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Project Information

Project Information

Advancing Sustainability of US – Mexico Transboundary Drylands – A Workshop

Project Scope:

An ad hoc steering committee from the U.S. and Mexico will plan and conduct a 2-day, open bi-national workshop aimed at advancing sustainability science in the shared drylands region.  The workshop will highlight existing sustainability research in the region, identify opportunities to address gaps in research through use-inspired research initiatives, and explore the following questions:
•  What are the key sustainability challenges and vulnerabilities facing stakeholders in the Mexico-U.S. drylands region (defined as the border region as well as adjoining drylands with shared ecological characteristics, natural-resource based activities (e.g., mining, irrigated agriculture) and socio-economic characteristics)?
•  What are the bi-national and regional research and sustainability approaches that are already in place to address these challenges?
•  What are the potential binational priorities for research that could advance use-inspired research to promote sustainable development in this region, such as adaptive water management, health ecosystems, strengthening local and regional economics, including community and population resilience, and reducing impacts on vulnerable populations?
A proceedings of the presentations and discussions from the workshop will be prepared by a designated rapporteur and published following the National Academies' policies and procedures for such publications, including the standard review procedures.  The proceedings will be a joint document published in English by the National Academies Press and in Spanish by the Mexican Academy of Sciences and will be used to help stimulate interest in additional bi-national collaborations.

Status: Completed


RSO: Warden, Toby M

Geographic Focus:
North America

Committee Membership

Christopher A. Scott - (Chair)
CHRISTOPHER SCOTT (Chair) is Director of the Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy at the University of Arizona, where he is also Professor of Water Resources Geography and Director of the CAZMEX consortium that supports applied research in the binational US-Mexico drylands. He is an interdisciplinary scholar with 200 publications and 10 co-edited books on water resources and policy, water reuse, the water-energy-food nexus, transboundary water and climate adaptation, and global change. He has served as Principal Investigator (PI) for collaborative research projects supported by the Inter-American Institute for Global Change Research, National Science Foundation, Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research, WaterReuse Foundation, and Mexico’s Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (CONACyT), and has served as Co-PI for projects supported by the U.S. Agency for International Development, U.S. National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration, and U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, among others. From 2001-05 he was the Asia Regional Director of the International Water Management Institute (IWMI). In 2001 Dr. Scott founded the AQUASEC Center of Excellence for Water Security, a virtual center and network of researchers and decision-makers. He holds PhD and MS degrees in hydrology from Cornell University, and BS and BA degrees from Swarthmore College.
Alfonso A. Cortez-Lara
ALFONSO CORTEZ LARA is a Professor of Urban and Environmental Studies at El Colegio de la Frontera Norte (COLEF) in Mexico. He is also an international consultant on environmental and water management and projects for the World Bank, Japan International Cooperation Agency, North America Development Bank, Commission for Border Ecological Cooperation, Commission State Water, Tacon CONTEC Israel-Ecuador, and the Ford Foundation. He served as COLEF’s regional director in Mexicali from 1998-2002, and is a Level II member of the Consejo Nacional De Ciencia y Tecnología’s (CONACYT) National System of Researchers. He has authored and co-authored numerous articles on climate change and on binational water management between the U.S. and Mexico. Dr. Cortez received his PhD in resource development from Michigan State University.
Hallie C. Eakin
HALLIE EAKIN is a senior sustainability scientist and associate professor in the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability at Arizona State University. Her recent research investigated economic globalization, agricultural change, and rural vulnerability to climate in the context of comparative international projects involving case studies in Mexico, Argentina, Guatemala, and Honduras. Dr. Eakin has consulted with the World Bank, the United States Agency for International Development, and the United States Environmental Protection Agency on projects in agricultural development, the use of seasonal forecasting in drought risk mitigation, and adaptation to anticipated climate-change impacts on urban water availability. She received a BA in environmental studies from Brown University, and an MA and PhD in geography from the University of Arizona.
Constantino M. Garcia
CONSTANTINO MACÍAS GARCIA is a full time researcher and the director of the Instituto de Ecología at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM). His work has focused primarily on sexual selection, trying to help understanding the origin and consequences of male ornamentation, which he studies in fish and in birds. More recently he has also studied the evolutionary consequences of animals’ adaptation to the conditions imposed by mankind on the environment, such as noise pollution and the omnipresence of rubbish. His work appears regularly in learned journals. Dr. Macías is a researcher in the ecology department at UNAM and a level III researcher in the National System of Researchers. He received his BS and MS in Biology from UNAM and his PhD Biology from the University of East Anglia (UEA) in Norwich, England.
Elisabeth Huber-Sannwald
ELISABETH HUBER-SANNWALD is an associate professor in the Division of Environmental Studies at the Instituto Potosino de Investigación Científica y Tecnológica (IPICYT). Prior to joining IPICYT she was assistant professor at the Grassland Science Department of the Technische Universität München in Weihenstephan, Germany. She also served as a scientific officer on the Global Change and Terrestrial Ecosystems (GCTE) Core Project of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Program (IGBP) at the Instituto de Ecología at the Universidad de Buenos Aires in Argentina. Her current research activities include analyzing ecosystem response and feedback mechanisms to variable abiotic and biotic environments at different spatial and temporal scales in the semi-arid and arid regions of Northern Mexico, conducting integrated assessment of biophysical and socio-economic factors and drivers that cause desertificacion and land degradation in socio-ecological systems, and coordinating the Inter-American Network for Atmospheric/Biospheric Studies (IANABIS). She received an MS in Biology and Botany at the University of Innsbruck in Austria, and a PhD Degree in Range Ecology at Utah State University.
Amparo Martinez Arroyo
AMPARO MARTÍNEZ ARROYO is Director of the Instituto Nacional de Ecología y Cambio Climático. She is an expert in the analysis of environmental problems, as well as in the relations between science and society. She collaborated in the design of the National Clean Beaches Program; in the development of a scientific strategy for the construction of networks of Marine Protected Natural Areas in North America in the face of Climate Change; and has spearheaded the topic of climate change in the Citizen Agenda of Science, Technology and Innovation. She served as Director of the Center for Atmospheric Sciences (CCA) of the National Autonomous University of Mexico from 2009 to August 2013 where she is also Principal Investigator and coordinator of the Atmospheric Aerosol group. While at UNAM she designed and launched the University Network of Atmospheric Observatories (RUOA). Dr. Martínez has been published in international journals, chapters in books, popular articles and technical reports. She received BS and MS in biology from UNAM and a PhD in ecology from the University of Barcelona.

Natalia Martinez Taguena
NATALIA MARTÍNEZ TAGUEÑA is a researcher and profesor at the Instituto Potosino de Investigación Científica y Tecnológica. Her work has concentrated in the Sonoran desert, where she has specialized in analysis and identification of plants to understand subsistence and climate in the past. She participated in several research projects in Costa Rica and Mexico studying early settlers and agriculture, as well as coastal adaptations and human impacts on the environment. She as experience in archeology and paleobotany and has collaborated with members of indigenous communities to map their cultural landscape. Dr. Martínez currently co-directs a paleoclimate and archeology project on the coast of Sonora and is a collaborator in the project "Towards the residency of socio-ecosystems in the dry areas of Mexico." She received a BS in Anthropology with a specialization in Archeology from the University of the Americas, Puebla, and her MS and PhD in Environmental Anthropology from the University of Arizona, Tucson.
Ignacio Rodriguez-Iturbe
IGNACIO RODRIGUEZ-ITURBE is the James S. McDonnell distinguished university professor and professor of civil and environmental engineering at Princeton University. He is also a distinguished research professor in the Engineering Experiment Station (TEES) at Texas A&M University. He is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, U.S. National Academy of Engineering , American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Vatican Academy of Sciences, Spain Royal Society of Sciences, Mexican Academy of Engineering, Venezuelan Academy of Engineering, Instituto Veneto di Scienze, Lettere de Arti, ThirdWorld Academy of Sciences, Water Academy (Uppsala, Sweden) and the Latin American Academy of Sciences. His research focuses primarily on the dynamics of the interaction between climate, soil, and vegetation. He also specializes in ecohydrology, hydrogeomorphology, and surface hydrology. Dr. Rodriguez-Iturbe received his MS from the California Institute of Technology and his PhD from Colorado State University.
Kelly T. Sanders
KELLY TWOMEY SANDERS is an Assistant Professor in the University of Southern California’s Sonny Astani Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Her research aims to ease tensions between human and natural systems through technical, regulatory and market intervention, with particular emphasis on reducing the environmental impacts of providing energy and water services. She has authored more than two dozen publications and has given dozens of invited talks on topics at the intersection of engineering, science, and policy. Sanders has been recognized in Forbes’ 30 under 30: Today’s disrupters and tomorrow’s brightest stars and MIT Technology Review’s 35 Innovators Under 35 for her contributions to the energy field. Her research and commentary have been featured in media outlets such as Forbes, The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, Bloomberg, The Wall Street Journal and Scientific American. Sanders received her B.S. in Bioengineering from the Pennsylvania State University, as well M.S.E and Ph.D. degrees in Mechanical Engineering and Environmental Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin, respectively. She teaches classes related to energy and the environment.
Robert A. Washington-Allen
ROBERT WASHINGTON-ALLEN has been assistant professor at the University of Nevada – Reno since 2017. He has also taught and conducted research on geology, ecosystem science and management, and environmental studies at University of Tennessee – Knoxville, Texas A&M University, and the University of Virginia. His work focuses on the environmental monitoring and assessment of ecosystems through the application of remote sensing technologies of which he has extensive experience. He has over 60 published peer-reviewed papers, technical reports, abstracts, posters, reviews, and book chapters. He has collaborated on grant-funded projects for several agencies, including the U.S. Department of Defense, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, the Bureau of Land Management, and the National Science Foundation. He received his BS in Zoology from The Ohio State University and his MS and PhD in Range Ecology from Utah State University.



National Academy of Sciences Building
2101 Constitution Ave NW, Washington, DC 20418
Event Type :  

Description :   

The National Academies has just released Advancing Sustainability of U.S. - Mexico Transboundary Drylands: Proceedings of a Workshop.  BECS, along with the Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate and the Water Science and Technology Board oversaw this activity that was a bi-national collaboration between the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, with support from the George and Cynthia Mitchell Endowment for Sustainability Sciences, and the Mexican Academy of Sciences, Academy of Engineering, and National Academy of Medicine. It brought together experts from both countries who discussed the key sustainability challenges facing stakeholders in the Mexico – U.S. drylands region and binational priorities for research that could promote sustainable development.

The board will discuss the workshop and ensuing proceedings in depth in this session.  A Spanish language version is forthcoming. 

Archived webcast of the workshop:

If you would like to attend the sessions of this event that are open to the public or need more information please contact

Contact Name:  Leticia Green
Contact Email:
Contact Phone:  (202) 334-3212

Supporting File(s)
Is it a Closed Session Event?

Publication(s) resulting from the event:



Instituto Potosino de Investigación Científica y Tecnológica
San Luis Potosi, 78216

Event Type :  

Description :   

The workshop highlighted the challenges facing the region, assessed the scientific and technical capacity that each nation can bring to bear in addressing these challenges, and identified new opportunities for binational research collaboration and coordinated management approaches in the advancement of sustainability science and development. 

Registration for Online Attendance :   

Registration for in Person Attendance :   

If you would like to attend the sessions of this event that are open to the public or need more information please contact

Contact Name:  -
Contact Email:  -
Contact Phone:  -

Is it a Closed Session Event?

Publication(s) resulting from the event: