Montreal, 25 April 2013—January 2014 will mark 20 years since NAFTA and its environmental side agreement, the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation (NAAEC), went into effect. The NAAEC and the environmental provisions of NAFTA were intended to foster the protection and improvement of the environment throughout North America and as such, broke new ground. For the first time, trading partners addressed concerns that free trade might harm the environment by encouraging countries to create pollution havens with lax environmental standards or enforce their own environmental laws ineffectively. Members of the public were also concerned that increased economic activity associated with NAFTA might lead to increased environmental impacts and harm. To implement and oversee the NAAEC, the NAFTA partners included provisions creating the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC).1 Many subsequent trade agreements entered into by Canada, Mexico or the US have been modeled substantially on NAFTA and aspects of the NAAEC.
To mark this important milestone, and with a view to providing constructive input for future CEC plans, the Joint Public Advisory Committee (JPAC) of the CEC is conducting a public review of the first 20 years of NAFTA and the NAAEC.
JPAC would like to hear from the North American public about their experiences, insights, opinions and perspectives on these important questions. We invite written contributions of information and comments addressing one or more of these questions, or providing other information relevant to the first 20 years of NAFTA and the NAAEC, to be submitted online here or sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org. The due date for contributions is 31 July 2013.
A non-exclusive list of possible topic areas is attached. Contributions of information and comments may be of any length or format. Support for factual assertions is encouraged and will be greatly appreciated.
After reviewing the information and comments received, JPAC will hold an open public meeting on the first 20 years of the NAAEC and NAFTA in Washington, DC, on 17–18 October 2013. The meeting will feature presentations and facilitated discussions among experts and members of the public who contributed information and comments, as well as open discussions involving all participants. Web-based participation will be enabled so that we can reach as many members of the North American public as possible.
LIST OF SUGGESTED TOPICS
The following non-exclusive list includes possible general topics for contributions of information and comments regarding the first 20 years of the CEC. We invite you to provide input regarding to one or more of these topics, or on any other topic related to the first 20 years of the CEC.
1 In addition, two binational institutions were created to improve the environmental conditions of the U.S.-Mexico border region: the Border Environment Cooperation Commission (BECC) and the North American Development Bank (NADBank).
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.