The Governments of the United States and Peru convened the fifth meeting of the Sub-Committee on Forest Sector Governance (Sub-Committee), the third meeting of the Environmental Affairs Council (EAC), and the second meeting of the Environmental Cooperation Commission (ECC) from May 29-31, 2012 in Washington, DC. The meetings focused on progress implementing the environmental provisions of the United States-Peru Trade Promotion Agreement (PTPA), including its Annex on Forest Sector Governance (Annex), and the United States-Peru Environmental Cooperation Agreement (ECA).
The meetings were chaired by Amy Karpel, Director for Environment and Natural Resources, Office of the U.S. Trade Representative; Tiffany Prather, Foreign Affairs Officer, Office of Environmental Policy, U.S. Department of State; Alvaro Diaz, from Peru’s Ministry of Foreign Trade and Tourism; and Josefina del Prado, from Peru’s Ministry of Environment.
U.S. Government participants in the meeting included officials from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative; the Departments of State, Justice, and Commerce; the U.S. Forest Service and Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture; the Department of the Interior, including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; and the Environmental Protection Agency. Peruvian Government participants included officials from the Ministries of Foreign Trade and Tourism, Environment, and Agriculture, including the Forestry Directorate; Interregional Amazon Council; and the Peruvian Embassy in Washington, DC.
The EAC reviewed the progress Peru and the United States have made in ensuring effective implementation of, and compliance with, the obligations under the Environment Chapter of the PTPA. The United States and Peru highlighted key steps each country has undertaken in the past year to strengthen efforts to provide for high levels of environmental protection and discussed details of an independent secretariat called for under the PTPA to receive and consider submissions claiming that a Party is failing to effectively enforce its environmental laws.
The Sub-Committee reviewed progress implementing the Annex. Peru and the United States discussed Peru’s efforts to develop regulations to implement its new Forestry and Wildlife Law, including consultations with local communities. The Parties also reviewed a program of on-going work, including activities in cooperation with the U.S. Agency for International Development and the U.S. Forest Service related to the development of accurate inventories and yield calculations, timber tracking and information systems, forest management, and law enforcement. The Parties also discussed the audit and verification provisions contained in the Annex and a petition received by the United States asking that it use those provisions to request that Peru audit and verify several timber producers, exporters and shipments.
The ECC reviewed implementation of the ECA, in particular the status of cooperative environmental activities under the 2011-2014 Work Program, which focuses primarily on implementing the Annex. The ECC also outlined a process for the coordination of future activities, discussed mechanisms for monitoring and evaluation, and shared experiences about the implementation of environmental cooperation work programs pursuant to other free trade agreements.
The Governments also held a public session for non-governmental organizations and other interested stakeholders. Daniel A. Clune, Acting Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, Juan Rheineck, Peru’s Vice Minister of Agriculture, and Peru’s Ambassador to the United States Harold Forsyth co-chaired the public session, which provided an opportunity for the public to participate in a discussion with government officials about implementation of the Environment Chapter, including the Annex, as well as the status of cooperative environmental activities.