Christopher A. Scott, Jordyn White, and Heather Kreidler, Editors
Committee on Sustainability Partnerships in the
U.S.–Mexico Drylands Region
Board on Environmental Change and Society
Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education
A Consensus Study Report of
Academia Mexicana de Ciencias, Academia de Ingeniería de México,
y Academia Nacional de Medicina de México
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 Fifth Street, NW Washington, DC 20001
This activity was supported by contracts between the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, the Mexican Academies, the George and Cynthia Mitchell Endowment for Sustainability Sciences at the U.S. National Academy of Sciences (unnumbered), and the National Academy of Sciences W.K. Kellogg Foundation Fund (unnumbered). Support for the work of the Board on Environmental Change and Society is provided primarily by a grant from the National Science Foundation (Award No. BCS-1744000). Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of any organization or agency that provided support for the project.
International Standard Book Number-13: 978-0-309-29087-6
International Standard Book Number-10: 0-309-29087-2
Digital Object Identifier: https://doi.org/10.17226/26070
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Suggested citation: National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. (2021). Advancing United States–Mexico Binational Sustainability Partnerships. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/26070.
The National Academy of Sciences was established in 1863 by an Act of Congress, signed by President Lincoln, as a private, nongovernmental institution to advise the nation on issues related to science and technology. Members are elected by their peers for outstanding contributions to research. Dr. Marcia McNutt is president.
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Consensus Study Reports published by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine document the evidence-based consensus on the study’s statement of task by an authoring committee of experts. Reports typically include findings, conclusions, and recommendations based on information gathered by the committee and the committee’s deliberations. Each report has been subjected to a rigorous and independent peer-review process and it represents the position of the National Academies on the statement of task.
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The Academia Mexicana de Ciencias (Mexican Academy of Sciences) was established in 1959 as a nonprofit, nongovernmental organization to promote scientific culture in society and to advise the nation on issues related to science and technology. Members are elected by their peers for their distinguished contributions to research. Dr. Susana Lizano-Soberón is president. Website: www.amc.mx
The Academia de Ingeniería de México (Mexican Academy of Engineering) created in 1972, is a nonprofit organization that brings together experts with a great sense of social responsibility, who have excelled in practice, research, and teaching of engineering, and contribute to the sustainable development of Mexico. Members are elected by their peers for their contributions to engineering. Dr. Agustín Álvarez-Icaza Longoría is president. Website: www.ai.org.mx
The Academia Nacional de Medicina de México (National Academy of Medicine of Mexico), established in 1864, is a nonprofit organization that promotes teaching and research in the field of medicine, and gives advice to professionals, health authorities, and the general public. Members are elected by their peers for their contributions to research and teaching in medicine and public health. Dr. José Halabe Cherem is president. Website: www.anmm.org.mx
COMMITTEE ON SUSTAINABILITY PARTNERSHIPS IN THE U.S.–MEXICO DRYLANDS REGION
CHRISTOPHER A. SCOTT (Chair), Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy, University of Arizona
BERNARD AMADEI, University of Colorado Boulder (resigned on 3/20/2020)
ANTHONY BEBBINGTON, Clark University Graduate School of Geography
ROBERT BULLARD, Texas Southern University (resigned on 4/6/2020)
ALFONSO ANDRÉS CORTEZ-LARA, El Colegio de la Frontera Norte-Sede Mexicali
ALMA COTA DE YÁÑEZ, FESAC Fundación del Empresariado, Sonorense, A.C.
HALLIE EAKIN, School of Sustainability, Arizona State University
CONSTANTINO DE JESÚS MACÍAS GARCIA, Instituto de Ecología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México
NATALIA MARTÍNEZ-TAGÜEÑA, Instituto Potosino de Investigación Científica y Tecnológica
BENJAMIN L. PRESTON, RAND Corporation (resigned on 9/28/2020)
ROGER S. PULWARTY, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
EXEQUIEL ROLÓN, Fresnillo PLC
KELLY TWOMEY SANDERS, Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Southern California
ELISABETH HUBER-SANNWALD, Instituto Potosino de Investigación Científica y Tecnológica
JORDYN WHITE, Study Director
TOBY WARDEN, Board Director
ADAM K. JONES, Senior Program Assistant
TINA M. LATIMER, Program Coordinator
HEATHER KREIDLER, Project Consultant
JOSÉ FRANCO, Project Consultant (Mexican Academies Representative)
JOSÉ LUIS MORÁN, Project Consultant (Mexican Academies Representative)
RENATA VILLALBA, Program Associate (Mexican Academies Representative)
BOARD ON ENVIRONMENTAL CHANGE AND SOCIETY
KRISTIE L. EBI (Chair), Center for Health and the Global Environment (CHanGE), University of Washington, Seattle
HALLIE C. EAKIN, School of Sustainability, Arizona State University
LORI M. HUNTER, Institute of Behavioral Science, University of Colorado, Boulder
KATHARINE L. JACOBS, Center for Climate Adaptation Science and Solutions and Department of Soil, Water, and Environmental Science, University of Arizona
MICHAEL ANTHONY MENDEZ, Department of Urban Planning and Public Policy, University of California, Irvine
RICHARD G. NEWELL, Resources for the Future, Washington, DC
ASEEM PRAKASH, College of Arts and Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle
MAXINE L. SAVITZ, Technology/Partnership Honeywell Inc. (retired), Los Angeles, CA
MICHAEL P. VANDENBERGH, School of Law, Vanderbilt University
JALONNE L. WHITE-NEWSOME, Empowering a Green Environment and Economy, LLC, Troy, MI
CATHY L. WHITLOCK, Paleoecology Lab, Montana State University
ROBYN S. WILSON, School of Environment and Natural Resources, The Ohio State University
TOBY WARDEN, Director
This Consensus Study Report was reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in making each published report as sound as possible and to ensure that it meets the institutional standards for quality, objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process.
We thank the following individuals for their review of this report: Elena Centeno García, UNAM Center for Mexican Studies, University of Arizona, Centro de Estudios Mexicanos UNAM Tucson, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México; Katharine L. Jacobs, Center for Climate Adaptation Science and Solutions, Arizona Institutes for Resilience, University of Arizona; Stephen P. Mumme, Department of Political Science, Colorado State University; Nicolás Pineda-Pablos, Department of Government and Public Policy, El Colegio de Sonora, México; Alexis Racelis, Department of Biology, College of Sciences, The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley; and Sandi Rosenbloom, School of Architecture, The University of Texas at Austin.
Although the reviewers listed above provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations of this report nor did they see the final draft before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Susan Hanson, Department of Geography, Clark University, and Arun Agrawal, School for Environment and Sustainability, University of Michigan. They were responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with the standards of the National Academies and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content rests entirely with the authoring committee and the National Academies.
Individually, each country’s National Academies bring together expertise in science, engineering, and medicine to devise evidence-based solutions to pressing national challenges. Less frequently, challenges that are global or transboundary in nature may be addressed through national efforts. And in even rarer circumstances, challenges that are identified as being binational in their ambit and that require binational expertise for their solutions are the subject of collaboration by two countries’ National Academies. This consensus study is one such rare case.
The present report and the process behind it represent a pioneering example of binational cooperation, in which the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine and the Mexican Academy of Sciences, Academy of Engineering, and National Academy of Medicine jointly identified drylands sustainability as a challenge that affects an extensive region including but not limited to the two nations’ border. More importantly, both countries’ National Academies recognized that diagnosis, assessment, engagement, and solution needed to be not just binational but also interdisciplinary, involving experts with varied training, as well as transdisciplinary, building on expertise from civil society and the private sector. Further, to demonstrate its global relevance, the study assesses U.S. and Mexican challenges in the context of global sustainable development as defined by the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, and in particular Goal 17, which calls for multi-stakeholder, cross-sectoral partnerships between governments, the private sector, and civil society.
What further makes this study anomalous is the particular juncture in time at which it was implemented. Although background efforts, preparation, and prior consultations occurred in person, the first formal meeting of the Consensus Study Committee was held at the Mexican Academy of Sciences in Mexico City in March 2020, coinciding with the March 2020 declaration by the World Health Organization of COVID-19 as a global pandemic. In these circumstances, the drafting of the study design required flexibility and innovation, two of the very characteristics that, the study found, were essential for the sustainability partnerships on which it focused. The U.S. and Mexican Academies and the Committee recognized the implications of COVID-19 for safety, security, and mobility as well as the opportunities it posed. The process rapidly pivoted to a virtual study conducted remotely with a single webinar, organized to serve to inform committee deliberations as the empirical basis of the findings presented. This report would not have been possible without the input and commitment of stakeholders who shared their experiences at that July 2020 webinar. The committee anticipates that the extensive consultations they conducted exclusively online have enriched the deliberations and served to strengthen the binational and transdisciplinary nature of the report.
The Committee would also like to express appreciation to everyone who worked enthusiastically and tirelessly to craft this report, as well as the George and Cynthia Mitchell Endowment for Sustainability Sciences in collaboration with the Mexican Academy of Sciences, Academy of Engineering of Mexico, and National Academy of Medicine of Mexico for sponsoring this study. The report was greatly improved by the views, comments, and suggestions offered by the external reviewers. The committee is also indebted to the contributions of the Roundtable on Science and Technology for Sustainability. The committee expresses appreciation for the opportunity to work with José Luis Morán and Estela Susana Lizano Soberón from the Mexican Academy of Sciences, and gratefully acknowledges José Franco and Renata Villalba from the Mexican Academy of Sciences for their guidance and support. The committee is also thankful for the leadership and guidance provided by the project staff of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, including Jordyn White, the study director, along with Toby Warden, Adam Jones, and Daniel Talmage. Finally, we are grateful to our two consultants, Elisabeth Huber-Sannwald and Heather Kreidler.
Christopher A. Scott, Chair
Committee on Sustainability Partnerships in the U.S.–Mexico Drylands Region