This week, at the end of the annual council session in Montreal, Canada, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson assumed leadership of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC), a partnership with Canada and Mexico that fosters conservation, protection and enhancement of the North American environment. The partnership works to increase economic, trade and social links among the three countries to build healthy communities and ecosystems, a low carbon economy, and initiatives and projects that will help protect people’s health across North America.
The meeting with the Mexican and Canadian ministers of the environment, as well as representatives from across the three governments, focused on the goals of empowering communities to address environmental concerns, especially in states, tribes, and under-served communities, a priority of Administrator Jackson. To that end, the CEC directed $1.4 million to fund the North American Partnership for Environmental Community Action (NAPECA) to support communities in their efforts to locally address environmental problems across North America.
The three areas of priorities for the CEC for the next five years are:
- Healthy communities and Ecosystems
- Climate Change - Low-Carbon Economy
- Greening the Economy in North America
Administrator Jackson will host next year’s meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana.
“We’re proud to be working with our partners in the Commission and view our time in the leadership role as an opportunity to facilitate even stronger collaboration. We are eager to join Canada and Mexico in making sure that the work of the CEC is being seen in robust interactions and real results at the community level and benefits for the people who are most vulnerable to health and environmental threats,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “This is an important time to ensure that our economic and environmental priorities are fully aligned and complementary, so that we are moving towards a prosperous and sustainable future. The work of the CEC is instrumental in shaping that future.”
Since 1994, Canada, Mexico and the United States have collaborated in protecting North America’s environment through the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation (NAAEC), which came into force at the same time as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), marking a commitment from each country that trade and economic growth would be accompanied by environmental protection. Accordingly, the NAAEC established the commission to address regional environmental concerns, help prevent potential conflicts between trade and environmental protection and promote the effective enforcement of environmental law.