This article originally appeared on the National Wildlife Federation Blog
In September 2015, the National Wildlife Federation launched the Mayors’ Monarch Pledge in in an effort to engage cities, towns, counties and communities of all kinds to join the effort to help save the Monarch butterfly. Mayor Francis Slay of St. Louis, Missouri proudly became the first to take the pledge, followed soon thereafter by Mayor Steve Adler of Austin, TX.
While the pledge was originally designed for U.S. municipalities, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Commission for Environmental Cooperation suggested expanding the pledge to Canada and Mexico, and invited the Federation to join a series of tri-lateral discussions that took place in 2016 in Monterrey, Mexico; Shepherdstown, West Virginia in the United States, and Ottawa, Canada.
The Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) was established as an intergovernmental organization in 1994 as part of the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation (NAAEC). The CEC works to support cooperation among Canada, the United States and Mexico to address environmental issues that span the three countries and has worked on several monarch butterfly conservation projects over its 22-year history.
Trilateral collaboration is critical for a species like the monarch butterfly whose eastern population’s (east of the continental divide) intergenerational migration spans all three countries. Monarch butterflies “overwinter” in the oyamel fir forests of the Sierra Madre Mountains west of Mexico City. In the spring they head north, mate and lay eggs on milkweed in the northern states of Coahuila, Nuevo Leon and Tamaulipas in Mexico and Texas in the U.S. Four additional generations will spread north all across the northern United States and southern Canada. All three countries play a critical role in saving the monarch butterfly!
In March of 2017 the CEC brought together community leaders from across Canada, Mexico and the United States in San Antonio, Texas to share about existing monarch butterfly conservation efforts and explore the possibility of officially expanding the pledge to Canada and Mexico.
The David Suzuki Foundation in Canada and Profauna and its Programa Correo Real Mariposa Monarca in Mexico agreed to be the lead sponsor for the pledge in their respective countries. As of March 2017, seven municipalities in Canada had taken the pledge and the mayor of the municipality of Saltillo, Coahuila, Mexico, Ing. Isidro López Villarreal, had become the first mayor to take the pledge in Mexico.
Learn more about the tri-national Mayors’ Monarch Pledge at www.nwf.org/mayorsmonarchpledge.
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.