United States-Mexico Agreement on the
Environment in the Border Area
August 14, 1983
Agreement Between the United States of America and the United Mexican States on Cooperation for the Protection and Improvement of the Environment in the Border Area
The United States of America and the United Mexican States,
Recognizing the importance of a healthful environment to the long-term economic and social well-being of present and future generations of each country as well as of the global community;
Recalling that the Declaration of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment, proclaimed in Stockholm in 1972, called upon nations to collaborate to resolve environmental problems of common concern;
Noting previous agreements and programs providing for environmental cooperation between the two countries;
Believing that such cooperation is of mutual benefit in coping with similar environmental problems in each country;
Acknowledging the important work of the International Boundary and Water Commission and the contribution of the agreements concluded between the two countries relating to environmental affairs;
Reaffirming their political will to further strengthen and demonstrate the importance attached by both Governments to cooperation on environmental protection and in furtherance of the principle of good neighborliness;
Have agreed as follows:
The United States of America and the United Mexican States, hereinafter referred to as the Parties, agree to cooperate in the field of environmental protection in the border area on the basis of equality, reciprocity and mutual benefit. The objectives of the present Agreement are to establish the basis for cooperation between the Parties for the protection, improvement and conservation of the environment and the problems which affect it, as well as to agree on necessary measures to prevent and control pollution in the border area, and to provide the framework for development of a system of notification for emergency situations. Such objectives shall be pursued without prejudice to the cooperation which the Parties may agree to undertake outside the border area.
The Parties undertake, to the fullest extent practical, to adopt the appropriate measures to prevent, reduce and eliminate sources of pollution in their respective territory which affect the border area of the other. Additionally, the Parties shall cooperate in the solution of the environmental problems of mutual concern in the border area, in accordance with the provisions of this Agreement.
Pursuant to this Agreement, the Parties may conclude specific arrangements for the solution of common problems in the border area, which may be annexed thereto. Similarly, the Parties may also agree upon annexes to this Agreement on technical matters.
For the purposes of this Agreement, it shall be understood that the “border area” refers to the area situated 100 kilometers on either side of the inland and maritime boundaries between the Parties.
The Parties agree to coordinate their efforts, in conformity with their own national legislation and existing bilateral agreements to address problems of air, land and water pollution in the border area.
To implement this Agreement, the Parties shall consider and, as appropriate, pursue in a coordinated manner practical, legal, institutional and technical measures for protecting the quality of the environmental in the border area. Forms of cooperation may include: coordination of national programs; scientific and educational exchanges; environmental monitoring; environmental impact assessment; and periodic exchanges of information and data on likely sources of pollution in their respective territory which may produce environmentally polluting incidents, as defined in an annex to this Agreement.
The Parties shall assess, as appropriate, in accordance with their respective national laws, regulations and policies, projects that may have significant impacts on the environment of the border area, so that appropriate measures may be considered to avoid or mitigate adverse environmental effects.
Each Party designates a national coordinator whose principal functions will be to coordinate and monitor implementation of this Agreement, make recommendations to the Parties, and organize the annual meetings referred to in Article 10, and the meetings of the experts referred to in Article 11. Additional responsibilities of the national coordinators may be agreed to in an annex to this Agreement.
In the case of the United States of America the national coordinator shall be the Environmental Protection Agency, and in the case of Mexico it shall be the Secretaria de Desarrollo Urbano y Ecologia, through the Subsecretaria de Ecologia.
Taking into account the subjects to be examined jointly, the national coordinators may invite, as appropriate, representatives of federal, state and municipal governments to participate in the meetings provided for in this Agreement. By mutual agreement they may also invite representatives of international governmental or nongovernmental organizations who may be able to contribute some element of expertise on problems to be solved.
The national coordinators will determine by mutual agreement the form and manner of participation of nongovernmental entities.
The Parties shall hold at a minimum an annual high level meeting to review the manner in which this Agreement is being implemented. These meetings shall take place alternately in the border area of Mexico and the United States of America.
The composition of the delegations which represent each Party, both in these annual meetings as well as in the meetings of experts referred to in Article 11, will be communicated to the other Party through diplomatic channels.
The Parties may, as they deem necessary, convoke meetings of experts for the purposes of coordinating their national programs referred to in Article 6, and of preparing the drafts of the specific arrangements and technical annexes referred to in Article 3.
These meetings of experts may review technical subjects. The opinions of the experts in such meetings shall be communicated by them to the national coordinators, and will serve to advise the Parties on technical matters.
Each Party shall ensure that its national coordinator is informed of activities of its cooperating agencies carried out under this Agreement. Each Party shall also ensure that its national coordinator is informed of the implementation of other agreements concluded between the two Governments concerning matters related to this Agreement. The national coordinators of both Parties will present to the annual meetings a report on the environmental aspects of all joint work conducted under this Agreement and on implementation of other relevant agreements between the Parties, both bilateral and multilateral.
Nothing in this Agreement shall prejudice or otherwise affect the functions entrusted to the International Boundary and Water Commission, in accordance with the Water Treaty of 1944.
Each Party shall be responsible for informing its border states and for consulting them in accordance with their respective constitutional systems, in relation to matters covered by this Agreement.
Unless otherwise agreed, each Party shall bear the cost of its participation in the implementation of this Agreement, including the expenses of personnel who participate in any activity undertaken on the basis of it. For the training of personnel, the transfer of equipment and the construction of installations related to the implementation of this Agreement, the Parties may agree on a special modality of financing, taking into account the objectives defined in this Agreement.
The Parties shall facilitate the entry of equipment and personnel related to this Agreement, subject to the laws and regulations of the receiving country.
In order to undertake the monitoring of polluting activities in the border area, the Parties shall undertake consultations relating to the measurement and analysis of polluting elements in the border area.
All technical information obtained through the implementation of this Agreement will be available to both Parties. Such information may be made available to third parties by the mutual agreement of the Parties to this Agreement.
Nothing in this Agreement shall be construed to prejudice other existing or future agreements concluded between the two Parties, or affect the rights and obligations of the Parties under international agreements to which they are a party.
Activities under this Agreement shall be subject to the availability of funds and other resources to each Party and to the applicable laws and regulations in each country.
The present Agreement shall enter into force upon an exchange of Notes stating that each Party has completed its necessary internal procedures.
The present Agreement shall remain in force indefinitely unless one of the Parties notifies the other, through diplomatic channels, of its desire to denounce it, in which case the Agreement will terminate six months after the date of such written notification. Unless otherwise agreed, such termination shall not affect the validity of any arrangements made under this Agreement.
This Agreement may be amended by the agreement of the Parties.
The adoption of the annexes and of the specific arrangements provided for in Article 3, and the amendments thereto, will be effected by an exchange of Notes.
This Agreement supersedes the exchange of Notes, concluded on June 19, 1978 with the attached Memorandum of Understanding between the Environmental Protection Agency of the United States and the Subsecretariat for Environmental Improvement of Mexico for Cooperation on Environmental Programs and Transboundary Problems.
Done, in duplicate, in the city of La Paz, Baja California, Mexico, on the 14th of August of 1983, in the English and Spanish languages, both texts being equally authentic.
Note: President Reagan and President de la Madrid of Mexico signed the agreement during their appearance before reporters in the Baja California Sur Legislative Chambers in La Paz, Mexico.