Morelia, Michoacán, Mexico, 27 June 2007- We, the environment ministers of Canada, Mexico and the United States, members of the Council of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) met for our annual Regular Session and consulted with our Joint Public Advisory Committee (JPAC) and the public on 27 June 2007.
In order to set a course for the coming years, we agreed on the need for a clear understanding of current environmental conditions as well as longer-term challenges facing North America. We have instructed our Secretariat to prepare a succinct report on key issues related to the state of our environment. We also have directed the Secretariat to review and synthesize current assessments of the major environmental trends affecting North America.
We also reaffirm our interest in addressing trade and environment in an integrated manner and welcome the discussions of the senior trade and environment officials from the three countries to promote long-term competitiveness and environmental sustainability in North America and cooperation with the Free Trade Commission of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
Just as information is key to guiding our decisions, it is also essential for transparency and accountability to citizens. Thus, we welcome Mexico’s first publication of its register of industrial pollutant emission and transfer data, the Registro de Emisiones y Transferencia de Contaminantes (RETC). This marks the achievement of the first truly North American register of pollution releases and transfers, a milestone for environmental management and public access to information in each of our countries.
Today, we also launched an interactive Google Earth mapping tool developed by the CEC, which will expand public access to information on pollutants. This new tool creates a picture of industrial pollutant data across North America and, for the first time, allows anyone, whether in Manitoba, Mississippi, or Michoacán, to access the pollution profile of reporting industries across the continent or in their community.
Additionally, we directed that cooperation on air quality be revitalized under the CEC as outlined in the North American vision that was presented to Council. Comparable emissions inventories and monitoring systems are also vital to our efforts to reduce emissions. The development of Mexico’s first national air emissions inventory, supported by the CEC, has been an important step on this regard.
On the issue of biodiversity, we directed the Secretariat to support work to protect the Monarch butterfly as well as the vaquita porpoise.
Recognizing the priority the CEC has placed on “green” buildings and engaging with indigenous peoples, we announced our support for the first North American Indigenous Environmental Health Assembly to be held in 2008 and for a workshop on developing a green building rating system in Mexico.