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Texas Border and Mexican Affairs

XX BORDER GOVERNORS CONFERENCE
UNITED STATES-MEXICO


JOINT DECLARATION
JUNE 21-22, 2002
PHOENIX, ARIZONA

PREAMBLE

 

THE GOVERNORS OF THE STATES OF ARIZONA, CALIFORNIA, NEW MEXICO AND TEXAS OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, AND THE GOVERNORS OF THE STATES OF BAJA CALIFORNIA, CHIHUAHUA, COAHUILA, NUEVO LEON, SONORA AND TAMAULIPAS OF THE UNITED MEXICAN STATES, MEETING IN THE CITY OF PHOENIX, ARIZONA, ON JUNE 21-22, 2002, HAVING ANALYZED, IN THE FRAMEWORK OF THE XX ANNIVERSARY CONFERENCE OF UNITED STATES-MEXICO BORDER GOVERNORS, THE TOPICS RELATING TO AGRICULTURE, BORDER CROSSINGS, ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, EDUCATION, ENVIRONMENT, HEALTH AND TOURISM; AND

WHEREAS:

THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AND THE UNITED MEXICAN STATES ARE TWO SOVEREIGN AND INDEPENDENT NATIONS, EACH WITH ITS OWN CLEAR IDENTITY;

THESE SOVEREIGN NATIONS SHARE A BORDER OF NEARLY TWO THOUSAND MILES, AS WELL AS COMMON VALUES AND A VISION FOR THE PROSPERITY OF THE BORDER REGION;

THE UNITED STATES-MEXICO BORDER REGION IS ONE OF THE MOST DYNAMIC REGIONS OF THE WORLD, WHERE THE BORDER IS NOT A LINE THAT DIVIDES OUR TWO COUNTRIES BUT A BOND THAT UNITES US AND INVITES US TO WORK TOGETHER FOR MUTUAL BENEFIT;

THE TRAGIC EVENTS OF SEPTEMBER 11, 2001, HAVE ELEVATED THE STRATEGIC ROLE OF THE BORDER REGION AND COMPELLED US TO COOPERATE MORE FULLY THAN EVER TO ENSURE THE SECURITY AND EFFICIENCY OF THE BORDER THAT CONNECTS US;

PRESIDENTS GEORGE W. BUSH AND VICENTE FOX QUESADA MADE THAT SPIRIT OF COOPERATION MANIFEST AT THEIR RECENT MEETING IN MONTERREY, NUEVO LEÓN, AT WHICH THEY ESTABLISHED A 22-POINT BILATERAL ACTION PLAN TO MODERNIZE THE CROSSINGS BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES AND MEXICO TO ACHIEVE A "SMART BORDER";

THE TEN STATES COMPRISING THE UNITED STATES-MEXICO BORDER REGION HAVE COLLABORATED THROUGH THE INSTITUTION OF THE BORDER GOVERNORS CONFERENCE FOR TWO DECADES;

UNITED AS NEVER BEFORE BY COMMON INTERESTS AND OPEN DIALOGUE, WE ARE DETERMINED TO SEIZE THIS OPPORTUNITY TO ACHIEVE UNPRECEDENTED BILATERAL COOPERATION;

OUR ENLIGHTENED PHILOSOPHY OF BOUNDARIES ENDURES IN THE FACE OF THESE NEW CHALLENGES AND GUIDES OUR EFFORTS TO RETHINK OUR APPROACH TO BORDER MANAGEMENT;

THE BORDER STATES MAINTAIN THEIR COMMITMENT TO OPEN ECONOMIES AND SOCIAL ADVANCEMENT FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE INHABITANTS OF THE BORDER REGION;

THE BORDER REGION POSSESSES INHERENT COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGES AND ECONOMIC SYNERGIES THAT ENABLE JOINT ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, THEREBY INCREASING TRADE AND FOSTERING REGIONAL INTEGRATION;

GIVEN THE RAPID SOCIAL, ECONOMIC AND DEMOGRAPHIC GROWTH OF THE BORDER REGION, AND THE CRITICAL ROLE THAT ENERGY PLAYS AS THE ENGINE FOR REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT, WE MUST MAINTAIN A STABLE ENERGY SUPPLY FOR THE REGION, FOLLOWING THE PRINCIPLES OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT AND APPROPRIATE DISTRIBUTION.

BOTH NATIONS RECOGNIZE THE NEED TO INVEST IN MODERN AND EFFICIENT INFRASTRUCTURE AT THEIR PORTS OF ENTRY TO INCREASE SECURITY AND STRENGTHEN COMMERCIAL EXCHANGE ALONG THE BORDER, THUS ENABLING THE SPIRIT OF THE NORTH AMERICAN FREE TRADE AGREEMENT (NAFTA) TO REACH ITS FULL POTENTIAL;

THE BORDER REGION MUST WORK TO FACILITATE SAFE AND EFFICIENT CROSS-BORDER MOVEMENT OF GOODS, SERVICES AND PEOPLE, WITH RESPECT FOR HUMAN DIGNITY AND CONCERN FOR PUBLIC HEALTH, SO AS TO PROJECT A POSITIVE IMAGE OF OUR BORDER THAT PROMOTES TRADE AND TOURISM;

THE BORDER STATES UNITE IN THE DESIRE TO STRENGTHEN BILATERAL, CROSS-BORDER EMERGENCY RESPONSE EFFORTS TO RESPOND TO TERRORIST ACTS, HAZARDOUS SPILLS, NATURAL DISASTERS AND OTHER THREATS TO OUR REGION’S INHABITANTS;

THE BORDER STATES, IN PARTNERSHIP WITH THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENTS AND THE PRIVATE SECTOR SHARE RESPONSIBILITY TO PROTECT AND IMPROVE THE HEALTH OF BORDER AND MIGRANT COMMUNITIES THROUGH IMPLEMENTING BINATIONAL PROGRAMS AIMED AT REDUCING RISKS OF DISEASE AND INJURIES AND PROMOTING HEALTH, AS THROUGH THE UNITED STATES-MEXICO BORDER HEALTH COMMISSION;

THE BORDER STATES SHOULD ENHANCE REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT EFFORTS BY PROMOTING AN INTEGRATED EDUCATION POLICY THAT WILL DEVELOP AND MAINTAIN A COMPETITIVE, BILINGUAL AND HEALTHY WORK FORCE;

THE BORDER STATES SHOULD ENCOURAGE THEIR FEDERAL GOVERNMENTS TO DEVELOP A NEW APPROACH TO MIGRATION ISSUES THAT WOULD PROVIDE THE WORK FORCE NECESSARY TO SUSTAIN ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND GROWTH IN THE BORDER REGION, WHILE SIMULTANEOUSLY WORKING TO NARROW THE ECONOMIC GAPS WITHIN AND BETWEEN OUR NATIONS;

THE BORDER STATES, IN PARTNERSHIP WITH THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AND THE PRIVATE SECTOR, ACKNOWLEDGE AND SHARE THE RESPONSIBILITY OF PROTECTING THE ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES OF THE BORDER BY IMPLEMENTING PROGRAMS AIMED AT CONSERVING THE WEALTH OF NATURAL RESOURCES IN THE REGION;

THE FREQUENT WORK MEETINGS HELD BETWEEN THE GOVERNMENTS OF THE BORDER STATES HAVE MADE IT POSSIBLE TO ESTABLISH A MECHANISM FOR ONGOING DIALOGUE AND CONSULTATION, AS WELL AS A CLOSE WORKING RELATIONSHIP AMONG THE GOVERNORS OF THE BORDER STATES, ALLOWING THEM TO DISCUSS OPENLY THE DIVERSE AND COMPLEX TOPICS THAT CONSTITUTE THE WORK TABLES INCLUDED IN THE XX BORDER GOVERNORS CONFERENCE;

THIS UNDERSTANDING AMONG THE GOVERNORS OF THE BORDER STATES AND THE RELATIONSHIP ESTABLISHED BETWEEN THE PRESIDENTS HAS GENERATED A NEW SPIRIT OF COOPERATION BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES AND MEXICO, THUS ENABLING US TO IMPROVE THE QUALITY OF LIFE OF ALL PEOPLE ALONG OUR COMMON BORDER;

WE, THE BORDER GOVERNORS, ENDORSE THIS JOINT DECLARATION, AND HEREBY ADOPT THE FOLLOWING TOPICS OF SIGNIFICANT IMPORTANCE TO THE BORDER REGION:

AGRICULTURE

WORK WITH THE UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE (USDA) AND THE SECRETARIA DE AGRICULTURA, GANADERIA, DESARROLLO RURAL PESCA Y ALIMENTACIÓN (SAGARPA) TO COORDINATE A BIO/AGROTERRORISM DEFENSE PLAN FOR THE BORDER REGION.

COLLABORATE WITH THE UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE (USDA) AND THE SECRETARÍA DE AGRICULTURA, GANADERIA, DESARROLLO RURAL, PESCA Y ALIMENTACIÓN (SAGARPA) TO ACTIVELY SUPPORT PREVENTION, CONTROL AND ERADICATION PROGRAMS FOR PLANT DISEASES AND PESTS.

COORDINATE WITH THE UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE (USDA) AND THE SECRETARÍA DE AGRICULTURA, GANADERÍA, DESARROLLO RURAL, PESCA Y ALIMENTACIÓN (SAGARPA) TO ALLOCATE ADDITIONAL RESOURCES TO SUPPORT PREVENTION, CONTROL AND ERADICATION PROGRAMS FOR ANIMAL DISEASES AND PESTS.

BORDER CROSSINGS

URGE BOTH FEDERAL GOVERNMENTS TO INCREASE FINANCIAL RESOURCES FOR TRANSPORTATION INFRASTRUCTURE IN BORDER STATES SERVING INTERNATINAL BRIDGES OR BORDER CROSSINGS AND TRANSPORATION CORRIDORS, FOR NEW PROJECTS AS WELL AS EXPANSIONS., MODERNIZATION AND IMPROVEMENTS. PROJECTS SHOULD INCLUDE BORDER SAFETY INSPECTION STATIONS AND PROVIDE INSPECTION SERVICES WITH INCREASED FUNDING FOR ADDITIONAL STAFF, EQUIPMENT AND STATE-OF-THE-ART TECHNOLOGY TO MAKE BORDER CROSSINGS FASTER, SAFER, AND MORE SECURE, TO MITIGATE THE NAGATIVE ECONOMIC IMPACTS IN BORDER COMMUNITIES CAUSED BY THE PROLONGED WAIT TIMES. LIKEWISE, STRENGTHEN NATIONAL SECURITY THROUGH DESIGN, COMPONENTS, AND OPERATIONS OF ALL EXISTING AND FUTURE FEDERAL AND STATE BORDER FACILITIES, IMPROVING OPERATION AND FLOW.

REQUEST IMPROVEMENTS IN THE COORDINATION BETWEEN THE DIFFERENT NATIONAL AUTHORITIES THAT OPERATE AT BORDER CROSSINGS AS WELL AS IMPROVEMENTS IN BINATIONAL COORDINATION, INCLUDING SYNCHRONIZING OF OPERATING SCHEDULES OF UNITED STATES AND MEXICAN AGENCIES WITH EACH OTHER AT EACH INDIVIDUAL PORT OF ENTRY AND EXTENDING HOURS OF OPERATION WHERE NECESSARY. FURTHER REQUEST THAT FEDERAL INSPECTION AGENCIES REDUCE BORDER CROSSING TIMES TO A MAXIMUM OF 15 MINUTES FOR PASSENGER VEHICLES AND 20 MINUTES FOR COMPLIANT COMMERCIAL VEHICLES BY DEVELOPING INSPECTION PROCEDURES THAT CAN ENSURE SAFETY AND SECURITY WHILE ALLOWING EFFICIENT MOVEMENT OF PERSONS AND GOODS ACROSS THE BORDER, AND THAT THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT IMPLEMENT AN ONGOING EVALUATION PROCESS OF THE EFFICIENCY AND QUALITY CONTROL OF THE BORDER CROSSINGS.

REQUEST THE PUBLICATION, DISTRIBUTION AND IMPLEMENTATION OF THE MECHANISMS FOR FACILITATING CROSS-BORDER OPERATIONS OF COMMERCIAL VEHICLES, AS AGREED UPON IN THE NORTH AMERICAN FREE TRADE AGREEMENT (NAFTA).

FACILITATE BORDER CROSSINGS BY TAKING THE FOLLOWING SPECIFIC ACTIONS: EXPEDITE THE PROCESS OF ISSUING LASER VISAS AND MAKE THEM ACCESSIBLE FOR BORDER COMMUNITIES THAT DO NOT HAVE U.S. CONSULATES; EVALUATE THE RESULTS OF THE SENTRI EXPRESS LANE PROGRAM WITH THE PURPOSE OF EXPANDING IT TO OTHER CROSSINGS AS WELL AS REDUCING THE COST AND TIME IT TAKES TO REGISTER IN THE PROGRAM; AND RECOMMEND THAT BORDER STATES SHOULD PARTICIPATE IN ANY KIND OF DECISION THAT INVOLVES BORDER-CROSSING FEES.

PROMOTE THE IMPLEMENTATION OF URBAN DEVELOPMENT PLANS WITH THE GOAL OF ACHIEVING MORE HARMONIZED AND ORDERLY GROWTH ON BOTH SIDES OF THE BORDER AND ESTABLISHING THE SYSTEMATIC AND ROUTINE EXCHANGE OF INFORMATION ABOUT THESE PLANS.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

UPDATE QUARTERLY THE ECONOMIC INFORMATION SYSTEM AND REGIONAL CLUSTER INFORMATION THROUGH COORDINATED STATE AND SUBREGION EFFORTS SO AS TO INPUT DATA INTO ONE SOURCE AND PROMOTE THE SYSTEM THROUGH ALL THE AVAILABLE PROMOTIONAL STRATEGIES AND RESOURCES AT THE STATE AND REGIONAL LEVEL.

STRENGTHEN INDUSTRY AND EMPLOYMENT RETENTION THROUGHOUT THE REGION BY: PROMOTING BUSINESS MEETINGS – BY INDUSTRY – SO AS TO LEARN ABOUT THEIR NEEDS AND REQUIREMENTS; SETTING UP A KEY-FACTOR MATRIX, BY STATE AND BY REGION, TO DETERMINE INDUSTRY COMPETITIVENESS AND RETENTION; NEGOTIATING WITH VARIOUS GOVERNMENT LEVELS THE ESTABLISHMENT OF BUSINESS RETENTION PROGRAMS; AND PROMOTING THE ESTABLISHMENT OF LONG-TERM ECONOMIC POLICIES FOR THE U.S.-MEXICO BORDER REGION.

DEVELOP REGIONAL SUPPLIERS AND ENCOURAGE REGIONAL COMPETITIVENESS BY PROMOTING THE CREATION OF A SPECIFIC INDUSTRY-TRADE PROGRAM BY STATE AND REGION, AND BY PROMOTING STrATEGIC ALLIANCES BETWEEN DOMESTIC AND FOREIGN COMPANIES THAT WILL ENABLE VALUE-ADDED INCREASES FOR PRODUCTS MANUFACTURED ALONG THE BORDER REGION. WINDOWS OF OPPORTUNITY SHALL BE IDENTIFIED THROUGH CONSTANT COMMUNICATION WITH LOCAL GOVERNMENTS AND INDUSTRY ORGANIZATIONS THAT REPRESENT THE REGION.

FOSTER A TRANSPARENT REGULATORY FRAMEWORK THAT WILL BE EFFICIENT IN THE LONG TERM FOR THE REGION BY PROMOTING COUNSELING FORUMS TO SERVE AS TECHNICAL SUPPORT FOR BETTER REGULATION FOR THE STATES AND BORDER AREA SUBREGIONS.

WORK WITH FEDERAL OFFICALS ON BOTH SIDES OF THE BORDER TO ENSURE A STEADY SUPPLY OF ENERGY, AND TO ADHERE TO THE PRINCIPLES OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT AND APPROPRIATE DISTRIBUTION. FURTHER, RECOGNIZE THAT ENERGY IS A SOURCE OF JOBS AND A MEANS OF GENERATING WEALTH FOR THE REGION, AND IS FUNDAMENTAL TO ITS OVERALL DEVELOPMENT.

EDUCATION

DEVELOP A REPORT THAT EXPLAINS THE NEED FOR A U.S.-MEXICO BORDER COMMISSION ON EDUCATION.

JOINTLY PROMOTE THE COLLABORATION OF EFFORTS IN THE AREAS OF PUBLIC EDUCATION, TECHNOLOGY AND CULTURAL EXCHANGE PROGRAMS BY ENHANCING THE CURRENT BEST PRACTICES AMONG THE BORDER STATES IN ORDER TO FACILITATE CONTINUED ACTIVITIES IN THE COMPLETION OF A STUDENT’S PRE-K THROUGH 16 EDUCATION.

STRENGTHEN AND PROMOTE COLLABORATION OF EFFORTS IN THE AREAS OF WORKFORCE TRAINING, ADULT EDUCATION AND RESEARCH BY EXPANDING, ENHANCING AND CREATING CURRENT AND FUTURE PROGRAMS WITHIN THE EDUCATIONAL STRUCTURES OF THE BORDER STATES.

ENVIRONMENT

JOIN THE EFFORTS OF THE U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY (EPA), THE SECRETARÍA DE MEDIO AMBIENTE Y RECURSOS NATURALES (SEMARNAT), AND THE NORTH AMERICAN COMMISSION ON ENVIRONMENTAL COOPERATION TO FORGE AND PARTICIPATE IN A U.S.-MEXICO BORDER STATE POLLUTION PREVENTION PARTNERSHIP TO INTEGRATE POLLUTION PREVENTION IN ENVIRONMENTal PROTECTION. THIS EFFORT TO PROMOTE POLLUTION PREVENTION AND CLEANER PRODUCTION ANTICIPATES AN INCREASE IN ENVIRONMENTAL INNOVATION THAT RESULTS IN A CLEANER ENVIRONMENT AND STRONGER ECONOMY.

WORK WITH THE ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY (EPA), THE SECRETARÍA DE MEDIO AMBIENTE Y RECURSOS NATURALES (SEMARNAT), AND THE WESTERN GOVERNORS’ ASSOCIATION (WGA) TO DEVELOP PROJECTS WHICH IMPROVE AIR QUALITY IN THE U.S.-MEXICO BORDER REGION.

IDENTIFY INTEGRATED STRATEGIES FOR WASTE MANAGEMENT ALONG THE BORDER, IN COORDINATION WITH APPROPRIATE FEDERAL AUTHORITIES, TO PROMOTE ADEQUATE MANAGEMENT AND RECYCLING, and to REDUCe HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL RISKS.

ENHANCE EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS AMONG SISTER CITIES ALONG THE BORDER BY UPDATING OR DEVELOPING SISTER CITY EMERGENCY RESPONSE PLANS AND SUPPORTING COMMUNITY NEEDS FOR ADDITIONAL BINATIONAL TRAINING AND EQUIPMENT IN PREPARATION FOR CHEMICAL EMERGENCIES, FIRES AND EMERGING THREATS.

PROMOTE THE DEVELOPMENT OF AN ENVIRONMENTAL STRATEGY FOR NEW ELECTRICAL GENERATION PLANTS IN THE BORDER REGION WITH THE GOAL OF PROTECTING AIR QUALITY, AND, WHERE POSSIBLE, CONSERVING WATER RESOURCES IN THE REGION.

COORDINATE AND PROMOTE LOCAL OR STATE MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS TO CONSERVE AND OPTIMIZE WATER USE.

HEALTH

PROVIDE CONTINUED SUPPORT TO IMPLEMENT THE BINATIONAL BORDER HEALTH INFORMATION SYSTEM AMONG THE 10 BORDER STATES.

RATIFY THE SUBSTANCE ABUSE COMMISSION AS A TECHNICAL INSTRUMENT FOR RESEARCH AND ANALYSIS AND A COMPONENT OF THE HEALTH WORKTABLE.

SOLICIT ADDITIONAL RESOURCES FROM FEDERAL AGENCIES AND NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS FOR RESEARCH, PREVENTION AND TREATMENT OF DRUG ABUSE ON THE BORDER.

PROMOTE THE DEVELOPMENT OF A PUBLIC-PRIVATE PREVENTION FRAMEWORK ALONG THE UNITED STATES - MEXICO BORDER TO PROMOTE THE PREVENTION OF SUBSTANCE ABUSE THAT ENSURES A COLLABORATIVE COMMITMENT TO PREVENTION PROGRAMS AND STRATEGIES THAT HAVE PROVEN EFFECTIVE.

TOURISM

DESIGN AND IMPLEMENT A MECHANISM TO CONSISTENTLY AND ACCURATELY COLLECT INFORMATION REGARDING THE VOLUME OF CROSS-BORDER TRAVEL AND TRAVELERS TO GAIN COMPARABLE DATA TO MEASURE THE IMPORTANCE OF BORDER TOURISM.

SUPPORT, PRESERVE AND PROMOTE JOINTLY THE NATURAL AND CULTURAL DIVERSITY AND SCENIC BEAUTY OF THE BORDER REGION THROUGH EDUCATION AND THE MARKETING OF HISTORIC, CULTURAL AND ECOTOURISM CORRIDORS.

EXPAND COLLABORATIVE INFORMATION PROGRAMS THAT INFORM AND ASSIST POTENTIAL TRAVELERS REGARDING THEIR RIGHTS AND OBLIGATIONS, INCLUDING THOSE PERTAINING TO TAXES AND IMMIGRATION, TO ENHANCE THE EXPERIENCE OF VISITORS TO THE BORDER REGION.

ESTABLISH A JOINT PROGRAM TO MONITOR AND ENCOURAGE MODIFCATIONS TO EXISTING MEASURES RELATING TO MIGRATION AND TAX MATTERS, AND OPPOSE NEW MEASURES THAT NEGATIVELY IMPACT TOURISM, ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND CROSS-BORDER MOVEMENT.

TAKE STEPS WITH THE CORRESPONDING AUTHORITIES OF BOTH COUNTRIES TO FACILITATE THE ENTRY OF TOURISTS IN ORDER TO STRENGTHEN THE RESPECTIVE BORDER ECONOMIES.

AS A RESULT OF THE WORK MEETING IN WHICH WE, THE BORDER GOVERNORS, PARTICIPATED, WE PROPOSE THE FOLLOWING ADDENDUM TO THIS JOINT DECLARATION:

WATER

WHILE HOLDING CONVERSATIONS AND NEGOTIATING SHORT- AND LONG-TERM SOLUTIONS WITH RESPECT TO THE WATER PROBLEM, THE BORDER STATES WILL CONTINUE EXPANDING THEIR FRIENDSHIP, COOPERATION AND TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER.

THE GOVERNORS AGREE ON THE NEED TO ASK BOTH FEDERAL GOVERNMENTS FOR FUNDS TO APPROVE THE HYDRAULIC INFRASTRUCTURE ON BOTH SIDES OF THE BORDER.

FURTHERMORE, THE GOVERNORS AGREE ON THE NEED TO ENCOURAGE A WATER CONSERVATION AND MANAGEMENT PROGRAM.

NORTH AMERICAN DEVELOPMENT BANK (NADB) AND BORDER ENVIRONMENT COOPERATION COMMISSION (BECC)

THE GOVERNORS REITERATE THEIR INTEREST IN HAVING ADEQUATE PARTICIPATION AS MEMBERS OF THE NORTH AMERICAN DEVELOPMENT BANK AND BORDER ENVIRONMENT COOPERATION COMMISSION JOINT BOARD OF DIRECTORS, AND ASK THEIR RESPECTIVE COUNTRIES' FEDERAL GOVERNMENTS TO APPROVE THIS MOTION.

Governors signatures