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Border 2020

State of the Border Region 2016- Indicators Interim Report (December 2016)

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Report Overview:

The State of the Border Region 2016 Interim Report provides information on the status and trends of environmental quality in the U.S.-Mexico border region. In doing so, it also illustrates progress made under the U.S.-Mexico Border 2020 program.

This report builds on the flagship 2005 State of the Border Region report and the 2010 State of the Border Region report. It refreshes and updates key indicators from 2010 and adds new indicators to reflect new areas of Border 2020 focus and activity. As with previous reports, this report is structured around the goals of Border 2020 with chapters on air, water, land, environmental readiness and response, and enforcement and compliance.

Indicators are presented with brief data source information below each indicator. Complete underlying data and details on indicator data sources are available in a companion document, State of the Border Region 2016 Interim Update: Indicator Metadata and Data Tables.

Border 2020
Border 2020 is an eight-year cooperative program between the United States and Mexico. It was initiated in 2013 as a successor to Border 2012. Border 2020’s mission is to “protect the environment and public health in the U.S.-Mexico border region, consistent with the principles of sustainable development.” Through Border 2020, federal, state, tribal, and local institutions and agencies collaboratively work to produce prioritized and sustained actions that consider the needs of border communities. The actions implemented under Border 2020 are guided by a series of results-oriented goals and objectives. Border 2020's goals and objectives were updated at the end of the Border 2012 period to reflect new needs and opportunities in the region.

Border 2020 is the latest cooperative initiative implemented under the 1983 La Paz Agreement. It builds on the previous efforts, particularly Border XXI, which marked the first binational effort to develop environmental indicators for the border region.

Border 2020 Goals

Goal 1: Reduce Air Pollution
Goal 2: Improve Access to Clean and Safe Water
Goal 3: Promote Materials Management, Waste Management, and Clean Sites
Goal 4: Enhance Joint Preparedness for Environmental Response
Goal 5: Enhance Compliance Assurance and Environmental Stewardship
Each of the Border 2020 goals is accompanied by specific objectives and sub-objectives related to specific border environment issues.

How Were Indicators Developed for This Report?
The starting point for indicators included in this report was the 2010 State of the Border Region report. A key guiding principle carried forward from the 2010 report is that indicators should be as relevant as possible to the work of achieving Border 2020 goals and objectives. Border 2020 working groups identified which indicators were most important to update for 2016 and what new indicators should be introduced. Working groups also provided new annual data. In some cases, they updated data originally reported in 2010 where data sources improved or were more complete. As with the 2010 report, the indicator development process focused on identifying comparable binational data specific to the border region (defined as 100 kilometers north and south of the international border). In many cases, data sources and policies differed enough between the U.S. and Mexico that separate but related indicators needed to be reported for both countries. Data specific to the border region were not always available. If they were available, they often were reported at the municipal or county-level or even at the level of U.S. and Mexico border states, requiring data aggregation or interpretation in order to describe the border region.

What Indicators Are Included and How Are They Described?
The first chapter of the report focuses on general information about the border region. It provides the context for many of the current environmental and health challenges in the region. The five chapters that follow present indicators related to specific Border 2020 program goals and objectives.
The graphic on the next page illustrates how indicators are presented in the report. Indicators are grouped according to questions. Each indicator is accompanied by a reference to the indicator type (i.e., pressure, need, output, or outcome as described in the call-out box on this page). For each indicator, the report includes a chart or table to accompany the indicator text. The report identifies the most relevant Border 2020 objective or sub-objective for each group of indicators. Additionally, each indicator description addresses the questions:

  • Why is this indicator important?
  • What is this indicator showing?
  • What influences this indicator and what can be done in the future?
  • What technical considerations are important for understanding this indicator and its limitations?

We hope that you find this report informative and useful, and we invite your feedback on future indicators to help measure environmental quality and environmental health in the border region.

Types of Indicators
Pressure: Indicators that describe human activities that place stresses on the environment.
Need: Indicators that inform our understanding of the magnitude or type of need for a programmatic response.
Output: Indicators that measure activities, products, or services resulting from a project or program.
Outcome: Indicators that measure changes in the state of the environment or the effects of environmental conditions on human and/or ecological health.
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