(1) Introduction The CEC was created in 1994 by the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation (NAAEC) and concluded by Canada, Mexico, and the United States as a side agreement to the North American Free Trade Agreement. The CEC’s mission is to facilitate collaboration among the three countries and encourage public participation to foster conservation, protection, and enhancement of the North American environment. The CEC is comprised of a Council, the Secretariat, and the Joint Public Advisory Committee (JPAC). The Council is composed of Cabinet-level environmental officials from each of the NAAEC parties. It governs the CEC, defines the strategic priorities for the collaborative work, and approves the overall program and budget. The CEC Secretariat is headquartered in Montreal and has a liaison office in Mexico City. It is headed by an executive director, who oversees the implementation of a cooperative work program on various North American environmental matters, the development of independent Secretariat reports on North American environmental issues, and the processing of public submissions on enforcement matters. A fifteen-member JPAC acts as an advisory body to the Council on any matter within the scope of the NAAEC. In January 2016, César Rafael Chávez began his mandate as the CEC executive director for a period of three years (<http://www.cec.org>). On 8–9 September 2016, the Council held its twenty-third regular session in Merida, Yucatan, Mexico, focusing on the role of youth within the work of the CEC, particular on ecosystems and climate change, and supporting sustainable communities. The Council reiterated its commitment to clean and sustainable growth and to support for strong and effective actions to address climate change. It also emphasized the need for the CEC to ensure it remains a leading global environmental forum for ensuring environmental and economic growth. Marine litter and food waste were identified as future areas of work. It also directed the CEC to develop case studies that showcase best practices in incorporating traditional ecological knowledge in decision making in the three countries. Encouraged by youth representatives who participated in the meeting, the Council committed to increasing youth participation and dialogue, particularly through new social networking tools to encourage the crowd sourcing of new ideas. (2) Cooperative Work Program The CEC’s cooperative work program carries out trilateral projects and initiatives responding to the CEC Council’s priorities described in the strategic and operational plans adopted by the Council. In 2016, the CEC continued to implement the 2015–16 Operational Plan through projects and initiatives consistent with the 2015–20 Strategic Plan, which focuses on three broad priorities: climate change mitigation and adaptation, green growth, and sustainable communities and ecosystems (project descriptions can be found at < http://www.cec.org/our-work>). (A) Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation (i) Integrated modeling and assessment of climate change mitigation options in the North American forest sector In March, the Forest Carbon Steering Committee held a workshop to exchange knowledge and experiences about climate change policy and assessment of mitigation options in the forest sector in the three countries; present the CEC project to key relevant decision makers in Mexico; and identify relevant stakeholders for project implementation and data acquisition. A report on Integrated Modeling and Assessment of North American Forest Carbon Dynamics was published in February, presenting results from work carried out in 2014 and 2015. (ii) Helping North America communities adapt to climate change: a pilot syndromic surveillance system for extreme heat events This project develops an operational, real-time syndromic surveillance system for extreme heat events in three selected at-risk communities in Canada, Mexico, and the United States. The communities of Ottawa in Canada, Detroit in the United States, and Hermosillo in Mexico were supported to enhance their capacity to monitor, in real-time, health outcomes related to extreme heat events. Results will be reported next year. (iii) Food waste reduction and recovery The goal of this project is to enhance the capacity in North America for reducing the disposal of food waste in landfills by exploring opportunities to achieve food waste reduction and recovery. In October, the Secretariat launched a video contest in partnership with the United Nations Environment’s North American Office on initiatives to rescue food and reduce food waste. In November, the CEC and the World Bank co-hosted the International Workshop on Food Loss and Waste in Washington, DC. It included experts from academia, government, and the private sector. (iv) Organic waste diversion and processing The goal of this project is to identify barriers, opportunities, and solutions related to increasing organic waste diversion and processing capacity in North America. A series of webinars will be held in April 2017. The development of a clearinghouse mechanism will help share best practices and policy recommendations from stakeholders across North America. (v) Blue carbon science for policy Synopses from five coastal blue carbon research projects and the North America’s Blue Carbon Report were published in February. In April, the CEC held a meeting in Tofino, Canada, with North American blue carbon experts to share lessons learned from blue carbon mapping research. In October, the North American Blue Carbon Experts and Partners Meeting took place in Falmouth, United States, to discuss the results of a series of analyses of existing national conservation policies and market-based mechanisms in North America that offer opportunities for the inclusion of the blue carbon concept. (B) Green Growth (i) Reducing emissions from maritime transportation With a view to establishing a common North American approach to controlling emissions from ships, this project supports Mexico’s efforts to create an emission control area (ECA) under Annex VI of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships. In 2016, the CEC implemented the second phase of the project, which involved consultations with key stakeholders in Mexico and provided additional information to address technical questions about implementation, including the roles and responsibilities of the Mexican agencies involved. (ii) International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) maritime fuel sulfur limits The goal of this project is to enhance North American capacity to assess compliance with, and enforce as appropriate, the IMO’s fuel sulfur standards, particularly those applicable in ECAs, with particular focus on Mexican waters. The CEC supported work in Mexico on evaluating and exchanging information on technologies to assess compliance with the IMO fuel standards. In September, the CEC participated in a Transport Canada-sponsored meeting in Cornwall, Canada, to discuss regulations and enforcement issues and share best practices relative to maritime fuel standards in ECAs. Mexican and US representatives were invited to participate in the context of the CEC mandate. A strategy for Mexico for assessing and assuring compliance with IMO fuel standards is being developed as part of the Reducing Emissions from Maritime Transportation Project (see above). (iii) ISO 50001 and Superior Energy Performance The goal of this project is to position the ISO 50001 standard and the Superior Energy Performance program® as mechanisms for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving energy efficiency in the industrial and commercial sectors in North America. A total of nine Canadian, Mexican, and US companies participated in the training program, including nineteen of their production facilities. A total of three in-person training sessions, in addition to coaching and monthly webinars, have been held over the course of the program. (iv) Conservation of selected species under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) This project seeks to provide recommendations to Canada, Mexico, and the United States for promoting legal, sustainable, and traceable trade in selected regional species that are listed in Appendix II of CITES. The CEC developed five action plans that provide information on the trade and conservation status for fifty-five species and identify monitoring needs, enforcement challenges, and opportunities for regional cooperation for improving long-term sustainable use. The action plans include a total of eighty-nine recommended actions based on consultations with CITES authorities, experts, and stakeholders in the three countries. (v) Chemicals management This project aims to address alignment of North American trade statistics on elemental mercury and mercury-containing products under the Minamata Convention on Mercury, and support understanding of the migration of chemicals from manufactured items and subsequent human exposure to them and/or to their releases to the environment. A report identifying gaps and discrepancies in mercury trade statistics in North America and their possible causes was completed in December and will be published in 2017. (C) Sustainable Communities and Ecosystems (i) Arctic Migratory Birds Initiative (AMBI) The goal of AMBI is to improve the conservation status of migratory birds that breed in the Arctic. In April, the CEC held the Shorebird Conservation Planning and AMBI Atlantic Meeting of Site Representatives in Sackville, Canada. In October, a similar meeting was held for the AMBI Pacific Site Representatives in Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico. These two meetings brought together project experts and partners along each flyway to identify key actions and a path forward to address threats at the site and network levels. (ii) Engaging farmers and landowners in monarch butterfly conservation The goal of this project is to promote habitat restoration and enhancement in key breeding grounds and migration corridors of the monarch butterfly in North America. A compendium of monarch conservation information for landowners, including a user-friendly World Wide Web version, was developed in 2016. The CEC held workshops in Monterrey, Mexico in May and in Ottawa, Canada in September to bring together key partners from urban environments, the agricultural sector, and citizen initiatives. These meetings helped the development of collaborations to promote monarch conservation and to coordinate communication and awareness efforts to landowners, farmers, and local communities located within the monarch flyway in Canada, the United States, and the north of Mexico. (iii) Monarch Butterfly Flyway: communication, participatory conservation, and education programs This project aims to develop a trilateral communications strategy and to foster citizen and local community-based initiatives and educational programs that will disseminate information on the monarch’s migration. In February, the CEC held a workshop that served to bring together monarch butterfly experts and other key stakeholders to coordinate efforts and create synergies to promote monarch butterfly conservation along its migratory route. In October, the Monarch Butterfly Education and Awareness workshop was held in Shepherdstown, United States, bringing together experts to discuss citizen engagement, share knowledge, and build collaborations to promote monarch conservation in the monarch flyways in North America. (iv) Local Environmental Observer (LEO) Network The goal of this project is to introduce and expand the LEO network, originating in Alaska, to include Canada and Mexico. The project will assist partners in identifying climate change-related impacts in the focus regions. In August, the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC) provided training to the designated staff of Grupo de Ecología y Conservación de Islas on the set-up and management of a hub. In November, the CEC implemented the LEO Network training program for a hub in Canada, for which the ANTHC provided set-up and management training to the staff of the First Nations Health Authority in British Columbia. (v) Ecosystem function and traditional ecological knowledge to build resilience and adapt to climate change The goal of this project is to share existing tools to assess riparian ecosystem function and to pilot them in indigenous and local communities seeking to build resilience to climate change. Two communities in Canada and in Mexico were selected as pilot sites to develop and apply ecosystem function-based tools. In March, the CEC held a workshop in Tabasco, Mexico, to exchange information on climate change adaptive management planning and ecosystem functionality. In September, a similar knowledge transfer workshop was held in Georgina Island First Nation, Canada. Locally adapted pilot methodologies based on ecosystem services and traditional ecological knowledge were developed and tested at the pilot sites in the Carmen–Pahonal–Machona Lagunar system in Mexico and in Georgina Island First Nation, Canada. (vi) Marine protected areas (MPAs) and coastal community resilience Building on existing efforts within the three countries, this project is developing a North American approach to MPA management effectiveness and coastal community resilience. In January, the CEC held a workshop to bring together MPA partners along North America’s Pacific Coast to exchange experiences and knowledge, identify common interests, and plan collaborative activities at the seascape level to increase ecosystem and local community resilience. In December, following two training webinars, the CEC held two Pacific MAP Vulnerability Assessment Workshops. The joint Canada–US and joint Mexico–US workshops were held in Victoria, Canada, and Ventura, United States, respectively. These brought together partners from participating MPAs in the three countries to apply the rapid vulnerability assessment tool developed under the project and assess the vulnerability of selected habitats in their MPAs. (D) Other Key Initiatives (i) Pollutant releases and transfers The North American Pollutant Release and Transfer Register (PRTR) Project, a core initiative of the CEC for over twenty years, involves the compilation, presentation, and analysis of data and information through the CEC’s Taking Stock report and online, searchable database. In 2016, updates to Taking Stock Online included enhancements of customized features; the inclusion of data from all three countries for the years 2006 through 2013; additional contextual information on reported pollutants; and a new watersheds layer in the CEC’s Atlas. The public meeting of the North American PRTR Project was held in October in Washington, DC. The CEC held discussions and exchanged information with officials from the three PRTR programs relative to improving the comparability, quality, and completeness of the region’s PRTR data and related information. (ii) North American Portal on Climate Pollutants This is an ongoing initiative to provide enhanced access to and comparability of North American pollutant emissions inventory data and information for policy-makers and experts. In 2016, the latest data from the greenhouse gas inventories from Canada and the United States were incorporated into the portal while Mexican data will be incorporated in 2017. (iii) North American Environmental Atlas and North American Land Change Monitoring System (NALCMS) The NALCMS is an ongoing collaborative initiative between Canada, Mexico, and the United States to monitor land cover and its change over time. Recent additions include maps of mangroves, salt marshes, and seagrass meadows stemming from a study on blue carbon sinks. In October, the CEC organized the NALCMS experts’ annual meeting to discuss and share information on tri-national efforts to develop the first medium resolution (thirty metres) North American Land Cover map and other special resolution land cover and land cover change products for North America. (3) North American Partnership for Environmental Community Action (NAPECA) In order to promote shared responsibility and stewardship for the environment, the Council established NAPECA. In February, the Council of the CEC announced twenty-one new grant recipients. Projects span North American’s ecoregions and support communities’ environmental efforts, from Alaska, through Canada’s Western Coastal regions, the Great Lakes, and Arizona’s desert in the United States, to remote regions in Mexico such as the Sierra Tarahumara and the lush, verdant areas of Oaxaca and Tabasco. In September, the CEC Council directed the Secretariat to undertake an evaluation of NAPECA since its inception. (4) Submissions on Enforcement Matters Articles 14 and 15 of the NAAEC provide for a mechanism whereby any resident of, or non-governmental organization established in, North America can file a submission asserting that a party to the Agreement is failing to effectively enforce its environmental law. From the 1994 entry into force of the NAAEC until the end of 2016, eighty-eight submissions have been filed with the Secretariat: thirty concerning Canada, forty-five concerning Mexico, twelve concerning the United States, and one concerning both Canada and the United States. The Secretariat has published twenty-two factual records. In the past year, the CEC received two new submissions and concluded action on three other submissions, including the publication of a Factual Record on Wetlands in Manzanillo. The two new submissions were related to air quality laws in relation to the burning of agricultural waste in Sonora and an aqueduct project to be built from the Panuco River in the Mexican state of Veracruz to the City of Monterrey in the Mexican state of Nuevo León. In addition, the CEC conducted outreach activities including collaborations with the North American Consortium on Legal Education in March and with the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México’s Institute of Legal Research (Instituto de Investigaciones Jurídicas) in June and with Osgoode Hall Law School of York University in October (<http://www.cec.org/submissions>). (5) Joint Public Advisory Committee (JPAC) JPAC is composed of fifteen citizens—five from each country—and its main role is to advise the Council on any matter within the scope of the NAAEC. JPAC held Session 16-02 on Clean Energy Cooperation in North America, Needs and Solutions in Ottawa, Canada. The purpose of the meeting was to examine how to accelerate widespread, sustainable, and low-carbon energy solutions as part of addressing climate change and energy security. The session centred on how to speed up the adoption and integration of existing sustainable clean technologies and energy conservation solutions by the general public as well as on capacity building at the local and regional levels for low-carbon energy production, transmission, and use. JPAC Session 16-03 was held in Long Beach, United States. This session leveraged the continued commitment by the North American leaders to facilitate economic growth, while lowering emissions in the long term. The session identified lessons learned and highlighted best practices, with a special focus on North American ports. Participants were also invited to review and comment upon successful programs that have been implemented by port authorities, government agencies, and industry, and to identify areas for further policy design and advancement in green freight operations (<http://www.cec.org/jpac>). © The Author 2017. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Yearbook of International Environmental Law – Oxford University Press
Published: Dec 28, 2017
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