Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs Dr. Kerri-Ann Jones and Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Environment and Natural Resources Mark Linscott co-led the fifth meeting of the Dominican Republic-Central America-United States Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) Environmental Affairs Council (EAC) held in Washington, D.C. on January 27. USAID Deputy Assistant Administrator for Latin America and the Caribbean Mark Lopes delivered formal remarks during the reception following the meeting. Environment Ministers and Vice Ministers from the Central American parties and the Dominican Republic also participated in the one-day meeting, including Costa Rica Vice-Minister of Environment, Energy and Telecommunications Dr. Andrei Bourrouet Vargas; Dominican Republic Commerce and Environment Director Rosa Haydee Otero Nieves; El Salvador Minister of Environment and Natural Resources Herman Humberto Rosa Chávez; Guatemala Minister of Environment and Natural Resources Luis Alberto Ferraté Felice; Honduras Secretary of State for Natural Resources and the Environment Dr. Rigoberto Cuéllar Cruz; and Nicaragua Vice-Minister of Environment and Natural Resources Roberto Arasquistain.
During the meeting, the Dominican Republic, the Central American parties, and the United States reaffirmed their strong commitment to work together to preserve and protect the environment through implementation of the CAFTA-DR Environment Chapter and the Environmental Cooperation Agreement. These successful joint efforts demonstrate that trade policies can accelerate the success of environmental initiatives and reinforce sustainable development as well as environmental conservation and protection. The high-level officials also met with representatives from civil society during a half-day Public Session to hear their concerns and interests. The Council shared progress on the implementation of obligations under the Environment Chapter and on important results achieved under the Environmental Cooperation Agreement. The CAFTA-DR Secretariat for Environmental Matters explained how to file submissions on enforcement matters under the CAFTA-DR Environment Chapter. The Council meeting and public session both underscored that increased trade and stronger environmental protection are mutually supportive.
To date, the United States has dedicated more than $64 million to support environmental cooperation in the CAFTA-DR Region, which include efforts to strengthen implementation and enforcement of environmental laws, protect biodiversity, increase market-based conservation, and improve private sector environmental performance. The CAFTA-DR Free Trade Commission will meet for the first time on February 23 in El Salvador, to discuss the agreement’s administration and implementation, including expanding and broadening trade benefits under the agreement.
To view the CAFTA-DR Fifth Meeting of the Environmental Affairs Council Joint Communique in English, please visit: http://www.geminishippers.com/documents/threads/USTR012811.pdf
To view the CAFTA-DR Fifth Meeting of the Environmental Affairs Council Joint Communique in Spanish, please visit: http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/155764.pdf