XXII BORDER GOVERNORS CONFERENCE
AUGUST 9-10, 2004
SANTA FE, NEW MEXICO
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 Santa Fe, New Mexico on August 9 and 10, 2004, having analyzed, in the framework of the XXII Conference of the United States-Mexico Border Governors, the topics relating to Agriculture, Border Crossings, Border Security, Economic Development, Education, Energy, Environment, Health, and Tourism.
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 countries but a bond that unites us and invites us to work together for mutual benefit;
Current international conditions have magnified the strategic role of the border region and compelled us to cooperate more fully than ever with both federal governments to ensure greater security and efficiency on the border;
The ten states comprising the United States-Mexico border region have collaborated through the institutionalization of the Border Governors Conference for over two decades;
The border states , united as never before by common interests and open dialogue, are determined to seize this opportunity to achieve unprecedented bilateral cooperation;
The border states reaffirm their commitment to open economies and social advancement for the benefit of the inhabitants of 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 border Governors;
The relationship among the border Governors continues to generate cooperation between the states, for the prosperity and improvement of the quality of life for the inhabitants of the region;
We, the border Governors, endorse this Joint Declaration and hereby adopt the following topics of significant importance toward the development of the border region:
AGRICULTURE AND FARMING
- Conduct bi-national workshops to focus on animal and plant pests and diseases to promote the interchange of educational information/materials and allow for sharing of best management practices. The ultimate result will be the development of a set of guidelines that can be followed for pest and disease management and eradication.
- In response to potential natural or terrorism threats to the agricultural industries in both countries, specifically on the border, the ten border state agricultural departments need to redefine how agricultural production and the entire food supply and food chain are protected from disruption. In order to do this, a tabletop exercise will be developed and conducted with participation from all ten border state agricultural and farming departments.
- Develop acceptable quality assurance measures to be used by producers and processors alike in both countries. These measures will employ good agricultural and food processing practices to reduce the risk of chemical and microbiological contamination of foods in order to ensure the public is protected from potential illness. A special task force will also be created to develop an information system to disseminate timely information to producers and food processing companies.
- Share traffic-engineering expertise and information with appropriate federal agencies to increase trade and maximize the throughput of vehicles within the federal compounds of border crossings.
- Enhance border security by requesting through appropriate channels that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) precede the implementation of the US-Visit Program with an outreach campaign at border communities, assuring that the program will have minimal impact on the movement of people.
- Improve the quality of life along the border by: conducting studies and/or offer technical expertise to help promote the implementation of the Free and Secure Trade (FAST) program ; conducting studies and/or offer technical expertise and/or information to help promote the implementation of the Secure Electronic Network for Travelers’ Rapid Inspection (SENTRI) program for passenger vehicles and pedestrians at border crossings where it does not exist, and expedite the issuance, to less than one month, and extend the validity of the SENTRI cards for five years where it does exist, similar to NEXUS, a U.S.-Canada program.
- Create liaison units in those border states that do not have them, with the objective of establishing a platform for coordination and the exchange of criminal justice information; and establish schemes for the exchange of data and radio communications interoperability .
- Exchange advanced training courses between law enforcement agencies to enhance the professionalism of such agencies.
- Participate in joint exercises concerning responses to critical incidents along the US-Mexico border simulating natural disasters, weapons of mass destruction incidents and other terrorist acts.
- Identify major industrial clusters and actions necessary for the border region to become more competitive.
- Strengthen support for small and medium-sized businesses by: lobbying for additional resources from various authorities (federal and state governments and related private organizations); improving the administration, use and application of available resources; searching for common ground between the Small Business Administration (SBA) on the U.S. side and the Centers for Small Business Development on the Mexican side; and identifying organizations that provide support and training for businesses on both sides of the border.
- Update the BGC Regional Economic Information System by adding existing economic development organizations, businesses, fairs, expositions and events and creating additional economic development links as designated by each state.
- Establish a Border Education Commission to help analyze, review and recommend solutions to problems related to the education of youth along the U.S.-Mexico border area. Specific areas to be addressed by the Commission would be: 1) education and cultural exchanges; 2) English as a second language; 3) value based education (character education); 4) safe and healthy schools; 5) education technology; and 6) adult education and vocational education.
- Support the teaching of English as a Second Language in Mexico's border state elementary school grades, requesting funds from the Mexican federal government.
- Compile "State of Border Energy" reports that identify energy facilities, policy and regulatory differences relating to infrastructure development, and future energy needs in the border region.
- Identify opportunities to develop a more sustainable system to improve energy efficiency, expand the development of renewable energy resources and alternative transportation fuels, and increase the use of distributed generation technologies.
- Analyze, with observance of environmental matters, the development of an electrical power plant prototype that meets all applicable standards in the border region, a cross-border emissions trading program and a regional policy to coordinate environmental review and approval of energy facilities.
- Promote the use of Environmental Management Systems (EMS) through a border-wide outreach program to include informational brochures, the use of agency web sites and the development of a publicity campaign. The key benefits of an EMS include: improved environmental performance, competitive advantages, improved compliance, reduced costs, improved public image, and a systematic approach to meeting environmental and business goals.
- Promote the use of environmental education tools and the implementation of research studies aimed at identifying health risks for children that are correlated to environmental conditions in the border region.
- Promote the availability and use of ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel in border communities aimed at reducing air pollutants and, thus, improving air quality in the border region.
- Promote understanding and cooperation through the sharing of experiences and information as a strategy for the resolution of, and to minimize the potential for water-related differences which might arise between countries and/or states in both national and international contexts, thereby, serving to improve relations among border states . Such diplomacy practiced among border states could yield numerous benefits at a bi-national level.
- Improve the capacities for managing and conserving wildlife of the border states by coordinat i ng and conducting scheduled interagency training forums to promote increased awareness and knowledge of wildlife management principles and techniques by Mexican state resource professionals and selected lay persons.
- Solicit support from the U.S and Mexico federal governments to promote local and regional vertical coordination actions on emergency preparedness that will encourage and insure improved implementation of the vertical public health preparedness strategies and actions; support improved binational health contingency exercises among sister border and regional vertical communities; and insure federal government support in the development, implementation and the effectiveness of the Binational Border Public Health Preparedness Strategy for the entire U.S-Mexico border region.
- Maintain and expand joint integrated publicity programs to inform potential travelers of their rights and obligations as visitors to the border region.
- Work together to promote a positive image for the border region and attract tourists through a multi-state website with current travel data and related promotional activities.
- Participate actively in discussions regarding border security among appropriate federal, state, local and private sector authorities in both countries, in order to facilitate the flow of cross-border tourism without compromising security.
ADDENDUM NO. 1
Whereas, on August 10, 2004 , the Governors of the U.S.-Mexico border states convened during the XXII Border Governors Conference in Santa Fe , New Mexico , to discuss matters of mutual interest and concern, including the issue of water.
Therefore, be it resolved, that the Governors agreed to:
Continue to collaborate on projects and discussions regarding water use and conservation on issues, such as groundwater, that provide valuable information for agriculture, human consumption and sustainable economic development.
ADDENDUM NO. 2
Whereas, on August 10, 2004 , the Governors of the U.S.-Mexico border states convened during the XXII Border Governors Conference in Santa Fe , New Mexico , to discuss matters of mutual interest and concern, including the issue of energy.
Therefore, be it resolved, that the Governors agreed to:
Direct the Energy Work Table of the Conference to establish and outline a border strategy with specific goals and deadlines for the increased production, use and conservation of clean energy, emphasizing necessary and safe regional energy infrastructure development and improvements.
This agreement shall correspond with the 2004 Western Governors Association Renewable Energy Resolution and shall be presented for consideration and adoption by the border Governors during the XXIII Border Governors' Conference in 2005.
ADDENDUM NO .3
Resolution on the US-Visit Program
Whereas, on August 10, 2004 , the Governors of the U.S.-Mexico border states convened during the XXII Border Governors Conference in Santa Fe , New Mexico , to discuss matters of mutual interest and concern, including the issue of border security.
Therefore, be it resolved, that:
The Governors commend the U.S. Federal Government on the change announced today, August 10, 2004 , to the US-VISIT Program that allows Mexican visitors with a laser permit that visit the U.S. to stay 30 days instead of 72 hours.
The Border Governors also commend Governor Rick Perry of Texas for his strong efforts on behalf of this change.
ADDENDUM NO. 4
Resolution for Border Research and Development
Whereas, on August 10, 2004, the Governors of the U.S.-Mexico border states convened during the XXII Border Governors Conference in Santa Fe, New Mexico, to discuss matters of mutual interest and concern, including the issue of border research and development; and
Whereas, the Governors recognize the high concentration of research and development organizations, universities and facilities in the border states that are uniquely qualified to develop solutions to the challenges of the region in order to create new industries; and
Therefore, be it resolved, that the Governors agreed to:
Jointly develop and promote border research and development projects, utilizing all state, federal and private resources and promotional strategies available to strengthen and increase the region's growth and present a specific plan of action during the XXIII Border Governors' Conference.
ADDENDUM NO. 5
Whereas, on August 10, 2004, the Governors of the U.S.-Mexico border states convened during the XXII Border Governors Conference in Santa Fe, New Mexico, to discuss matters of mutual interest and concern, including the issue of immigration; and
Whereas, one of the greatest challenges faced by those of us who live along the U.S.-Mexico border is finding a balance between increased security demands and maintaining the free flow of trade;
Whereas, the subject of border security should be viewed broadly and actions undertaken should go beyond the fight against terrorism;
Whereas, we believe that it is unfair on behalf of the United States to allow Canadian visitors a six-month stay while limiting Mexican visitors with a laser visa to only one month. This, besides representing a migratory inequality between partners, negatively impacts the economies of the states on both sides of the US-Mexico border;
Whereas, we also believe that when the federal governments require stronger security measures, they should also provide the funding to implement them;
Whereas, immigration reform should be addressed by the federal governments of both countries to guarantee free trade, the respect of human rights and the quality of life in border communities;
Therefore, be it resolved, that the ten Governors of the border states call on both the federal governments to deal with these immigration issues directly and expeditiously.
ADDENDUM NO. 6
Whereas, on August 10, 2004, the Governors of the U.S.-Mexico border states convened during the XXII Border Governors Conference in Santa Fe, New Mexico, to discuss matters of mutual interest and concern, including NADBank; and
Whereas, NADBank is important to the future development of the U.S.-Mexico border region and to respond to its original purpose and expectations, the Bank should reinforce, as its main priority, its programs and performance in the environmental sectors it covers;
Whereas, the recent approval to expand the Bank's jurisdiction within 300 kilometers of the Mexico border has been a successful move in the right direction , now is the time to expand our efforts and consider the following actions:
- More active participation by the border Governors to strengthen the institution and the development of its programs.
- The Bank should explore, with other financial instruments and partners, projects that will make the border region more competitive.
- Explore ways to find additional financial resources, including private resources, for other types of infrastructure investments.
- Increase non-reimbursable funding. A desirable goal would be to improve sufficient funding to set pace with the known necessities and requirements along the border. In particular, we urge a substantial increase of EPA funding for the BEIF program. This will be critical in closing the development gap along the border and fostering the competitiveness of the region as a whole.
- Promote the simplification of institutional means and procedures between BECC and the NADBank as well as expediting procedures for project certification.