Vision of Sustainability

Regional stakeholders embraced a vision of sustainability as a way to meet today’s needs in a socially equitable fashion without harming the ability of future generations to manage their own needs in the same way.

An undeniable reality of the U.S.-Mexico border is the need to conceive of its shared environment as a unitary phenomenon. Pollution on one side of the border hardly ever remains on the same side. The air basins are shared, water courses crisscross the international boundary along several points, and wildlife traverse the line with total disregard for nationalities.

Knowing all this and looking ahead on a long term basis, residents, practitioners, and specialists of the border region recognize as key elements:

Water conservation: Communities in the region will be mindful of the water-limited conditions, adopt effective water conservation programs, and ensure equal access toclean water for everyone.

Law enforcement and compliance: Environmental authorities will rigorously and systematically apply environmental regulation and full compliance will become the norm in the region.

Climate change action: The transborder region will adopt a binational action plan to increase energy efficiency and foster the use of renewable energy.

Comprehensive ecosystem management: The region will develop and implement binational mechanisms to manage cross-border ecosystems.

Strategies for Sustainability

To accomplish this vision, we must integrate management and stewardship on several fronts. This are the proposed actions needed for this objectives:

Official water management

  1. Include regional stakeholders in decision-making regarding water management.
  2. Restructure regional bodies to act as watershed councils or as formal advisory boards.

Water-use efficiency and water quality

  1. Protect efficient agricultural practices and revamp and replace inefficient ones.
  2. Urban water use must be held to similar standards of efficiency and conservation.
  3. Engage in a source-water-protection campaign by focusing on urban and agricultural runoff and managing non-point source (NPS) pollution to protect water quality.
  4. To reduce demand on traditional sources, cities should look to alternative water sources, including rainwater-collection systems and urban catchment basins.

Crossborder environmental institutions

  1. Expand the BECC’s responsibilities or develop a binational environmental advisory council to provide expert opinion on cross-border ecological or natural-resource issues.
  2. Further the development of a Transboundary Environmental Impact Assessment (TEIA).
  3. Include an additional seat for a representative of the U.S. Department of the Interior in BECC and NADB’s board of directors.

Energy consumption

  1. Promoting partnerships between municipalities and institutions of higher education to develop a detailed geographic information system (GIS) of potential sectors, high energy users, and renewable energy sources to make the necessary connection, so as to engage the 10 states of the transborder region.
  2. Encouraging all border twin cities to engage in cross-border discussions on how to set up emission exchanges of all sorts making use of current market strategies.
  3. Establish a binational task force for energy cooperation to consider the existing differences in the institutional arrangements for the energy sector in the two countries and provide appropriate recommendations to stimulate energy exchange.
  4. Promote the use of renewable energy and energy-savings technologies where appropriate and cost effective.
  5. Expand the BECC’s and NADB’s abilities to provide technical assistance and funding to develop renewable energy projects and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Conservation of regional ecosystems and species

  1. Integrate federal and state environmental policy with urban, land-use and fiscal policies.