Building on a strong foundation of cooperation and shared commitment to address mutual environmental concerns, the Dominican Republic-Central America-United States Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) Environmental Affairs Council (EAC) will hold its seventh meeting in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic on May 9. U.S. Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs Judith Garber will lead the United States delegation in coordination with the Office of the United States Trade Representative. Environment Ministers or vice ministers representing other Parties to the CAFTA-DR EAC (the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua) will also participate in the one-day meeting.
At the 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 Council will also host a public session to discuss progress made to implement Environment Chapter obligations and the results of environmental cooperation activities.
Since 2004, the United States has dedicated more than $85 million to support environmental cooperation with CAFTA-DR countries. Through this cooperation, CAFTA-DR governments are working to strengthen implementation and enforcement of environmental laws, protect biodiversity, increase market-based conservation, and improve private sector environmental performance. Results of this work include: improving or adopting over 170 laws and regulations addressing issues such as waste water, air pollution, and solid waste; bringing more than 1.3 million hectares of land under improved natural resource management; and, training over 56,000 people in enforcement and implementation of environmental laws, public participation in development of environmental regulation, cleaner production, natural resource management, and biodiversity conservation.
The success of CAFTA-DR environmental cooperation and the continued commitment of CAFTA-DR Parties to work together on environmental issues demonstrate how increased trade and stronger environmental protection are mutually supportive. We strive to level the playing field for U.S. businesses by working toward similar environmental rules in Parties’ countries.
For more information, please contact GambleKJ@state.gov, or visit http://www.caftadr-environment.org/index.htm and http://www.state.gov/e/oes/eqt/trade/caftadr/index.htm.