme on the Management of Sustainability (IPMS), Hilda immediately responded, “I found out that I knew things that I didn’t know that I knew.”  She proceeded to explain that her IPMS training had given her an opportunity to achieve a clearer and more expressly articulated understanding of the importance of the consensus building necessities that she had already sensed were essential to her work at INE.   Hilda indicated that the framework for managing a consensus building process provided to her by IPMS has proven to be very useful in building upon her initial experiences in Pollutant Release and Transfer Register efforts among industrial and non-governmental stakeholders.

Applying IPMS Lessons
The area of her work where Hilda has sought to apply IPMS principles and skills most is the Environmental Commission. The Commission faces serious challenges with respect to achieving consensus among the city and state governments of Mexico’s capitol. Hilda explained that the federal government is often required to play the role of referee in resolving the conflicts that emerge around the allocation of environmental projects between these two levels. She claims that while she does make efforts to apply her IPMS training to “real world” issues in this way, the more complicated situations with which she is usually presented on the Commission make the task a challenging one.

Suggestions for Improving IPMS
Hilda believes that IPMS offers excellent training and that the Sustainability Challenge Foundation (SCF) should do more to promote the Program, particularly through the Internet. She welcomes the idea of a separate IPMS website in addition to the SCF website to make IPMS related information easily available to potential participants.  Hilda indicates that one of the specific benefits of improving IPMS promotion through the Internet is the establishment of a network from which past IPMS participants may draw support for their current sustainable development efforts.  She feels that a web-based directory of this kind would be more effective in fostering such a network than distributing hard copy materials.

Suggestions for Other SCF Activities
Hilda recommends that SCF develop a regional program based in Latin America.  She suggests that SCF target the second-in-command officials in their respective ministries or departments (i.e., undersecretaries, etc.) as potential participants and explain to them the subject matter and approach of the program.  At the same time, she feels that the range of potential participants should be broad as well.  Hilda also recommends that SCF develop case studies specific to the Latin American contexts in which such officials are accustomed to performing their work.

 

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