Paper: Steps needed to ensure accountability, transparency in Mexico’s energy reform

The fragmentation and ambiguity of Mexico’s legal order and its impact on the country’s energy reform continue to put the functioning of the energy sector there at risk, according to a new paper from the Mexico Center at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy.

The National Palace in Mexico City, the seat of the federal executive. Credit: University

The paper, “Accountability, Transparency and Responsibility Within the Scope of the Energy Reform in Mexico,” offers suggestions to strengthen policy, rules and leadership through several means. Suggestions include the establishment of proactive transparency policies, the strengthening and restructuring of the respective regulatory agencies and their staff and the creation of an incentive program for leaders and public officials to promote effective, efficient and honest performance. The paper was authored by Ana Elena Fierro, dean of the Master’s in Administration and Public Policy Program and professor at Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas (CIDE) in Mexico City.

Energy reform can help transform the Mexican economy and development of the country, Fierro said. “However, this requires that everyone involved be able to trust that the government and the companies act in conformity to the constitution and in an honest manner,” Fierro wrote. “This will only be achieved with the proper functioning of transparent, accountable and responsible legal systems that guarantee the proper knowledge and monitoring of the exercise of power.”

The paper was written for a Mexico Center research project examining the rule of law in Mexico and the challenges it poses to implementing the country’s energy reform. The project’s findings are compiled in a Spanish-language book and are being posted on the Baker Institute’s website in English.

Mexico’s energy sector had been under strict governmental management since 1938. This changed in 2013 and 2014 when Mexico amended its constitution and passed legislation overhauling its energy sector to allow private and foreign investments.

“Bringing the energy reform to a successful conclusion entails guaranteeing the respect of the rule of law in Mexico,” Fierro wrote.

About Jeff Falk

Jeff Falk is associate director of national media relations in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.