Environment and trade representatives from the United States and Chile marked the first five years of successful environmental cooperation and capacity-building activities under the U.S.-Chile Free Trade Agreement (FTA) today with the Fifth Meeting of the Environmental Affairs Council and the Third Meeting of the U.S.-Chile Joint Commission for Environmental Cooperation.
U.S. Department of State Deputy Assistant Secretary Daniel A. Reifsnyder of the Bureau of Oceans, International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, and Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for the Environment and Natural Resources Mark Linscott, co-chaired the Environmental Affairs Council. Mr. Alvaro Sapag, Executive Director of Chile’s National Commission for the Environment, and co-chair, Waldemar Coutts, Deputy Director for the Environment at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, headed the Chilean delegation.
U.S. and Chilean high-ranking trade and environment officials discussed compliance with environmental provisions under the FTA during the Environmental Affairs Council meeting and highlighted areas where the two countries are collaborating on environmental protection. Participants in the Joint Commission for Environmental Cooperation discussed avenues to continue cooperation on strengthening environmental laws, promoting environmental sustainability, improving management and conserving environmental resources such as water and biodiversity, and encouraging environmental education and public participation. Members of several non-governmental organizations and international organizations also participated in discussions on how the two governments can work together to protect the environment to their mutual benefit.
A jointly-developed, comprehensive 2009-2011 Environmental Cooperation Work Plan was signed by Deputy Assistant Secretary Reifsnyder and Deputy Director Coutts on behalf of the two governments during the closing session.