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).
The NAAEC came into force at the same time as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and marks a commitment that liberalization of trade and economic growth in North America would be accompanied by effective cooperation and continuous improvement in the environmental protection provided by each country.
Accordingly, the NAAEC established an intergovernmental organization - the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) - to support cooperation among the NAFTA partners to address environmental issues of continental concern, including the environmental challenges and opportunities presented by continent-wide free trade.
The CEC comprises a Council, a Secretariat and a Joint Public Advisory Committee. The Council is the governing body of the Commission and comprises cabinet-level or equivalent representatives of each country. The Secretariat provides technical, administrative and operational support to the Council. The Joint Public Advisory Committee (JPAC) - five citizens from each country - advises Council on any matter within the scope of the NAAEC.
The CEC receives financial support of the Government of Canada through the Federal Department of Environment, the Government of the United States of Mexico, through the Secretaría de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales, and the Government of the United States of America through the Environmental Protection Agency.
The Commission for Environmental Cooperation facilitates collaboration and public participation to foster conservation, protection and enhancement of the North American environment for the benefit of present and future generations, in the context of increasing economic, trade, and social links among Canada, Mexico, and the United States.