ELAW Partners in Mexico Slay “Dragon Mart” Mega-Development

ELAW partners at the Mexican Environmental Law Center (CEMDA) won a great victory when Mexico’s environmental protection agency (PROFEPA) canceled the massive Dragon Mart development near Cancún, and ordered developers to restore damaged ecosystems.

Last year, ELAW reported on CEMDA’s efforts to challenge the nearly 1,400 acre mega-mall. The Cancún Dragon Mart was designed to be one of the world’s largest shopping centers featuring Chinese products. However, Dragon Mart’s enormous size and location threatened critical habitats along Cancún’s coast. Initial work on the huge project destroyed hundreds of acres of wetlands, mangroves, and other protected lands. In 2012, CEMDA filed a case on behalf of local communities to suspend the Dragon Mart project for lack of public participation in the environmental impact assessment and planning process.

After years of battling in and out of court, CEMDA’s hard work paid off last month when PROFEPA cancelled the Dragon Mart project, and imposed nearly US $1.5 million in fines against project developers for violating Mexico’s biodiversity laws.

“Development projects are much needed in our country to boost growth and job creation, but the decision confirms what CEMDA has said throughout its 21 years of existence – development should be sustainable,” says ELAW Partner Alejandra Serrano, Director of CEMDA’s Southeast Office. “We depend on natural resources, and they must be preserved so that future generations can continue to enjoy the quality of life we have today.”

Congratulations to CEMDA on this great victory for Cancún communities and the environment!

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Ashley White
Director of Philanthropy and China Program
Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide