JPAC Advice on the Creation of a New Network of Communities for Environmental Justice
The CEC’s Joint Public Advisory Committee (JPAC) has just submitted Advice to the CEC Council, regarding a new project to create a network of communities for environmental justice, following an online public consultation that took place 3–23 November 2022.
The consultation collected feedback from the public on ways to improve the project description and support its implementation, including common challenges faced by communities that have environmental justice concerns as they work to address climate change adaptation and mitigation. In addition, participants were asked to provide direction on how to create a self-sustaining, lasting community network that might provide effective ways to share information about climate adaptation and mitigation.
The consultation also allowed participants to provide additional comments on any other aspect of the forthcoming CEC project. Some of the challenges identified by members of the public include:
- The lack of knowledge, technical capacity and resources of some communities, as well as their limited representation in policy- and decision-making;
- The lack of diverse approaches for addressing climate adaptation and mitigation, as well as the need for relationship-building with local communities;
- The identification of strategies to counter diverse problems confronting communities;
- The need to develop tools relevant to different communities’ unique cultures and environments.
Public consultation highlights
The data collected showcased the importance of empowering Indigenous, local, vulnerable, disadvantaged and underserved communities to lead the process of network building.
Furthermore, members of the public stressed the importance of creating a governance structure that would include different perspectives, reflecting the perspectives of youth, women, and Indigenous Elders. The network should also provide tangible benefits to its members, promote dialogue, use diverse tools such as social media, and include resources that would support community participation.
The participants identified opportunities to create synergies with existing initiatives and emphasized that financial and human resources will be required for the community network to be self-sustaining and enduring.
JPAC believes that the recommendations are relevant to the CEC Council’s strategic priorities and are confident that the CEC will find them useful as it develops and implements this project and related ones in the future. The advice was approved by the JPAC members on 25 January 2023.
About the CEC
The Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) was established in 1994 by the governments of Canada, Mexico and the United States through the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation, a parallel environmental agreement to NAFTA. As of 2020, the CEC is recognized and maintained by the Environmental Cooperation Agreement, in parallel with the new Free Trade Agreement of North America. The CEC brings together a wide range of stakeholders, including the general public, Indigenous people, youth, nongovernmental organizations, academia, and the business sector, to seek solutions to protect North America’s shared environment while supporting sustainable development for the benefit of present and future generations
The CEC is governed and funded equally by the Government of Canada through Environment and Climate Change Canada, 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.