Policies, Programs and Projects for a Competitive and Sustainable Region
The Río Sonora Special Economic Zone was created in February 2017 by the Sonora state legislature. The creation of this zone–comprising eight rural municipios (Aconchi, Arizpe, Bacoachi, Banámichi, Baviacora, Huépac, San Felipe de Jesús, and Ures) with approximately 23,000 inhabitants–was one of a series of responses to a major environmental disaster: the August 2014 copper sulfate spill into a tributary of the Río Sonora.
In the fall of 2017, the North American Development Bank asked NARP—which had coordinated the Arizona-Sonora Environmental Strategic Plan in late 2016—to lead the assessment and organization of an economic development plan for the region. NARP worked with the state’s lead agency on the project (the Secretariat of the Treasury and Public Credit), attended eight town hall meetings in the Rio Sonora area and reviewed over 140 proposals by state agencies, municipal governments, foundations and academic institutions in drafting the Plan. The state government’s Interagency Commission for the Río Sonora Special Economic Zone formally approved the Plan on December 14, 2017; it will be in effect for 15 years.
The North American Research Partnership is pleased to have been a part of this first-ever Mexican state-level special economic zone in an effort to boost the economic prospects of the unique Río Sonora region and its inhabitants.
Alma Bezáres Calderón, Project Consultant
Erik Lee, NARP