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Have Your Say: Public Consultation on the CEC’s Community-Led Environmental Education Initiative for Biocultural Heritage Protection

The Joint Public Advisory Committee (JPAC) of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) is seeking comments and suggestions from people across North America on the implementation of the Community-Led Environmental Education Initiative for Biocultural Heritage Protection.

The Environmental Education initiative will develop and pilot an Environmental Education Framework that considers diverse knowledge systems, including, but not limited to, Indigenous Knowledge Systems, Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) and academic knowledge—to support efforts of vulnerable communities to tackle local environmental challenges and take positive climate action. The goal of the framework is to support and advance community-led conservation and climate action work.

As we advance the creation of this initiative, JPAC is hosting a public consultation to help inform and strengthen the project’s implementation.

Why is this project important?

Currently, North America is grappling with diverse socio-environmental and economic challenges linked to ecosystem degradation and climate change, which disproportionately impact under-resourced and underrepresented communities, including Indigenous and minority populations. Evidence shows that lasting solutions emerge at the local level.

Trinational cooperation in this initiative builds on the culturally diverse strengths of Canada, Mexico and the United States to achieve common objectives, leading to more impactful solutions to global challenges.

What will this initiative include?

Three pilot projects will be implemented with young leaders and community members in one community per country. The Environmental Education Framework will be pilot tested in each of the selected communities to develop tools to promote effective engagement, manage participatory processes and support community-led projects (e.g., joint factor finding, participatory mapping, cultural mediation).

This initiative will foster collaborative climate and conservation efforts and networking within and across communities to push forward community-led conservation and climate action work. In addition, this framework will use the principles and practices of knowledge dialogue and education, with a focus on biocultural heritage protection.

The full text of the project description is available here.

We want to hear from you!

JPAC invites individuals, communities, experts and organizations across North America, with knowledge or interest on issues related to community and youth-led environmental work, as well as conservation and climate change education, to learn more and submit comments, perspectives and ideas here.

What would we like to know?

  • Please share your opinion on the project. Do you agree with the objective and activities expressed? Do you foresee any issues of concern or particular challenges that should be taken into consideration? In what ways do you think this project can be strengthened? Do you know of similar efforts, or have you or your community participated in similar projects? If so, please share details (objectives, achievements, challenges, etc.).
  • Do you see yourself, your community, organization, or institution playing any type of role in the activities of this collaborative project, such as offering input, participating in the pilot projects, or acting as technical expert? If so, please tell us more about your potential participation or contribution to project activities.
  • If you think your community would be interested in implementing the Framework, please share the main environmental education efforts within your community, the main environmental challenges it faces, and any other aspect that you may consider relevant in the context of this project. Indicate the name of the community and geographical location (i.e., country and province/state).
  • Please provide any additional comments you would like to share with us about the project.

Based on comments received from the public, JPAC members will provide official Advice to the Council of the CEC, composed of the environment ministers of Canada, Mexico and the United States. The Advice will include recommendations to maximize the project’s successful implementation.

The deadline to submit comments is 25 March 2024.

Have your say!

Biocultural Heritage Protection

About the CEC

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.

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