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Texas Border and Mexican Affairs

XXV BORDER GOVERNORS CONFERENCE
UNITED STATES-MEXICO


JOINT DECLARATION
SEPTEMBER 27-28, 2007
PUERTO PEÑASCO SONORA

PREAMBLE

 

The Governors of the states of Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas, of the United States of America, and the states of Baja California, Coahuila, Chihuahua, Nuevo Leon, Sonora and Tamaulipas, of the United Mexican States, meeting in the City of Puerto Peñasco, Sonora on the 27th and 28th of September, 2007, having analyzed, within the framework of the XXV U.S. – Mexico Border Governors Conference, issues relating to Water, Agriculture and Livestock, Science and Technology, Logistics and International Crossings, Economic Development, Education, Energy, the Environment, Health, Border Safety, Tourism and Wildlife, 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 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 in the world, where the border is not a line that divides our countries but rather a bond that unites us and invites us to work together for our mutual benefit;

Current international conditions have magnified the border region’s strategic role, uniting our States and compelling us to cooperate more than ever to ensure greater security and efficiency at the border;

One of the present trends in the globalized world is a growing competitiveness among regions and the formation of strategic trans-border partnerships; the Governors of the United States-Mexico border region renew their intent to build a common regional vision and project that will foster the process of integration and will strengthen the competitive positioning of the joint border region;

Globalization and accelerated technological changes demand immediate responses, the central motto of the XXV Border Governors’ Conference is Borderless Competitiveness, and the Conference is implementing studies and actions that will allow for the capitalization of investment opportunities, the definition of strategic projects and the establishment of competitive bases for long-term sustained regional development;

The Border States recognize that positive impacts on the economy and welfare of the border region’s population will be defined by the development of joint strategies to enhance competitiveness through the development of human capital and by building scientific and technological capacity;

The frequent work meetings among the Border States’ Governments have allowed for the establishment of institutional mechanisms for ongoing dialog and consultation in order to address the many issues that come up along our border;

The relationship among the Border Governors will continue fostering cooperation between the States, which in turn will result in economic prosperity, environmental sustainability and will improve the quality of life of the region’s inhabitants;

Therefore, we, the Border Governors who sign this Joint Declaration, have resolved to adopt the following important recommendations for the development of the border region in the following areas:

AGRICULTURE AND LIVESTOCK

To carry out a Functional Binational Agroterrorism Exercise.

To continue developing the Nutrition Task Force as a way to exchange ideas, reach goals and to improve health of citizens through better nutrition.

Continue to gather information about the requirements of phytosanitary and zoosanitary programs currently operating in Border States. The Agriculture Work Table shall determine which requirements are the most effective and recommend the best practices to the federal governments on harmonization at all ports of entry.

Continue efforts to establish protocols for the importation of ruminant livestock for breeding into Mexico from the United States.

WATER

Continue working with the Border Environment Cooperation Commission, the North American Development Bank, the Bureau of Reclamation, and other entities with available funds to finance improvements to the infrastructure of water conveyance systems, including financing for the identification, development, and construction of projects for all water use sectors. Support from the federal governments of both nations is requested to move forward on the Falcon-Matamoros pipeline in the State of Tamaulipas and the Brownsville channel dam in the Rio Grande, both of which will have great bi-national benefits.

Work with the goal of obtaining by December 2009 (depending on ongoing efforts), a definition of the criteria by which a condition of drought and extraordinary drought would be identified in the Rio Grande Basin as specified in Section II of the 1944 Water Treaty. The definition should facilitate, even under adverse climactic effects, the understanding and the implementation of the international agreements regarding water. The proposal will be submitted to the federal governments of both nations for their consideration.

Request of the federal governments of both nations that additional funding be provided to the International Boundary and Water Commission and other federal and state agencies to undertake operation and maintenance of infrastructure to control flooding (levees), clean up and canalization of river and creek beds, as well as maintenance of dams, in the areas under jurisdiction of the International Boundary and Water Commission.

LOGISTICS AND INTERNATIONAL CROSSINGS

Optimize and expand the capacity of port of entry facilities by providing the necessary personnel and by implementing a pilot program of Tandem Booths for passenger and commercial vehicles along the United States-Mexico border, similar to what has been set up at the San Ysidro-Puerta Mexico Port of Entry.

Request that federal agencies and non­governmental organizations from both the United States and Mexico work with border states to develop a Master Border Plan (MBP), which will focus on transportation and ports of entry, similar to the California-Baja California Master Border Plan, which is funded by the Joint Working Committee (JWC).

Request applicable federal and state legislation to allow for the creation of public and public-private partnerships to provide the necessary funds to cover operational and infrastructure needs in the U.S.-Mexico border region.

Encourage U.S. and Mexico border states to develop a transportation information system that will provide information on traffic conditions, wait times, traffic jams, border crossings, and incident reports; leading to the development of a border-wide Traffic Information System, such as the 511 Program shared by Arizona-Sonora.

That each of the Member States proceed to make an inventory of the logistical infrastructure in their territory, as scheduled under the terms the worktable sets out during their first meeting of the year.

Define and operate coordination mechanisms with other worktables related to logistics issues, as well as with the proper Federal agencies.

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

Carry out exchanges of research infrastructure. In order to reach the goal of augmenting the region’s development through science and technology, our goal will be to identify researchers and laboratories located in the border region. We will also identify the regulations relative to these research centers and researchers. Lastly, we will determine other areas of interest for the creation of laboratories, and we will define the operational guidelines needed to formalize these exchanges. We currently have lists of researchers, research centers or laboratories.

Create a network of service vendors and consumers in the field of Information Technologies. We plan to keep an updated list of sponsoring agencies and IT vendors, as well as the creation of a website containing this information. To this end, we have compiled the information regarding IT vendors in the Mexican border states.

To define different strategies in order to strengthen those opportunity areas identified on this year's study. As well as to promote the creation of the necessary infrastructure and to make specific recommendations to others committees that will foster the economic growth of the region.

To promote the Border Region as a Region for technology and innovation. This include actions such as: conferences, seminars, and human capital development, among others.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

Host the Third International Forum for Business Clusters and Business Matchmaking. The Clusters that will be included will be in the sectors of Renewable Energy, Automotive, Aerospace and Information Technologies. The Economic Development Table will request the advice and participation of the Energy Table on this item.

Develop and implement a web-based system to identify potential industry suppliers located in the border region. This system will focus on the automotive, aerospace and information technology industries.

Each State shall promote the detection and creation of business networks among the leading players and participants within the private sector involved in the automotive, aerospace and IT sectors.

EDUCATION

Identify and promote best practices in mathematics, science and technology instruction.

Support the continuity of funds from the Mexican federal government for the growth of English as a Second Language in elementary schools along the Mexican Border States. The US Border States will continue to support these efforts by sharing educational methods and training for Mexican teachers. They will continue to enhance English language instruction for Hispanic students with limited English proficiency, to the extent permitted by law in each respective state.

Promote the use of the Migrant Student Transfer Document.

Identify, share and promote best practices for engaging businesses in their support of education in the Border States.

Support the ongoing development and maintenance of the Education Commission’s page in the Border Governors Conference web site.

ENERGY

Encourage the development of a border program for renewable energy.

Promote the creation of a best practices program for energy savings and the efficient use of energy.

Encourage the development of the border's energy infrastructure.

ENVIRONMENT

Request that EPA and SEMARNAT promote and support projects to monitor and reduce vehicle and commercial truck emissions at ports of entry, in order to determine the impact on the environment and on public health. The information thus gathered will be the basis for decisions made as to more efficient crossings (studies).

In order to deal with issues related to scrap tires, their management, final disposal or life cycle, we propose the development of markets for their use, and the implementation of the necessary regulatory tools and state or federal funds or trusts to deal with the flow of used scrap tires along the border.

HEALTH

Approve and implement the Guide for United States -Mexico Coordination during Epidemiological Events of Mutual Interest, which has been developed in collaboration with state public health agencies from both Mexico and the United States: Mexico’s Health Ministry and the United States’ Department of Health and Human Services and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Provisions have been included in the Guides to facilitate trans-border crossing of samples, reagents, equipment and medications that improve binational capacity as to laboratories, epidemiological monitoring, and efficient response to public health emergencies which threaten our border population in both countries, including pandemic influenza.

Address the binational problem related to the increase in the number of tuberculosis cases along the border, including drug resistant TB, by increasing the financial resources for TB control activities in the U.S. -Mexico border region.

Support and strengthen the initiative for the creation of the Unit for Epidemiological Intelligence and Public Health Emergencies as a center that monitors risks and damages to public health for an early stage Binational Alert, which would initially operate in the Mexican Border States, and, subsequently, based on agreements and the definition of protocols, would include epidemiological monitoring activities in the 10 U.S. – Mexico Border States.

Support and strengthen the development and implementation of the initiative to use Tele Salud’s (Medicine TV) technology as a tool that has great potential aimed towards standardizing capacity in health services and available human resources, as well as those in training, in the U.S.-Mexico Border States.

There is a requirement to jointly work in increasing the safety and security of prescription drugs available to consumers along the United States – Mexico border.

Residents along the United States – Mexico border tend to have an increased prevalence of chronic disease and, in the United States, tend to have decreased access to health insurance. These facts present particularly difficult challenges to afford medically necessary medication when retail prescription drugs in the United States have risen significantly. As a result of these factors and others, a substantial number of residents along the United States – Mexico border purchase prescription drugs across the border.

In an effort to create safeguards that work to promote consumer safety and awareness the states along the United States-Mexico border agree to collaborate to develop and disseminate bilingual materials that educate consumers and promote informed decisions about purchasing prescription medications across the international border.

In addition, the Governors call upon the federal governments of the United States and Mexico to join them in the effort to increase the safety and security of drugs that are available across the United States – Mexico border in several ways:

Work with state and local partners to support, conduct and publish results of testing and inspection of the quality of prescription drugs that are often purchased in Mexico for use in the United States.

Establish a demonstration program to allow state agencies along the United States -Mexico border to establish standards for pharmacies and manufacturers that ensure quality and safety for consumers, and to maintain a registry identifying manufacturers, pharmacies and particular prescription drugs that have met such standards.

Evaluate the demonstration program to consider allowing for residents along the United States -Mexico border to import certified prescription drugs from manufacturers and pharmacies that meet the standards established and that are approved through the demonstration project.

BORDER SECURITY

Create a General Plan for Border Security, using as a basis the experiences and success cases shared by the member states of the Binational Border Security Worktable, especially those actions related to information exchange, the interoperability of real time voice, data and video communications; programming joint operations and joint training programs for both sides of the border.

Establish the mechanisms and initial actions towards exchanging information related to the sale and falsification of identification documents.

Considering the current program in Arizona relating to the electronic transfers of money by criminals linked to crimes involving drug and human trafficking between the United States and Mexico.

A) The U.S. states along the Mexico border will determine the feasibility of initiating investigations into these crimes, with the Arizona experience being one model. When feasibility or inclination limits initiation, the U.S. states along the Mexican border will refer the Federal Government of the United States to examine programs at their discretion.

B) The Mexican Border States will request the Federal Government of Mexico to analyze the information available regarding money transfers derived from illegal activities, which will be provided to the U.S. Border States, within the existing legal framework.

C) The States on both sides of the border, should it be the case, will carry out the necessary negotiations before their respective Federal Governments, for the enforcement of the Financial Information Exchange Agreement signed by both countries, on Exchanges of Information related to transactions made through financial institutions, as well as the Recommendations on money laundering of the Financial Action Task Force. This responsibility will be entrusted to the Worktable’s Co-chairs.

Promote creating the position of liaison officer, based on the experience shared by California and Baja California. Liaison Officers would meet twice a year for training. The first meeting will be in California at the beginning of next year.

The ten states will begin operating a Binational Information Exchange System, substituting the Virtual Private Network (VPN).

Train First Responders in the Border Region on issues related to an influenza pandemic in coordination with the Health Committee.

Develop a Five Year Binational Emergency Response Strategic Plan that will include prevention, preparation, response and recovery.

Develop a Memorandum of Understanding for mutual help in the event of emergencies among the ten border states.

TOURISM

Exchange best practices for promoting binational tourism activities and collaborate in the development of tours between neighboring states.

Monitor and comment on the implementation of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) and other initiatives that affect the flow of traffic at our ports of entry.

Develop a research program on cross border travelers.

WILDLIFE

Monitor the U.S. Congress Borderlands Conservation and Security Act of 2007.

To publish the Final Priority and Invasive Species List, and conduct joint programs and actions for the conservation of priority species and the control of invasive species of shared interest along the U.S.-Mexico Border region.

Coordinate the exchange and transfer of technologies and capacity building in wildlife census/monitoring techniques, ecosystems management, design and implementation of databases and information systems, and law enforcement.

Addendum 1
Capacity Building

The U.S. – Mexico Border Governors Conference Guidelines, which will regulate its institutional life, are approved. The States voluntarily commit to their observance.

Addendum 2
Protection of Children's Rights

The Border Governors Plenary pronounces their commitment to the Protection of the Rights of Unaccompanied Migrant Children (Camino a Casa Program) and they commit to study and discuss the recommendations of this Program within their respective sphere of action.

Addendum 3
Regional Competitiveness

The Border Governors Conference reiterates its interest and commitment to promoting Competitiveness in the U.S. – Mexico Border Region as a means of competing successfully in a globalized world, through, among other actions, the following:

  1. Offer continuity to the Study on Competitiveness and Areas of Opportunity in the U.S. – Mexico Border Region. To this end, we shall endeavor to sign, as soon as possible, an agreement of cooperation with federal and state agencies in both countries for the purpose of creating a Statistical and Geographical Information System for the U.S. - Mexico Border Region.

  2. Promote the creation of a Regional Fund for Border Competitiveness and Infrastructure that will bring together resources from international organizations, specifically IDB and NADBANK and state and federal agencies.

    To that effect, it is requested that the incoming President and Vice-President of the XXVI Border Governors Conference negotiate with the federal governments of both countries the implementation of necessary measures to speed up the movement of people and goods at border crossings.

  3. Promote, within the framework of the Conference’s worktables, those actions directed towards fostering the development of logistical infrastructure and the knowledge economy, aware that it has evolved, only to become the determinant input generating value in the productive processes. The BGC states its resolve to promote it, as a route to higher and better generation and distribution of wealth, as well as to position the region in the world stage.

With regards to shared sustainability, we favor integration and a balanced regional development within the Mexico-United States trans-border basin, promoting the rational use of natural resources and the treatment of issues common to binational urban centers; therefore, it is important to define policies to this effect.

Addendum 4
Environment

Promotion of actions for cooperation to prevent and face natural disasters in the Border Region. These can occur at any time and in any place. The recent natural disasters that have affected our region, which shares a similar climate, topography and geography; have demonstrated that it is extremely urgent for us to be prepared for future contingencies. From this arises the importance that these efforts are a part of planning and to be properly linked to reconstruction works. The above mentioned as a way to break the vicious cycle of poverty and disaster and to achieve sustainable development.

We recognize the need to grow within a platform of regional cooperation, with the appropriate participation of government, to intensely promote the development of a border and communities that can withstand disasters, while taking full advantage of existing capacities.

The Border Governors Conference states its resolve to strengthen cooperative actions between the ten Border States and their respective federal authorities, in order to be better prepared and, through concerted actions, prevent and deal efficiently with these types of situations.

Given the growing general concern and debate about Climate Change, and taking into consideration that the US–Mexico Border is in a region that is desert or semi-desert, the Border Governors request that the Environment Work Table continue to develop strategies that can be utilized to adjust to and satisfy the needs of our environment, while at the same time, protecting our economy and conserving the natural resources of the U.S. – Mexico Border.

Addendum 5
Border Security

Efforts of the federal government of Mexico and the United States must complement one another by detecting, disrupting, and dismantling the flow of precursor chemicals, with the goal of ultimately stemming methamphetamine production.

While the U.S. and Mexico have made significant progress in reducing domestic methamphetamine labs, more can be done to eliminate the international trafficking of methamphetamines and its precursor chemicals through the U.S. The U.S. government and Mexican federal government should strengthen common border security by working to interdict chemicals, drugs and weapons before they leave our respective countries.

Attention must also be directed to countries that circumvent precursor laws.

We encourage the federal governments of Mexico and the United States to work with their respective States to develop and implement strategies that will assist in combating the illegal importation of methamphetamine and its precursor chemicals. Resources should be targeted to states experiencing the largest imports of precursor chemicals used to manufacture methamphetamine and other illicit drugs.

We, the Border Governors, renew our petition before our Federal authorities that more funds are allocated to efficiently combat drug, weapons and human trafficking.

Addendum 6
Immigration Reform

We, the Border Governors, we believe that a comprehensive solution to border security must rely on an array of measures and that physical obstacles alone are not the solution. We urge the United States Congress to enact as soon as possible a comprehensive immigration reform.

The federal governments of both countries should work together to further legal immigration and to provide for a safe and secure border.

Addendum 7
Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative

The Border Governors Conference is pleased to recognize the deferment of the effective date of the U.S. government’s Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative. However, the Conference restates its interest in a definitive solution that considers alternative mechanisms to reduce the negative impacts this measure will have on the economy, tourism and environment of the states in the border region.

Addendum 8
Inter-institutional Coordination

The Border Governors Conference states its resolve to strengthen its collaboration and coordination with the Border Legislative Conference.

Addendum 9
XXVI U.S.-Mexico Border Governors Conference

The Chair of the XXVI Border Governors Conference will be the Governor of the State of California and the Vice-chair will be the Governor of State of Nuevo Leon.

Addendum 10
Fund for the Fight against Social Marginalization

Promote that the federal governments of both countries, within their respective spheres of authority, create and apply special programs and funds that will reduce the levels of social poverty in lesser-developed municipalities on both sides of the border.

 

Border Governor's Signatures

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