In an effort to formally start work on the first integral diagnosis of the U.S.-Mexico border, an agreement of general collaboration was signed recently in Tijuana, Mexico, between the Comision para Asuntos de la Frontera Norte (CAFN) and the Colegio de la Frontera Norte (COLEF).
Through this agreement, Presidential Commissioner Ernesto Ruffo Appel and Dr. Jorge Santibáñez Romellón of COLEF have started working on a series of academic forums that are part of a diagnostic study of the challenges and opportunities faced by the U.S.-Mexico border region.
Dr. José A. Pagán, director of the Center for Border Economic Studies at The University of Texas-Pan American, is part of the organizing committee of these forums and has collaborated with COLEF researchers over the last year in developing the methodology for the diagnostic study.
"It will be the first time, that this region - including northern Mexico and the southeastern United States - will start to establish policies like the integral diagnosis and a posterior plan for the north border, which lets us define a path so the different institutions could count with more real programs for this region," said Ruffo Appel.
Ruffo Appel said with this study, the region could be incorporated to a whole vision of the U.S.-Mexico border. The study will provide the general guidelines needed for governors and border mayors - as well as American congressmen and senators - so they can rely on solid bases for a true path to development of their projects and proposals.
Santibáñez highlighted the importance of the development of the region during the last few years, as 12 million people live in the border counties.
He also said this first forum-workshop was developed through eight issues: population, health and education, immigration, economic development, urban development, water, natural resources and the environment, the labor market, public safety, and international-local interaction.
A second forum-workshop for the border diagnostic study recently followed in Monterrey to congregate academic researchers of the northeast region. Two other forums will be conducted in Tijuana and Monterrey that will include representatives from the border communities as well as the public and private sectors. The final document will be completed by March.
Other forum-workshop participants included Dr. Víctor Alejandro Espinoza Valle, COLEF; Dr. Víctor Adán López Camacho, Chief of the Unit for Planning, Assessment of Projects and Financial Assistance of the CAFN; and Carlos Fernández Ruiz, Chief of the Unit for Promotion and Economic Development of the CAFN.
Designed to develop strategies for sustainable economic development along the 2,000-mile U.S.-Mexico border, the Center for Border Economic Studies, or CBEST, was made possible by a $1 million Economic Development Administration (EDA) grant, awarded to UTPA during the August U.S.-Mexico Border Summit .
CBEST-affiliated scholars will conduct policy-oriented research in four areas: regional economic development and trade, the labor market and immigration, health and environmental policy, and information technology.
For more information, contact Pagán at 956/318-5371.