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Public Participation in the BECC: Lessons from the Acuaférico Project, Nogales, Sonora

Maria Carmen de Mello Lemos, Antonio Luna


This paper examines the Acuaférico Project that was proposed by the city of Nogales, in the state of Sonora, Mexico, to upgrade and improve the city's potable water supply system. Because the cities of Nogales, Arizona, and Nogales, Sonora (known as Ambos Nogales) share the same water resources, the Acuaférico Project has transboundary implications. In 1996, Nogales, Sonora, submitted the Acuaférico Project proposal to the Border Environment Cooperation Commission (BECC), which was created by the Mexican and U.S. governments to evaluate and certify sustainable environmental infrastructure projects in the border region. This study focuses on the Acuaférico Project certification process and, more specifically, on BECC's public participation requirements prior to project submission. It concludes that although the BECC certification process has positively affected policymaking in Ambos Nogales, in order to encourage further community participation and policymakers' responsiveness, the Commission must strictly enforce its mandate for public involvement in project certification.

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Print ISSN: 0886-5655
Online ISSN: 2159-1229