Advice to Council 99-03 — Follow-up to the Four-Year Review of the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation: The Report of the Independent Review Committee


Follow-up to the Four-Year Review of the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation: The Report of the Independent Review Committee

The Joint Public Advisory Committee (JPAC) of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC);

IN ACCORDANCE with its mandate to provide advice to Council;

RESPONDING to a specific request from Council to provide advice on this matter;

NOTING WITH SATISFACTION that the CEC has responded in an appropriate manner to many of the recommendations by agreeing in Mérida in June 1998 on the Shared Agenda for Action, and putting into motion the processes that have resulted in the three year plans as well as greater cooperation (see the attached chart of recommendations from the Independent Review Committee Report);

ACKNOWLEDGING that these processes have assisted JPAC in undertaking concrete and proactive work in many areas, including: communication and discussions with the Council, the Alternate Representatives and the Secretariat; detailed working relationships on the North American Agenda for Action 1999-2001; proposed amendments to the Revised Guidelines for Citizen Submissions on Enforcement Matters under Articles 14 & 15; guidance on public participation, enforcement cooperation; input to the North American Fund for Environmental Cooperation (NAFEC) project screening process; involvement with Sound Management of Chemical issues; planning with respect to biodiversity conservation; and round table discussions with the public on a regular basis. 

JPAC will continue to play this proactive role within the CEC and recommends that:

  • The new spirit of cooperation and communication with JPAC initiated in Mérida should be maintained by the Council as well as its alternate representatives and the Secretariat in Banff and in the future, featuring greater communication and efficiency, in working toward protecting the North American environment;
  • The Council move rapidly to fill key vacancies on the CEC Secretariat, particularly that of the Executive Director;
  • The Government of Canada make additional efforts to engage all provinces in the NAAEC;
  • The Parties should give greater priority to NAAEC, including expanded budget support, interagency coordination, appointments to JPAC and financial support of the National Advisory Committees;
  • Council should continue to emphasize the importance of establishing funding links with donors and encourage the Secretariat in its efforts in this area, particularly to increase the capacity building elements of its projects;
  • Council should encourage the relationship now being developed between the NAFTA Free Trade Commission and the CEC.

JPAC will continue to monitor the implementation of the recommendations of the Independent Review Committee and communicate with Council as necessary.