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29th Annual Border Governors Conference held in Ensenada: major agreements reached, BECC and NADB recognized for their roles

Posted on October 01, 2011

29th Annual Border Governors Conference held in Ensenada: major agreements reached, BECC and NADB recognized for their roles

Border crossings, public safety, economic development, and competitiveness were the subjects of agreements reached during the 29th Annual Border Governors Conference held in Ensenada, B.C. on September 28-29, 2011.

The Governor of Baja California at the opening of the Border Governor ConferenceBorder Crossings 
During the closing ceremony, the Governor of Baja California and outgoing president of the Border Governors Conference, Jose Guadalupe Osuna-Millan (the governor of New Mexico, Susana Martinez will be the President of the 30th Annual Conference, and Chihuahua Governor Cesar Duarte will act as Vice-President), established that one of the consensus was the need to synchronize construction times for the new inspection booths at the different ports of entry. The border governors called on Mexican and U.S. federal governments to support these efforts. 

This means that the Mexican government will have to timely earmark funds for these projects and coordinate timelines with its U.S. counterpart.

"In the case of the U.S. government, we have underscored the need to make the required investments to streamline inspection times, standardize security requirements, and implement other administrative procedures required."

The governors agreed to seek mixed funding alternatives –such as public-private partnerships– to improve border infrastructure, including checkpoints and highways. 

"Undoubtedly, the North American Development Bank (NADB) will be one of the institutions that we will turn to in order to achieve efficient border crossings," the Governor of Baja California stated at a press conference. 

Conference President, Jose Guadalupe Osuna, invokes the spirit of Ensenada to oversee the negotiationsPublic Safety
On the issue of Public Safety, Governor Osuna-Millan said that strategic agreements were reached, which include requesting the federal governments of both countries to implement efficient information exchange mechanisms so that Binational Centers can timely receive biometric data on people imprisoned or repatriated - an issue of particular concern especially for Mexico.

"We took an important step on the issue of weapons trafficking by demanding that the appropriate authorities in the United States document and report multiple sales of weapons to a single individual; this is in order to enhance binational cooperation mechanisms in this area."

Economic Development and Competitiveness 
The President of the Border Governors Conference stated "we will promote explicit policies to support micro, small, and medium-sized businesses to address the high unemployment rates existing in both Mexico's northern border and the U.S. southern border. This will help contain the pressure created by the immigration flow from southern Mexico to these states, as well as the pressure arising from unemployment in U.S. border states."

On the issue of economic development, the leaders intend to advance the organization of binational strategic clusters, emphasizing the development of procurement activities to take advantage of the competitive potential of this area.

BECC was present at the 29th Annual Border Governors Conference 
Border Environment Cooperation Commission (BECC) General Manager, Maria Elena Giner, said in an interview that "climate change is coming and we have to evolve in all development concepts. The different Work Tables are basically centered on climate change mitigation and adaptation processes." 

The BECC General Manager added that "climate change cuts across all sectors, such as tourism, so we need to streamline border crossings; in the area of agriculture, as we have invasive species; not to mention the water issue. As far as emergencies, vulnerability studies will reflect what type of emergencies and support there will be. All these are co-benefits for the environment." 

BECC's Environmental Program Development Director, Mario Vazquez, stated that "the Border Governors' agenda on the issues of environment, energy, and climate change conforms to the Border 2020 Program, which means there will be funding for studies and projects under the U.S.-Mexico binational environmental program. Unlike other conferences, this one clearly reflected the concurrence or consistency of proposed lines of action with current issues; they are aligned with the objectives of the U.S.-Mexico binational agenda," he said.  

Conference President, Jose Guadalupe Osuna, invokes the spirit of Ensenada to oversee the negotiationsGovernor Osuna-Millan: BECC is doing an outstanding job to improve environmental conditions 
Baja California Governor Jose Guadalupe Osuna-Millan said at a press conference that "the BECC has been instrumental for the certification of environmental projects that have come to strengthen border infrastructure. I know the BECC, I was a member of the BECC's Board of Directors, and I was a member of the Evaluation Committee. I can attest to this because I'm a witness that the BECC does an extraordinary job at improving environmental conditions along the border."

Governor Padres-Elias will continue working with the BECC 
Sonora Governor Guillermo Padres-Elias said in the same press conference that he will follow up on environmental programs and will continue working with organizations such as the BECC. "We will continue working on water projects with border agencies that have provided us assistance for the construction of water treatment plants in Nogales."

Governors in attendance at the Conference included Chihuahua Governor Cesar Duarte-Jaquez; Sonora Governor Guillermo Padres-Elias; New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez, and the host, Jose G. Osuna-Millan.

The rest of the states were represented by: Margie Emmerman, Director of the Arizona-Mexico Commission for Arizona; Anna Caballero, Secretary of the State and Consumer Services Agency for California; Jaime Bueno-Zertuche, Director of International Affairs for Coahuila; Jorge Arrambide-Garza, Secretary of Economic Development for Nuevo Leon; and Monica Gonzalez-Garcia, Secretary of Economic Development and Tourism for Tamaulipas.

Undoubtedly, the 29th Annual Border Governors Conference was a significant moment for collaboration for the 10 border states, during which they had the opportunity to articulate what is important for them as individual states and as a region.




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