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Transborder Planning and Development Symposium

Posted on July 01, 2013

Transborder Planning and Development Symposium

BECC and NADB participate in the “Transborder Planning and Development: Expressions and Measurements” symposium

On February 21 and 22, Jorge Silva from the North American Development Bank (NADB) and Gonzalo Bravo from the Border Environment Cooperation Commission (BECC) took part in the symposium “Transborder Planning and Development: Expressions and Measurements,” hosted by the Alliance for Transborder Studies at the Colegio de la Frontera Norte  facilities in Tijuana, Baja California.

The purpose of the symposium was to examine and discuss the concept of cross-border planning and development, review the differences between the two countries, and identify whether progress is a coincidence or in fact the result of efforts undertaken by two territories that share common transborder socioeconomic ties.

The BECC official, along with Andy Carey from the U.S.-Mexico Border Philanthropy Partnership, was a participant in the panel discussion “Border Status: Quality of Life,” led by Francisco Lara-Valencia, a research professor at the Arizona State University School of Transborder Studies. The symposium was also attended by the BECC Deputy General Manager, José Mario Sánchez Soledad.

On behalf of NADB, Silva took part in the panel discussion “State of the Border: Competitiveness,” led by Christopher Wilson, an associate researcher at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Mexico Institute. A second panelist was David Mayagoitia, President of the Tijuana Economic and Industrial Development organization.

NADB and COLEF have long collaborated on various projects and are currently working on the development of a platform for the Transborder Information System that will be used to support the dissemination of economic, social, and environmental information related to the U.S.-Mexico border.

The Alliance for Transborder Studies includes the Colegio de la Frontera Norte, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Mexico Institute (Washington, D.C.), and the Arizona State University School of Transborder Studies. Its purpose is to promote informed decision-making by key border stakeholders. The Alliance sponsors the U.S.-Mexico Cross-Border Cooperation and Innovation Annual Award, among other activities.

The BECC official recognized that these transborder indicators produced by the Alliance are undoubtedly a valuable tool for scholars of border issues and decision makers.

He noted that six years ago the BECC, relying on the work of a former COLEF associate, Tomas Balarezo, made an effort to quantify the basic environmental infrastructure needs along the border, especially in the areas of water, wastewater, and solid waste in the six Mexican border states. According to these data, the backlog in these areas in the 300-kilometer border region is estimated at $1.47 million dollars –an average of $250 million dollars per state–.

This bi-national outcome, the BECC official said, especially in the water and wastewater areas, results from the work of key institutional stakeholders such as the United States Environmental Protection Agency, Mexico’s Secretariat of the Environment and Natural Resources, the National Water Commission, and the state, city, and county governments.

Regarding the quality of life indicator presented by Francisco Lara, which includes four dimensions –Economic Opportunities, Education and Culture, Health, and Community Life– and is based on a methodology that uses similar parameters for both sides of the border, the BECC panelist said that it represents a step forward to better understand this dynamic and it will certainly help the BECC and the NADB in their task of developing and funding environmental infrastructure projects.




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