On 29 November 2017, during the Lisbon Milestone Event celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Council of Europe’s Intercultural Cities Programme, an announcement was made that the Mexican Chamber of Deputies voted a reform of the National Development Plan to incorporate interculturalism in all policies and government programmes. The law was promulgated by the Mexican President on 16 February, 2018.
The Intercultural Cities Programme (ICC) of the Council of Europe was one of the key drivers of this achievement. In 2010, Mexico City became the first non-European city to join Intercultural cities. The Council of Europe helped Mexico City to design its intercultural programmes and become the first city member to adopt a local Law about Interculturalism. ICC also supported the inclusion of the intercultural perspective in Mexico City’s first Constitution and its commitment to include interculturalism in the State-level legislation.
Mexico thus became one of the first nations to include interculturalism in its federal legislation – and hopefully become an inspiration to others States. This would not be possible without the commitment of Ms Cecilia Soto, Chairwomen of the Standing Committee on Mexico City at the Federal Chamber of Deputies who was the main proponent of this initiative.
The new law in Mexico confirms one of the premises of the ICC programmatic document of Lisbon Milestone Event “Bridging the equality, diversity and inclusion agendas” that “When the national policies do not offer effective tools to address civic inclusion of foreign citizens, cities can innovate and test practices that – when successful - may even provoke changes in legislation including at state level.”
The new Mexican law is a guarantee that even if political leadership changes, any new government is obliged to include the intercultural perspective in all policies and programmes.