EPA and SEMARNAT Commit to Improving Environment and Public Health Along the U.S.-Mexico Border

WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and its counterpart in Mexico, the Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT), virtually held their first public National Coordinators meeting under the Border 2025 U.S.-Mexico Environmental Program. The National Coordinators for the U.S. and Mexico shared their environmental priorities of tackling climate,  addressing environmental justice and equity, and being more inclusive of Mexico’s indigenous and Afro-Mexican communities in solving environmental challenges.

“Binational collaboration is key in tackling environmental and public health challenges along the U.S.-Mexico border,” said Assistant Administrator for the Office of International and Tribal Affairs Jane Nishida. “EPA is committed to working with our counterparts in Mexico, as well as our state, local, and Tribal partners, and key stakeholders, to protect the health and safety of the vulnerable and underserved communities along the border.”

The Regional Coordinators announced the Border 2025 projects selected and awarded  for the border communities of Arizona and California, and in Mexico for the states of Sonora and Baja California and shared information on pending projects to be awarded for the border region. New environmental efforts address air monitoring and health surveillance, wastewater reuse design, waste management relating to community workshops that train community residents to manage household waste and evaluating emergency sister-city contingency plans.  The meeting also included a binational roundtable on environmental justice through community participation where the public had the opportunity to share priorities and concerns about the Border 2025 Program.

“For Mexico, it is very important to build binational solutions by engaging, listening and deciding jointly with indigenous and local communities on both sides of the border to recognize the knowledge they have of their territory, guarantee the right to a healthy environment and promote environmental justice for the most vulnerable communities in both countries,” said Miguel Ángel Zerón, Head of the International Affairs Coordination Unit of SEMARNAT and Mexico’s National Coordinator.

Border 2025 is the latest environmental program implemented under the 1983 La Paz Agreement. The Program emphasizes a regional and community-level bottom-up approach for decision making, priority setting, and project implementation to address the environmental and public health challenges in the border region.  The Border 2025 Program also strengthens its focus and efforts in areas where environmental improvements are needed most such as clean and healthy air, clean and safe water, sustainable materials management, and emergency preparedness and response. 

For more information on the U.S.-Mexico Border Program, please visit: https://www.epa.gov/usmexicoborder 

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