Letter of Intent between the Department of Interior (DOI) of the United States and the Secretariat of Environment, Natural Resources and Fisheries (SEMARNAP) of the United Mexican States for Joint Work in Natural Protected Areas on the United States-Mexico border, Mexico City, 1997
Done at Mexico City 5 May 1997
Primary source citation: Copy of text provided by the U.S. Department of State
CONSIDERING the long history of cooperation in environmental and natural resource matters between the United States of America and the United Mexican States,
TAKING into account the sovereign right and responsibilities of the Countries over the management and rational use of their natural resources,
DOI and SEMARNAP declare that:
1 By this Letter of Intent, the two agencies plan to expand existing cooperative activities in the conservation of contiguous natural protected areas in the border zone, and to consider new opportunities for cooperation in the protection of natural protected areas on the United States-Mexico border.
2. These actions are to be undertaken within the framework of cooperation existing between both countries, among them, the Agreement between the United States of America and United Mexican States on Cooperation for the Protection and Improvement of the Environment in the Border Area, signed on August 14, 1983; the Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in Management and Protection of National Parks and Other Protected Natural and Cultural Heritage Sites, signed on November 30, 1988; the Memorandum of Understanding Concerning Scientific and Technical Cooperation on Biological Data and Information, signed on May, 1995; and the Memorandum of Understanding establishing the Trilateral Committee for Wildlife and Ecosystem Conservation and Management signed by Mexico, Canada, and the U.S. in April, 1996.
3. Taking into account the recent adoption of the Border XXI Program and the creation of the Natural Resources Workgroup, activities that stem from this Letter of Intent are to be reported to this Workgroup.
4. There is a need to strengthen binational cooperation at the local level and to improve dialogue between federal, state, and local agencies responsible for the administration of protected natural areas, and to strengthen the process for voluntary participation by the communities and social organizations that are interested in protecting the natural riches of these zones and in improving the quality of life of their residents.
5. Cooperation under this Letter of Intent is subject to the existing laws and regulations in effect in each country, and should serve to harmonize activities directed at conservation of biological diversity, cultural resources and ecosystems that are shared along the border between the countries.
6. Cooperation under this Letter of Intent is to be undertaken beginning with two pilot projects in the following natural protected areas and National Parks:
(A) In Mexico, the Biosphere Reserves of the Alto Golfo de California y Delta del Rio Colorado located in Baja California and Sonora and El Pinacate y Gran Desierto de Altar in Sonora, and the adjacent protected areas in the United States, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument in Arizona, Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge in Arizona, Imperial National Wildlife Refuge in California and Arizona, and specific special management areas administered by the Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management;
(B) The wildlife protection areas in Mexico of Maderas del Carmen in Coahuila and Canon de Santa Elena in Chihuahua, and the adjacent protected area in the United States, Big Bend National Park in Texas.
7. Under this Letter of Intent, DOI and SEMARNAP activities may include, but are not limited to, the following:
A) Harmonization and coordination of policies leading to the conservation of natural and cultural resources;
B) The exchange of experience among personnel of the two countries, including methods of assessing and managing resources, training, and the generation of new conservation strategies;
C) The implementation of environmental education and training programs for the communities living on either side of the border, and the encouragement of community participation in conservation activities and the sustainable use of the areas’ natural protected resources;
D) Expansion of the body of scientific knowledge about the protected natural areas, in their regional ecological, cultural, and socioeconomic context, through cooperation in research projects and the development of
mutually-accessible information systems that permit identification of current situation and trends, by monitoring of species, and allows the setting of future priorities for research in shared biological resources;
E) Explore the development of a mechanism for a communications network that permits timely joint response to environmental emergencies, particularly in the case of fires; and
F) Cooperation in each country’s respective inspection and surveillance in order to prevent and control illegal activities affecting the natural and living resources in the natural protected areas.
8. DOI and SEMARNAP plan to strengthen cooperation though this Letter of Intent, consistent with the policies of present or future international and inter-institutional agreements or treaties between the United States of America and the United Mexican States.
This Letter of Intent is signed in duplicate English and Spanish texts, in Mexico City, on this 5th day of May of 1997.
For the Department of the Interior For the Secretariat of Environment,
Natural Resources and Fisheries
BRUCE BABBITT JULIA CARABIAS LILLO