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BECC and NADB recognized for their roles as key partners in Border 2020

Posted on September 11, 2012

Various stakeholders at the plenary sessions and different workgroup meetings of the Border 2012 National Coordinators Meetings held in Tijuana on August 7th through 9th recognized the importance of the BECC and NADB as partners in the now-expired program and the new Program to be completed by 2020.

In the context of the environmental program, “the greatest achievement is to have completed a plan and to have started a new one,” said in an interview Juan Rafael Elvira, Mexico’s Secretary of the Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT). He pointed out that completing Border 2012 was momentous for both countries, particularly to improve drinking water supply and wastewater treatment, which in the case of Mexico –sanitation- rose from 50% to almost 90%, which is a spectacular achievement.”

Additional improvements include proper solid waste and hazardous waste management, remediation of contaminated sites, and finally, having brought together in the Plan the local and state governments of Mexico and the U.S., the academic sector, indigenous groups, and the community at large. He highlighted that Border 2020 includes some of the indicators and goals of the previous program, except that from 2013 to 2020 the program will incorporate several key elements such as expanding awareness of the program into the entire community and increasing transparency, continuing to procure financial resources, and specifically, a component that is important for Mexico: achieving environmental compliance. Like in his speech during the opening ceremony, Secretary Elvira emphasized that there should be “very accurate” indicators to measure progress in each goal, to achieve environmental improvements and better public health rates.

Finally, he recognized the role of the BECC and NADB, “which are financial and technical links that allow the projects to flow. They are critical, inasmuch as without money, the projects would only amount to good wishes; financial resources help to launch the projects with our feet firmly on the ground, and the community can see that,” he said.

Enrique Lendo Presents Mexico's vision of Border 2020.In another interview, representatives of the National Coordinators –Enrique Lendo, Head of SEMARNAT’s International Affairs Coordinating Unit, and Michael Stahl, Deputy Assistant Administrator of EPA’s Office of International and Tribal Affairs, reiterated the successful outcome of the previous program and the level of binational cooperation achieved. Enrique Lendo underscored the renewed commitment of the leaders of the U.S. and Mexico environmental agencies, Lisa Jackson and Juan Rafael Elvira, to continue this line of cooperation under Border 2020. Michael Stahl noted that “the time and energy invested by the two governments is leading to very positive environmental and health outcomes for border residents.” This is a group that “not only studies the issues, but also resolves them,” and this is one of the reasons for the success of the Border 2012 Program, and the following program, Border 2020, will be equally successful. The Mexican official also said that one of the issues highlighted during the negotiations of the new program was that it should have more visibility and consequently, internal and external communication is an issue that will be given the highest priority, as it will be a results-measuring program with very accurate indicators, which was also noted by the U.S. official.

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said in a press conference that the success of the Border 2012 Program allows us to be optimistic in celebrating the launching of the new Border 2020 Program, and there is no better way to honor the hard work and results,” of key partners like SEMARNAT, BECC, and NADB, the academic sector, non-governmental organizations, and state and local governments. She said the program should continue, and she recognized the critical role that the BECC and NADB have played and will continue playing as financial agents for border environmental projects.

Jane Nishida, Director of EPA's Bilateral Affairs.During an interview, EPA’s Director of Bilateral Affairs, Jane Nishida, described the strategic role that the BECC and NADB must play by linking their goals with those of Border 2020. She said this is how the issue was addressed at the last meeting of the BECC/NADB Board of Directors in July, which she attended on behalf of EPA, “to improve the channeling of efforts and better serve the border.”

During his final press conference, where he thanked SEMARNAT and EPA leaders for their visit, Governor Jose Guadalupe Osuna said: “we will continue working through the Nadbank (NADB) and the BECC to continue landing projects here on the border.”

Comments made during the ceremony indicated that under the Border 2020 Program, the United States and Mexico will work together on the basis of six fundamental strategies: capacity building on climate change; protect disadvantaged communities; improve children’s health; promote environmental health; and strengthen tribal, state, federal, and international partnerships to supplement the programs’ mission and strategic goals.

BECC General Manager Maria Elena Giner with Secretary of the Environment and Natural Resources Juan Rafael Elvira.For BECC General Manager, Maria Elena Giner, the joint work of this institution with “great partners like EPA, SEMARNAT, state governments and CONAGUA,” has allowed us to have, along with the NADB, “a major influence that is evident on the results achieved thus far.” She said in an interview that it has been particularly gratifying “to see the evolution of the two institutions and how they have been recognized as major players in the improvement of environmental and human health conditions along the border with programs that have had the leadership of the U.S. and Mexico federal governments.”




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