Second Binational Forum Leads to Creation of Municipal Governance Agency in Mexico

In an effort to build a globally competitive "megaregion," local government leaders in Arizona and Sonora signed a partnering agreement Friday to create the Arizona-Sonora Binational Megaregion. As outlined in the charter, the megaregion creates a means for the two states to "build mutual understanding, share knowledge, and develop social capital in the process of setting policy direction." In another historic event at the forum, municipalities in Sonora formed a governance organization similar to the League of Arizona Cities and Towns, the first of its kind for the Mexican state.

The two-day forum, which was held in Nogales, Sonora, Mexico, attracted 230 participants, including 30 mayors from Sonora and 32 elected officials from Arizona. The Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) helped organize the trip for elected officials and business leaders from Arizona, in cooperation with statewide planning organizations.

"With the knowledge that, historically, our state and the neighboring state of Arizona share economic and social relations that are vital, we seek to consolidate ourselves into a single region through an ambitious project," said Nogales, Sonora, Mayor Ramón Guzmán Muñoz, who hosted the event.

"This event was a potential game-changer on both sides of the border," said Youngtown Mayor Michael Levault, vice chair of the MAG Regional Council. "Reaching out to our counterparts in a megaregion of this magnitude is important on many levels. It's important not only in improving trade, but also in improving trust," said LeVault, who added that working to improve the economy in Mexico will create a stronger border economy. "For the first time in history, Mexico is close to establishing a true middle class," he said.

Phoenix Councilmember Michael Nowakowski said he looks forward to building on the concept of a megaregion. "With the significant assets we have in Arizona, such as Sky Harbor International Airport, the city of Phoenix stands ready to work with the mayors in Sonora to create a world-class megaregion," he said.

During the forum Mayor Guzmán announced the formation of La Asociación de Alcades de Sonora (Association of Mayors of Sonora), which will establish municipal priorities for cities and towns in the state of Sonora. League of Arizona Cities and Towns Director Ken Strobeck congratulated the mayors on the move.

"We are excited to see our counterparts taking this action. This association will enable municipal governments throughout the state of Sonora to work together for the well-being of their citizens," said Strobeck. "Local government is the form of government closest to the people and this new organization will help promote cooperation and the sharing of successful ideas."

Strobeck formally invited the mayors to attend the League's Annual Conference August 19-22, 2014, the next step in the relationship building effort.

For more information on the forum, contact: Kelly Taft at (602) 452-5020.

League of Arizona Cities and Towns
1820 W. Washington St.
Phoenix, AZ  85007
Phone: 602-258-5786
Fax: 602-253-3874

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