Citizen panel advises NAFTA environment ministers on greening the North American economy

  • Transboundary environmental impact assessment seen as a vital tool for greening the region and achieving greater environmental justice
  • Irasema Coronado named as JPAC chair for 2011

    Montreal, 25 January 2011—Following a public forum and expert consultation on greening the North American economy, the Joint Public Advisory Committee (JPAC) has issued a series of recommendations to the Council of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC).

    The expert consultation was held in New Orleans in November 2010 and featured discussions on innovative ways to achieve an environmentally sustainable North American economy in areas such as industrial supply chains, buildings and urban agriculture.

    The CEC advisory committee emphasized to the Council the need for:

    • adopting effective measures to quantify progress toward a greener economy that go beyond GDP to gauge sustainable development,
    • highlighting best practices for conserving energy and resources,
    • implementing strategies to prevent pollution, minimize energy and resource use,
    • approaching zero waste as a societal goal,
    • restoring damaged ecosystems and preventing future damage, and
    • expressing true environmental costs in the pricing of goods and services.

    The full text of the JPAC Advice to Council is available online, along with video of the two days of dialogue in New Orleans and presentations by the experts who participated in the forum.

    As part of its advice on achieving a greener North America, JPAC cited the need for innovation in trinational research, stronger environmental public education, the use of incentives to reduce environmental impacts, certification and labeling mechanisms applied to green products for consumers, and expanded public participation.

    JPAC also recommended that the CEC Council renew its efforts to conclude an agreement on transboundary environmental impact assessment between Canada, Mexico and the United States as a tool to foster sustainable development and environmental justice in the region.

    New Chair for 2011

    JPAC members also named Dr. Irasema Coronado of the United States as JPAC chair for 2011. A graduate of the University of South Florida and holder of master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Arizona, Dr. Coronado is a professor of political science and currently serves as Associate Provost of The University of Texas at El Paso. She is also a board member of such organizations as Frontera Women’s Foundation and FEMAP (Mexican Federation of Private Associations).