Located 2,600 miles southwest of Hawaii, the National Park of American Samoa is the most remote unit of the National Park System and the U.S. National Park south of the Equator. The Park spreads across three islands, 9,500 acres of tropical rainforest, and 4,000 acres of ocean, including coral reefs. While remote, the islands of American Samoa, true to the meaning of the word Samoa (Islands of Sacred Earth), are welcoming and offer beautiful landscapes and centuries of culture and history.
Seasoned backpacker and adventurer Yang Lu earned the grand prize in the 2015 Share the Experience photo contest with this image of a sunburst captured at sunrise in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Utah. Yang has made the outdoors part of his daily life and finds deep connection to the land through his lens.
“My photography is not just for recreation, it is to inspire people to explore these areas." -- Yang Lu
Photo by Yang Lu (www.sharetheexperience.org).
The plantings of cherry trees originated in 1912 as a gift of friendship to the People of the United States from the People of Japan. In Japan, the flowering cherry tree, or "Sakura," is an exalted flowering plant. The beauty of the cherry blossom is a potent symbol equated with the evanescence of human life and epitomizes the transformation of Japanese culture throughout the ages.
Secretariat of Environment, Natural Resources and Fisheries, Mexico
MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING BETWEEN THE DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AND THE SECRETARIAT OF ENVIRONMENT, NATURAL RESOURCES AND FISHERIES OF THE UNITED MEXICAN STATES TO WORK JOINTLY IN MATTERS RELATED TO THE PROTECTION AND CONSERVATION OF THE ENVIRONMENT
The Department of the Interior (DOI) of the United States of America and the Secretariat of Environment, Natural Resources and Fisheries (SEMARNAP) of the United Mexican States, hereinafter “the Parties,”
That the environment should be protected for the health and wellbeing of present and future generations; and
That sustainable development requires sound environmental management of natural resources;
KEEPING IN MIND the long history of cooperation between the U.S. and Mexico regarding preservation and protection of biodiversity, illustrated through various bilateral, trilateral and multilateral agreements, such as but not limited to the following:
The Convention between Mexico and the United States of America for the Protection of Migratory Birds and Game Mammals of February 7, 1936;
The Convention on Nature Protection and Wildlife Preservation in the Western Hemisphere of October 12, 1940;
The Agreement on Cooperation for the Protection and Improvement of the Environment in the Border Area of August 14, 1983;
The Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in Management and Protection of National Parks and Other Protected Natural and Cultural Heritage Sites of November 30, 1988, and January 24, 1989;
The Memorandum of Understanding Concerning Scientific and Technical Cooperation on Biological Data and Information of May 16, 1995;
The Memorandum of Understanding Establishing the United States/Canada/Mexico Trilateral Committee for Wildlife and Ecosystem and Conservation Management, of April 9, 1996;
Annex Two to the Memorandum of Understanding to establish the aerial photography initiative in the border region between the United States Geological Survey and the Institute of Statistics, Geography, and Information Science of the United Mexican States of May 6, 1996;
The Letter of Intent between the Parties for Joint Work in Natural Protected Areas on the United States-Mexico Border of May 5, 1999; and
The Wildfire Protection Agreement for the Common Border of June 4, 1999.
Both Parties can obtain important mutual benefits through international cooperation on environmental matters; and
Some agencies of the DOI and SEMARNAP already possess existing structures for collaboration, which should not be duplicated or replaced.
Have agreed to the following:
The objective of this Memorandum of Understanding is to establish a basis for facilitating cooperative bilateral actions between the Parties and their sub-agencies regarding protection and conservation of the environment, on the basis of equality and mutual benefit, respecting and taking into consideration their respective environmental legislation and policies.
The cooperative actions referred to in Article 1 will be subject to the laws and regulations of the Parties when they are carried out in their respective territories, and may include:
Conservation and restoration of land;
Coordinated management in contiguous natural protected areas;
Protection and management of natural protected areas;
Water resources management, including transboundary watershed management;
Development of scientific information pertinent to natural resources management;
Protection of wild flora and fauna, including migratory and transboundary species;
Enforcement of environmental laws within the areas under their respective jurisdiction;
Management of coastal resources;
Sustainable management of native forests;
Community participation in environmental matters;
Technologies that promote environmental quality and mitigate environmental damage;
Environmental impact and risk assessment;
Training, technological development and environmental education;
Aspects related to atmospheric pollution and its affect on natural protected areas; and
Any other item of common interest upon which both Parties agree.
Actions between the Parties on subjects “f” and “g” will continue to be conducted under the Canada/Mexico/United States Trilateral Committee for Wildlife and Ecosystems Conservation and Management through the Memorandum of Understanding of 1996, except for activities that are not subject to that agreement, such as cooperation on contiguous natural protected areas along the border.
Special attention will be given to cooperative projects and regional coordination of adjacent natural protected areas on the U.S.-Mexico border because of the importance of the conservation of shared ecosystems and natural resources on the border.
Both Parties shall cooperate with other governmental and binational organizations whose jurisdiction is related to the subjects listed above, such as the International Boundary and Water Commission and environment and natural resource state and federal agencies.
The Parties agree that the cooperative activities referred to in the previous article may adopt the following modalities:
Exchange of information on environmental policies and administrative instruments with reference to protection and conservation of the environment;
Joint projects, exchange of technical experts and students, bilateral meetings, symposia, joint publications, workshops, seminars; and
Any other modality agreed to by the Parties.
Each Party shall assume its respective costs for activities pursuant to this Memorandum of Understanding, unless otherwise mutually agreed to by the Parties. Each Party's' activities conducted under this Memorandum of Understanding shall be subject to the availability of funds and personnel.
COORDINATORS OF THE PARTIES
Each of the Parties will designate a Coordinator who will serve as a point of contact for this Memorandum of Understanding.
An annual meeting will be held on an alternating basis by each Party. Cooperative projects and environmental policies will be discussed in these meetings. Subjects that are covered in sub-agency annual meetings will not be addressed at this annual meeting when they would be duplicative.
ENTRY OF PERSONNEL AND EQUIPMENT
The Parties shall encourage the entry of personnel and/or equipment, necessary for the completion of activities under this Memorandum of Understanding. Each Party shall undertake all reasonable steps and use its best efforts, within applicable laws and regulations, to facilitate entry into and exit from its territory of all personnel and equipment necessary in furtherance of the activities of this Memorandum of Understanding, including exemption from customs duty and immigration fees, consistent with Article 9 of the Agreement between the United States of America and the United Mexican States Relating to Scientific and Technical Cooperation, effected by an exchange of notes on June 15, 1972, as amended.
Provisions for the protection and distribution of intellectual property created or furnished in the course of cooperative activities under the Memorandum shall be subject to the provisions set forth in the Intellectual Property Annex to the Agreement between the United States of America and the United Mexican States Relating to Scientific and Technical Cooperation, effected by an exchange of notes on June 15, 1972, as amended.
Nothing in this Memorandum of Understanding shall affect the rights and duties derived from other agreements that already exist between both countries, according to international law.
In the event that differences exist in the interpretation or application of this Memorandum of Understanding, the Parties will resolve them by mutual agreement.
ARTICLE 10 DURATION
This Memorandum of Understanding shall enter into force upon signature and shall have an indefinite duration.
Any Party that wants to terminate this Memorandum of Understanding shall notify the other Party by giving 90 days written notice.
The termination of this Memorandum of Understanding shall not affect the validity or duration of cooperative projects or activities under this Memorandum of Understanding that were initiated prior to such termination.
This Memorandum of Understanding shall be amended by mutual written agreement of the Parties. Amendments shall enter into force upon signature of both Parties or on a date agreed to by the Parties.
Done at Washington in duplicate, this eighteenth day of May 2000, in English and Spanish languages, each text being equally authentic.
FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA:
FOR THE SECRETARIAT OF ENVIRONMENT, NATURAL RESOURCES AND FISHERIES OF THE UNITED MEXICAN STATES: