WASHINGTON – Today the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and the U.S. Department of State met with their counterparts in the governments of Central America and the Dominican Republic for the fourteenth meeting of the Environmental Affairs Council, established under the Dominican Republic–Central America–United States Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR).
Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Environment and Natural Resources Kelly Milton and Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs Monica Medina participated in a virtual government-to-government meeting followed by a public session on CAFTA-DR Environment Chapter implementation and the CAFTA-DR Environmental Cooperation Program (ECP). To commemorate the fifteenth anniversary of CAFTA-DR, the Council renewed its commitment to protect and enhance the environment while promoting sustainable economic growth, in accordance with the provisions of the Environment Chapter.
During the meeting, Council Members provided updates on actions that each Party has taken to maintain high levels of environmental protection, effectively enforce environmental legislation, and promote public participation in environmental decision-making. In addition, the Council held an in-depth discussion on the most pressing environmental challenges to address in the coming years, identifying the climate crisis as one that the global community must urgently address.
The Council also received an annual report from the CAFTA-DR Secretariat for Environmental Matters and a summary of the Ninth Monitoring Report from the Organization of American States on results achieved and lessons learned through the CAFTA-DR ECP. Since 2007, the Secretariat has received 46 submissions regarding the Parties’ effective enforcement of their respective environmental laws, including laws related to Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs), management of water and other natural resources, conservation of protected areas, threatened or endangered species, land management, noise pollution, and hazardous waste. To date, the United States has invested more than $100 million in environmental cooperation projects under the ECP and attracted more than $21 million in co-financing from private and government partners.
At the virtual public session, representatives of civil society organizations, non-governmental organizations, and academia, as well as the general public, engaged with Council Members on matters related to the implementation of the CAFTA-DR environment chapter.
Read the Environmental Affairs Council’s joint communique here.