U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs Dr. Kerri-Ann Jones is leading the U.S. delegation at the sixth meeting of the Dominican Republic-Central America-United States Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) Environmental Affairs Council (Council) in San Pedro Sula, Honduras on April 12. Environment ministers from other CAFTA-DR governments are also participating in the one-day meeting.
CAFTA-DR parties will reaffirm 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. The success of this joint work clearly demonstrates how trade policy enhances environmental initiatives and reinforces sustainable development objectives.
During the meeting, environment ministers also will meet with representatives from civil society in a half-day public session. The council members will share progress on the implementation of obligations under the Environment Chapter and on important results achieved under the Environmental Cooperation Agreement. These results include: improving or adopting over 120 laws and regulations addressing issues like waste water, air pollution and solid waste; bringing more than 1.2 million hectares of land under improved natural resource management; and training over 13,000 people in enforcement and implementation of environmental laws, public participation, and cleaner production practices. The Secretariat for Environmental Matters will inform the public of the submission process through which a citizen can allege that a party is failing to effectively enforce its environmental laws under the CAFTA-DR Environment Chapter.
Since 2004, the United States has dedicated more than $77 million to support environmental cooperation in the CAFTA-DR Region. CAFTA-DR environmental cooperation strengthens implementation and enforcement of environmental laws, protects biodiversity, increases market-based conservation and improves private sector environmental performance.