North America’s communities, environment focus of New Orleans Council session

Public forum and dialog with environment ministers on improving environmental health of communities and ecosystems—join the discussion July 10–11

Montreal, 7 May 2012—New Orleans, home to jazz and Mardi Gras but also the locale of major environmental disasters Hurricane Katrina and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, will host this year’s Council meeting of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC).

It’s a fitting place for US Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson to welcome her colleagues from Canada and Mexico, not simply because New Orleans is her hometown, but because it’s an example of how North America’s communities must adapt and be resilient to a changing environment.

Each year the CEC’s Council—the federal environment ministers from the NAFTA region: Canada’s Environment Minister Peter Kent, Mexico’s Environment Secretary Juan Elvira Quesada and Administrator Jackson—meets to discuss their agenda for environmental cooperation in North America.

This year’s meeting will feature two public sessions with Council members on July 11: one, a discussion with community leaders taking action on environmental issues in their cities and towns; the other, a public forum dialog with university students and others interested in North America’s environmental issues. This forum will be open for those who may participate in New Orleans or online via live blog and social media networks.

Prior to these sessions, the CEC’s Joint Public Advisory Committee will host a special forum and workshop on community and ecosystem resiliency. Participants will tackle questions related to environmental justice, ecosystem conservation, urban planning and adaptation to climate change. Your ideas and innovative approaches will provide models for how communities across North America can take action.

North American Environment Fair

New this year, the North American Environment Fair will be a chance to meet some of the CEC’s community-based project partners, including grant recipients under the North American Partnership for Environmental Community Action (NAPECA). The fair will be an opportunity to enquire, network, and interact with partners, as well as to consult recent CEC information, including interactive maps and data from the North American Environmental Atlas. Don’t miss this chance to find out more about cooperative environmental initiatives across Canada, Mexico and the United States.

In the meantime, be sure to follow us on Facebook (www.facebook.org/CECconnect) and Twitter @CECweb, where you can get updates, ask questions or share your comments and ideas.