North America is rich in diversity – not only in culture and language but in our geography, ecosystems and species. We are all dependent on the many services that nature provides, from food and fuel to clean air and water. However, our ecosystems have been lost or damaged by our own activities, impacting plant and animal life, as well as human health, well-being and economies.
We’re part of these ecosystems. We have to stop, prevent and reverse their loss and degradation.
2021 marks the start of the United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration. At the CEC, we’re working with communities to conserve and enhance North America’ terrestrial and marine ecosystems and priority species. And now, we’re looking for your feedback on our work in two priority areas:
Central Grasslands conservation
Did you know that the central grasslands of the Great Plains are one of the most endangered ecosystems in North America? Providing habitat for many migratory, threatened and endangered species, the grasslands also play an essential role in carbon sequestration, pollination and water and erosion regulation – all key factors in maintaining agricultural sustainability for rural communities and economies.
Marine Litter reduction
Marine litter is not just a coastal issue – over 80% of marine litter originates from land-based sources, often due to improper disposal of items that travels from inland communities through watersheds and to our oceans. All along the way, litter can impact ecosystems, communities, infrastructure, and economic activity.
International trade is important to the strength of our economies – it opens new markets and provides access to goods and services we may not otherwise have. However, to protect our natural resources and our shared environment, it’s essential that trade is monitored and regulated.
The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) provides crucial mechanisms to ensure that international trade in wild animals and plants is carried out in a controlled manner that does not threaten the survival of species. In North America, large amounts of internationally traded wood products include CITES-regulated timber species.
We’re helping to reduce illegal timber trade by bringing together and leveraging the knowledge and roles of management and scientific authorities, enforcement officers, wood identification experts, forensic scientists and other relevant experts to address specific needs within CITES regulations and enforcement activities. Learn more about our work supporting the enforcement of CITES
Millions of North Americans live in coastal cities and enjoy their many benefits – natural beauty, outdoor activities and economies with a high value of goods and services. However, these communities are also increasingly vulnerable to flooding.
Land-use change, ecosystem loss or degradation, population growth, changing frequency and severity of storms, and ageing flood protection systems all threaten homes, infrastructure and businesses in coastal cities.
Inspired by nature
As we look to invest in solutions that protect our communities and strengthen our economies during COVID-19 recovery, nature-based solutions (NBS) are a promising way to combine development, climate change adaptation, disaster risk reduction and conservation objectives. NBS use or mimic the ecosystem services provided by natural systems and contribute to increased resilience in coastal areas. These solutions help manage risks with cost-effective, holistic and innovative approaches, while also delivering co-benefits such as habitat, recreation and water quality.
Working together to protect coastal communities
The CEC is uniquely placed to build capacity for coastal communities to manage flood risk, and we will be working with NBS practitioners from a broad range of disciplines to advance the implementation of nature-based solutions.
Our NBS project will produce knowledge to support the use of NBS and strengthen local capacity to implement solutions.
The World Bank estimates that approximately 2 billion tonnes of global municipal solid waste were generated in 2016, with Canada, the United States and Mexico generating 0.4-1.5 kg more waste per capita compared to the global average. Around the world, the mismanagement of waste is polluting our oceans, causing flooding, transmitting diseases and increasing respiratory problems.
Good for the environment, good for the economy
Reducing waste and closing material loops will help minimize environmental impacts and deliver considerable economic opportunities. Circular economy strategies are estimated to unlock US$4.5 trillion in economic growth around the globe. The World Business Council for Sustainable Development estimates that the global bioeconomy market could be worth up to US$7.7 trillion by 2030, with significant opportunities for circular solutions.
Transforming North American recycling and solid waste management
We’re working to accelerate the uptake of circular economy and sustainable materials management practices that deliver economic and environmental benefits across the continent. Our work will support Canada, Mexico and the United States as they advance these approaches, encouraging eco-design and increasing product and material reuse, recovery and recycling rates.
Learn more about our work in recycling and solid waste management.
This year marks a turning point for communities.
As we recover from the social and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, Canada, Mexico and the United States are demonstrating their renewed commitment to environmental cooperation.
The success of our work will depend on the effectiveness of solutions, the positive impact on sustainable economic growth and engaging stakeholders and the public to harness your potential as catalysts for change and progress.
We’re looking for your feedback on important questions about the five trilateral projects:
 Accenture (2018)
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.