The Border 2020 Program is the latest environmental program implemented under the 1983 La Paz Agreement.

The latest of agreements has recently been reached between the US and Mexico as regards important border environmental issues and opportunities for partnership in ecological preservation and sustainable development.

Ongoing international cooperation has resulted in the creation and adoption of the Border 2020 program, which will, in particular, stress a proactive and meaningful participation by communities on both sides of the US-Mexico border, and local stakeholders. The Border 2020 program is the most recent initiative in a series of such endeavors between the North American nations. To continue to meaningfully address the environmental and public health problems along the border, the program will focus mainly on identifying regional, bottom-up approaches for decision making, and priority setting in the area of environmental project implementation.

A History

Such international cooperation began with the breakthrough 1983 La Paz Agreement signed by Presidents Ronald Reagan and Miguel de la Madrid, which established the basic structure for partnership on matters of environmental and health in the border region. As per the longstanding arrangement, the US Environmental Protection Agency and Mexico’s Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT) are jointly responsible for finding and implementing solutions to problems related to air, water, and land pollution along the international boundary between the two nations.

The La Paz Agreement of 1983 led to the creation and implementation of the Border 2012 program, which was based on a bottom-up, regional approach, reliant upon local input, decision-making, priority-setting, and project implementation. Between 2005 and 2012, the program successfully resulted in the completion of approximately two hundred special projects that addressed important issues such as clean air, safe drinking water, reduced risk of exposure to hazardous waste, and improved emergency preparedness.

New and Improved

With a similar approach and focus,  the Border 2020 program has been launched to build on the success of Border 2012, and to find further improved methods of addressing and meeting the aforementioned basic needs. A few key improvements over Border 2012 include:

  • an 8-year implementation horizon;
  • five new guiding principles;
  • two year Action Plans tailored to specific communities that account for resource and priority changes;
  • indicators and Communication Committees;
  • a stronger communication component;
  • updated goals and objectives