For Immediate Release Wednesday, September 29, 1993
Mexico, World Bank Sign $4 Billion Environmental Agreement
"This is the first of what I expect will be a long series of
actions," Secretary of the Treasury Lloyd Bentsen stated yesterday, "to
deal with the critical subject of strengthening environmental
protections both in Mexico generally and along the border in
particular." Secretary Bentsen looked on as the Government of Mexico
and the World Bank signed an agreement which would direct $4 billion to
the enforcement of Mexico's environmental laws, and improving
environmental conditions along the border. The World Bank pledged $1.8
billion in loans over the next three years, with the Mexican Government
committing matching funds of $2.2 billion (matching both World Bank and
Inter- American Development Bank commitments).
The new program will support two sets of initiatives. First,
assistance will be provided to regions of Mexico where an integrated,
comprehensive effort on a range of environmental problems is needed.
One such region is the border with the U.S. Secondly, specific sectors
-- water supply, solid waste management, toxic waste control, natural
resource management and biodiversity protection -- will be improved.
Mexico's border with the U.S. will be among the first areas to
receive attention. The first step in this process is a proposed
project for which the World Bank would provide approximately $350
million with an additional $350 million provided by the Mexican
Government. It would support investment in environmental
infrastructure and strengthening of Mexico's environmental institutions
while concentrating on the 14 sister cities along the border. Funding
would include improvements in water supply and sanitation coverage,
financing the closing of illegal solid waste dump sites, as well as the
construction of solid waste recycling and disposal facilities.
Mexican Finance Minister Pedro Aspe committed the Mexican
Government "to build a pipeline of projects that in three years will
represent $1.8 billion in loans from the World Bank. Adding up the
Mexican matching funds, we will be able to allocate around $4 billion
to these environmental projects." The Mexican Government has pledged
to match dollar-for-dollar any multilateral development bank funds.
The market for environmental products and services in Mexico was
estimated at approximately $1.1 billion in 1992, more than 200 percent
larger than in 1986. The market is expected to expand at an average of
20 percent a year from 1992 to 1994 to approximately $1.5 billion --
providing thousands of jobs for U.S. workers in one of the core
industries of the 21st century.