CEC Secretariat provides Council with draft factual record regarding the Lake Chapala II submission

Montreal, 29 May 2012—Yesterday, the Secretariat of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) submitted the draft factual record for submission SEM-03-003 (Lake Chapala II) to the CEC’s Council of federal environment ministers.

The Lake Chapala II submission was filed by the Instituto de Derecho Ambiental, Fundación Lerma-Chapala-Santiago-Pacífico, Sociedad Amigos del Lago de Chapala, Comité Pro-Defensa de Arcediano, Amigos de la Barranca, Ciudadanos por el Medio Ambiente, Amcresp, Red Ciudadana, and residents of the community of Juanacatlán, Jalisco. They assert that Mexico is failing to effectively enforce its environmental law with respect to management of water in the Lerma-Chapala basin, causing environmental degradation of the watershed and the risk that Lake Chapala and its migratory bird habitat could disappear.

A factual record outlines, in as objective a manner as possible, the history of the issue, the obligations of the Party under the law in question, the actions of the Party in fulfilling those obligations, and the facts relevant to the assertions made in the submission of a failure to enforce environmental law effectively. Factual records contain no findings regarding whether a government has or has not effectively enforced its environmental law.

The governments of Canada, Mexico and United States, as Parties to the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation (NAAEC), now have until 1 August to provide any comments regarding the accuracy of the draft factual record. The Secretariat will incorporate, as appropriate, such comments in the final version of the factual record. The Council may then, by a two-thirds vote, make the final factual record publicly available.

NAAEC Articles 14 and 15 include procedures allowing citizens and nongovernmental organizations to make submissions to the CEC Secretariat asserting “that a Party [to the NAAEC] is failing to effectively enforce its environmental law.” The CEC has published “Guidelines for Submissions on Enforcement Matters” explaining these procedures.

In appropriate cases, and upon instruction from the CEC Council, the CEC Secretariat may examine a submission further and develop a factual record.

For more information, please visit the CEC’s “Citizen Submissions on Enforcement Matters” webpage, and the registry information for submission SEM-03-003 (Lake Chapala II).