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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Environmental Cooperation Agreement (ECA-DR-CA-USA) Work Plan

July 17, 2006



1.1 Background

The following Cooperation Work Plan (CWP) was developed in accordance with articles IV and V of the Environmental Cooperation Agreement (ECA), signed on February 18, 2005.

Compliance with and implementation of the CWP will be subject to the availability of financial, technical or other types of resources as well as the Parties' internal standards. 

The CWP falls within the ECA's main objective, to ?cooperate to protect, improve, and conserve the environment, including natural resources,? and seeks to establish an initial framework for such cooperation among the Parties for the period 2006-2008.

For the purposes of this document, the term regional will refer to the five Central American countries and the Dominican Republic , all signatories of the Central America ? Dominican Republic ? United States Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR). Additionally, it is necessary to clarify that, for purposes of this document, the terms State Secretaries and Ministries , are utilized as synonyms, and that the term ECA refers to the ?Environmental Cooperation Agreement between the Governments of Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and the United States of America?.

1.2 Scope

The Work Program reflects national and regional cooperation priorities, pursuant to the ECA agreed by the Parties. The CWP was formulated through interagency coordination among the Ministries of Environment and Trade of each of the countries in the region and on the basis of joint and consensual decisions.

The identification of these priorities is based principally upon capacity building under the DR-CAFTA framework, and on environmental and other relevant programs being developed in CA and DR at a national and regional level and are linked to the cooperation priority areas indicated in the ECA. In this context, the projects can be executed at a regional or national level as the Parties may agree, pursuant to their needs.


The Parties seek to intensify and complement cooperation through the CWP, taking into account existing national and regional cooperation.  Prioritization is based on regional and national themes of interest and in the areas of cooperation defined in Article V of the ECA and Annex 17.9 of the CAFTA-DR. In this context, CWP actions are framed within the following priority areas identified for early action in 2006-2008:

  1. Strengthening each Party's environmental management systems, including reinforcing institutional and legal frameworks for developing, implementing, administering and enforcing environmental laws, regulations, standards and policies, including those that implement Multilateral Environmental Agreements to which we are all Party.;
  2. Development and promotion of incentives and other voluntary and flexible mechanisms in order to encourage environmental protection, including the development of market-based initiatives and economic incentives for environmental management; and
  3. Facilitating technology development and transfer and training to promote the use, proper operation and maintenance of cleaner production technologies.


Following are the activities and subactivities to be carried out in each of the selected priority areas, subject to available resources:

1. Strengthening each Party's environmental management systems, including reinforcing institutional and legal frameworks for developing, implementing, administering and enforcing environmental laws, regulations, standards and policies, including those that implement Multilateral Environmental Agreements to which we are all Party.

1.1 Strengthen Environmental Law Compliance and Enforcement Systems: Support the strengthening of national systems for effective enforcement of the Parties' environmental legislation, including administrative and judicial procedures.

1.1.1Facilitate inter-ministerial and institutional coordination on enforcement of regulations and implementation of environmental policies.

1.1.2Strengthen the capacity of administrative and judicial authorities for the enforcement of environmental procedures established in the countries of the region and pursuant to existing needs.

1.1.3 Strengthen the capacity of authorities in charge of environmental protection, natural resource protection, and pollution control and prevention.

1.1.4 Strengthen Environmental Information Systems of the countries to improve environmental monitoring and promote public access to such data.

1.1.5 Strengthen technical capacity and equipment for analytical laboratories in the region to promote generation of reliable and valid data for environmental quality control.

1.1.6 Strengthen capacity related to the sound management and transboundary movement of hazardous materials, pesticides, and wastes, including exchange of information, risk evaluation, management and communication, procedures for Prior Informed Consent, and pollution prevention.

1.1.7 Begin the process of developing national Pollution Release and Transfer Registries taking into account existing national legislation.

1.1.8 Strengthen National Systems for Environmental Impact Assessment.

1.1.9 Strengthen the private sector's ability to comply with environmental legislation. Strengthen environmental knowledge of business associations and priority productive sectors, to be defined by each country, as regards compliance with environmental legislation; promoting, among other activities, application of best practices and cleaner production.

1.2 Support the creation or strengthening of entities in the region, responsible for addressing the roles established in articles 17.5 and 17.6 of the DR-CAFTA and in the ECA.

1.2.1 Strengthen technology and installed capacity (materials and equipment) in connection with the training of personnel in the offices designated as Points of Contact by the countries of the Region.

1.2.2 Strengthen the ability of the Parties' response mechanisms to public communications with the Ministries of Environment and Trade or their equivalent.

1.2.3 Promote training activities and exchange experiences on the concepts, mechanisms and tools for communicating with the public.

1.2.4 Strengthen and improve the Websites of the Ministries of Environment and Trade or their equivalent.

1.2.5 Promote training and information sharing activities as well as develop and disseminate materials to promote public awareness of the environmental provisions of the DR-CAFTA and the ECA.

1.2.6 Strengthen the management of, and access by the public to, environmental information in the region.

1.3. Implement and improve compliance with Multilateral Environmental Agreements to which we are all Party.

1.3.1. Strengthen capacity for national implementation of CITES, RAMSAR, the Montreal Protocol and other relevant MEAs to which we are all Party, including by disseminating procedures for their implementation and undertaking public awareness campaigns .

1.3.2. Provide training and capacity building to Scientific and Management Authorities, customs authorities and national police to enhance implementation of CITES.

1.3.3. Develop programs and projects to provide economic instruments to protect wildlife at the regional and national levels.

1.3.4. Strengthen the enforcement of restrictions on trade in Ozone-depleting substances under the Montreal Protocol and the development of innovative mechanisms for encouraging cross boundary engagement in reducing the use of such substances.

2. Development and promotion of incentives and other voluntary and flexible mechanisms to encourage environmental protection, including the development of market initiatives and economic incentives for environmental management.

2.1. Promote the use of environmental tools and self regulation techniques, through dissemination and information exchange, with the purpose of improving environmental performance.

2.1.1 Facilitate partnerships or meetings among private sector organizations and businesses to share information on Environmental Management Programs.

2.1.2 Promote exchange of experiences of initiatives related to the compliance of voluntary standards; including, among other actions, promoting exchange of experiences among key productive sectors of the region with businesses in the US and other countries, in order to create trade opportunities.

2.1.3 Promote mechanisms that facilitate voluntary actions to protect and improve the environment.

2.2 Market Initiatives for Sustainable Natural Resource Management.

2.2.1 Improve visitor infrastructure and services to increase tourism while better protecting the resources.

2.2.2Promote alternative livelihoods based on sustainable resource use for communities within and near protected areas.

2.3 Other Environmental Management Mechanisms

2.3.1 Promote activities directed towards strengthening the capacity of the Region to identify, produce and trade in environmental goods and services.

2.3.2 Promote and implement market schemes for environmental services

2.3.3 Validate and promote at a regional level the use of evaluation methodologies for environmental payment services systems.

2.3.4 Identify and propose sources of credit for company reconversion. Study and define a financial viability strategy in each of the countries and at a regional level to identify and facilitate adequate credit that will allow the private sector to adopt environmentally efficient processes and techniques and adopt and implement Environmental Management Systems.

2.3.5 Develop strategies for the creation and/or use of financial, economic, fiscal, market and other incentives.

2.3.6 Identify specific market opportunities for sustainable agricultural products and develop strategic partnerships to take advantage of such market opportunities with the private sector.

3. Facilitating technology development and transfer to promote the proper use, operation and maintenance of clean production technologies.

3.1 Exchange experiences on the use of cleaner production methodologies and technologies :

3.1.1 Promote cleaner production schemes in productive processes and export products and services within the region, applying best practices to improve efficiency in the use of raw materials and inputs, resource conservation, pollution prevention and control through technical assistance and technology transfer.

3.1.2 Promote meetings to learn about the use of cleaner production techniques and technologies and implementation of international environmental management standards, promoted to improve production efficiency, reduce energy consumption, reuse water, and conserve and maintain natural resources.

3.1.3 Promote the development of public-private partnerships to facilitate the transfer and adoption of cleaner production technologies and to promote new approaches to improve environmental performance of production and trade in goods and services in the Region.


In accordance with Articles V.2 ? V.3 of the ECA, the CWP recognizes the importance and relevance of establishing benchmarks and indicators necessary to measure the progress and results of the defined cooperative activities.

In complying with the elements of the DR-CA-US ECA for the execution of the activities contemplated in the Work Plan, the Environmental Cooperation Commission will establish general monitoring and evaluation guidelines, which will be incorporated in the projects to be developed, in accordance with their own characteristics, with the end of examining and evaluating progress of the specific programs, projects and activities in compliance with established goals.

Specifically, within 6 months of the first meeting of the ECC, the Parties will develop and exchange a list of those responsible for each project to be executed under the framework of the CWP.

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