Perla Tun Pech, Mayor of Cozumel, Mexico, since 2016
WORLD MAYOR 2018
Dedicated to women mayors
The 2018 World Mayor Prize and Commendations will be conferred on women mayors who have made outstanding and long-lasting contributions to their communities. The organisers wish to show what outstanding women mayors achieve all over the world. By doing so, they hope to encourage more women to contemplate a career in local government and run for political office. The women, who will be awarded the 2018 World Mayor Prize and other honours, will be role models for young women and, indeed, men everywhere. Qualities sought ||| Perla Tun Pech, Mayor of San Miguel de Cozumel, Mexico ||| Perla Tun Pech FAILED to be re-elected on 1 July 2018 and is thus no longer eligible for World Mayor 2018 |||
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Perla Tun Pech
Mayor of Cozumel (Mexico)
Nominated by German M., Cozumel:
Mayor Tun Pech is an honest an hard working woman who is dedicated to serve and help Cozumel. She is the person Cozumel needs. She is the first mayor in Cozumel who only thinks of Cozumel and not of herself or her own interest. She is transforming the island into a Smart island which is excellent and necessary for the 21st century.
Nominated by DUJ, Cozumel:
Cozumel Mayor Perla Tun Pech is one of the few honest and transparent people in Mexican politics. She has always worked for the benefit of Cozumel and its people. She is a strong and confident woman, making her an excellent leader to her team and the people of Cozumel. She is aware that an informed community builds stronger regions and nations prepared to withstand and recover from any environmental or economic downturn.
An informed community demands solid policies and governments ready to answer, support and serve the community. I witness her and her team's hard labor to actually empower the people, listen to them, and act responsibly by finding the best sustainable solution.
The challenge is no longer just about the environment, but also about people and society.
Challenges for Cozumel:
The local island governments need to be seen and considered; we need the state, the nation and world policies to act from the specific to the general, thus I'm are confident Perla will be able to attain the worldwide objectives the administration yearn for. The system itself is a challenge. Add sexism, classism, politics, climate change, massive tourism, social deterioration, government abandonment, limited resources, and economic interests to the equation, and to accomplish anything, seems impossible.
This is what her administration has accomplished locally:
The State Planning Law was modified to include a State and a local Insular Council for the planning of islands; the only one in the country
Public finances that involve public resources are within the reach of citizen scrutiny in the transparency portal of the town hall
Strengthen public finances, as well as the public security institution‚s autonomy
A Safe Community certification (2018)
The implementation of actions towards the strengthening of the community by preventing antisocial conducts through the stimuli of sport, culture, health, education and art.
Public hearings: to approach neighbourhoods and listen to their needs and to inform them about municipal programs
Municipal Council meetings: held in public spaces and transmitted live on social media (Facebook), to gain the interest of different sectors of the community
Public works: during 2017, 5.3 million dollars were directly invested in lagging neighborhoods
Street lighting: 80% of the light poles will be changed, resulting in a 30% reduction on energy consumption.
One-stop window: the solution in compliance to the regulatory improvement policy
Park restoration: to solve social problems requires a holistic view, considering basic aspects such as culture, sport, education and recreation
Urban Resiliency Profile: it begins with the diagnostic of the current situation considering the insularity. The resilience strategy design will be within the Sendai Framework for Disaster Reduction, the Sustainable Design Solutions objectives, and the Paris Agreement, as well as the related National, State and municipal programs.
Now, "think global, act local" is one of her administration‚s premises. They know that what we do in our island impacts other places of the planet and, therefore, they have forged regional and global alliances to face in the best possible way the challenges posed by climate change and globalization. Some of the actions are:
The participation in the COP13 were Cozumel presented their proposals at the Ocean Conference, SDG 14.
To have been part of the COP23, where the Front Line Cities & Islands initiative was launched.
The "Cruises to Sustainability" program, with support from GIZ, Royal Caribbean International and WWF
Alliances with GLISPA, ICLEI, GIZ.
Cozumel was invited to "Do Smart Santiago" to present its work, share and learn experiences with 'Smart' practices of other island-cities in Chile.
In 2017, it was also invited by the Joint Public Advisory Committee of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation, to give a conference at the public forum on „Increasing Resilience through Cooperation: Empowering Coastal, Shoreline, and Riverbank Communities in North America‰ in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada
The Mayor and her team have accomplished so much in such short time. They have generated an impact in pretty much every aspect of the island, a good impact for a change. Her actions go beyond a traditional political career, she aims for the greater good and acts for the best of Cozumel, its people, the country and the world.
Nominated by Maria B. W., Cozumel:
Mayor Tun Pech is a amazing and strong woman with integrity and courage.
Challenges for Cozumel: The problems caused by the incompetence and dishonesty of previous administrations.
Nominated by Damien M. U., Cozumel:
Perla Tun Tech is the first female mayor in the story of the municipality. She has proved to work with transparency and impeccable ethics. She defends her origins (her father was a fisherman) and empowers the people by informing and consulting them about the decision making. She has executed profound acts towards the improvement of the island's ecosystem, people, infrastructure and government. She ferociously fights to achieve municipal autonomy (currently, most of the funding comes from the state, which decides where, how and with whom you are going to use it). One of her most ambitious programs is 'Smart Island' (a twist from Smart City), for which she has been recognized last April in the Smart Island World Congress. She works by the motto "think local, act global", adopting sustainability, resiliency, transparency, and safety as her administration's main axis. She believes in a globalized world, therefore, she has joined forces with GLISPA, GIZ, ICLEI, and the administration has participated in the COP13 and was part of the COP23. She is an unquestionable true leader. She and her team share a profound sense of greater good and sincerely care about Cozumel.
Challenges for Cozumel:
Sexism - The country and more specifically the region, and particularly politics, is still male chauvinist. She has faced undermining by other important figures, to which she steps up, speaks up and faces courageously and respectfully, earning their respect and proving her authority.
Media - Previous to her administration, local news media companies would receive a large sum of money from the municipality. From day zero, she cut that money leak, causing an outrage among them; which resulted in a increase of fake news (some even mischievously orchestrated).
Debt - Cozumel is Mexico's most indebted municipality per capita (according to the last quarter of 2017) and also tops the list of municipalities with the highest debt/total income ratio, with the debt representing 87.1% of the total revenues. This was due several loans asked by previous administrations, leaving Cozumel at the brink of bankruptcy. However, she has managed to "stretch the money" and to collect money from the long time debtors (it was common to "exempt" relatives or friends from paying property taxes, as well as to execute impeccable plans in order to attain financing from organizations and institutions. This allows her to cover the payroll on-time (something, unfortunately, extraordinary in the history of Cozumel's government), equip the police, train the fire fighters and lifeguards, hold cultural events, equip City Hall with fibre optic, improve the overall infrastructure (replacing street lighting and poles, drainage, repaving, adding signalling for crosswalks along the main street, restoring parks and public spaces dedicated to sports), she has supported young athletes and artists, and still pay the interests generated by the debt.
Lack of municipal autonomy - As stated on my supporting statement, a lot of the municipal funding comes from the state, who decides how you will spend that money. The state also receives all of the income generated from tourism (546 million dollars) returning only 5%. This is an aspect that she ferociously fights for, she wants for the municipality to recover the ports and therefore that income.
Tourism - It is the second largest cruise ship port in the world (after Miami). Cozumel receives over 5 million tourists annually from which about 4 million come by cruise ship. (Side note: Cozumel's population is around 90 thousand people). Leaving trash and waste behind, as well as causing prostitution and drugs. All this for Cozumel to solve by itself, with limited resources.
Environment - As an island, the dynamics are different. Water is limited, to take waste out of the island is expensive, and more importantly, there is nowhere to go. Cozumel is part of the second largest coral reef barrier, and has been recognized as a worldwide top scuba diving destination. The Mayor is fully aware of the risks and threats to the ecosystem, supporting and promoting campaigns to reduce plastic usage, regulating sewage exit points, water quality, constructions' viability, and educating people about all of this. She and her team have implemented more sustainable requirements for any type of development and basically to every decision taken.
Nominated by Isaac U. J., Cozumel:
Mayor Tun Pech and her team fulfil all of those requirements and some many more. She broke a permanent control of a powerful political party, she has faced for over a 2 and a half years of a monopoly of state and federal power (still in control). She has shown guts, knowledge, determination and strong character confronting PRI (party) also media hostility (paid by PRI). She has plans for clear & feasible actions for the better of the County. She needs to stay in office (1st time ever, a Mayor can be re-elected (new law). I strongly believe she should continue.