CEC’s JPAC releases key findings after asking a diverse group of North Americans: What makes communities and ecosystems resilient?

New Orleans, 13 July 2012—On July 9 and 10, the CEC’s Joint Public Advisory Committee brought together 80 North Americans in New Orleans, Louisiana, to discuss how to make their communities more resilient in the face of unprecedented environmental change. Participants travelled from as far as Iqaluit, Canada, and Yucatán, México, and represented a broad spectrum of backgrounds, including community activists, entrepreneurs, sustainability consultants, scientists and government officials.

“From business executives to residents of low-income minority communities near chemical plants facing severe environmental justice challenges, all participants were considered experts on the important issue of resilience,” said JPAC Chair Martín Gutiérrez Lacayo.

Participants listened to keynote speakers like Beverly Wright of the Deep South Center for Environmental Justice in New Orleans, Craig Applegath of Resilient City in Toronto, and Argelia Pérez Luviano of Transición Ensenada, the first Transition Community in Mexico. They completed a series of collaborative activities that created the content for a report in real time.

This was the first time JPAC has engaged in such a participatory process, where every person in the room was given a say in the final report Resilient Future: Voices of North Americans on Policy and Action. The report was presented at the July 11 CEC Council Session to North America’s environment ministers: Canada’s Environment Minister Peter Kent, Mexico’s Environment Secretary Juan Elivra Quesada and EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. This document will be an important resource for JPAC as it develops future advice to the CEC Council.

With the success of this new format for engaging the public, JPAC looks forward to continuing this innovative discussion. JPAC invites all members of the North American public to join the dialogue and participate in future interactive workshops on important environmental challenges in our region.

To access the full report from the JPAC workshop, click here [PDF].

About the CEC and JPAC

The Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) is an intergovernmental organization that supports the cooperative environmental agenda of Canada, Mexico and the United States to green North America’s economy, address climate change through promoting a low-carbon economy and protect its environment and the health of its citizens. The CEC is composed of three bodies: a Council representing the governments of the three member countries, a Joint Public Advisory Committee (JPAC) that advises the Council and serves as a liaison with the public, and a Secretariat that supports the Council and the JPAC and prepares independent reports. The CEC brings together governments, civil society, and businesses to develop innovative North American solutions to global environmental challenges. Find out more at: www.cec.org

JPAC, which is composed of 15 citizens (five from each country), makes recommendations to the CEC Council on any matter within the scope of the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation and acts as a source of information for the CEC Secretariat.

This event is undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada through the federal Department of Environment, 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.