In 1983, the United States-Mexico Agreement on Cooperation for the Protection and Improvement of the Environment in the Border Area was signed by the United States and Mexico. This agreement, better known as the La Paz Agreement, established binational relationships and collaboration to protect and conserve the environment along the entire US-Mexico border. Since that signed agreement almost four decades ago, the Imperial Valley-Mexicali border region has directly benefitted from it via the Border XXI (1996- 2000), Border 2012 (2001-2012), and Border 2020 (2013-2020) programs.
The Border XXI program brought together the state and local agencies, U.S. tribal groups, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the Environment, Natural Resources and Fisheries Secretariat and Social Development Secretariat of Mexico. Border XXI was responsible for the development of institutional infrastructure and expertise on air quality through technical assistance, and public education and training sessions. Border XXI paved the way for the Border 2012 program.