GAC Response Letter, February 2, 2005
Missouri Department of Natural Resources
P.O. Box 176 or 205 Jefferson St.
Jefferson City, Missouri 65101
Dear Mr. Mahfood:
Thank you for the Governmental Advisory Committee's (GAC) October 25 advice in follow-up to your October meeting. Your advice on the new strategic direction for the CEC, including the US-proposed criteria for assessing activities and the draft strategies proposed under the Puebla pillars, was considered in great depth over the last several months as we have been in the process of negotiating the 2005 CEC Operational Plan. As you are aware, we are still in the process of negotiating this plan, and we have been in regular discussions with the GAC over the last several months to continue to request and incorporate your advice throughout the development of the plan, including, as you requested, follow up meetings with Jerry Clifford, our Alternate Representative to the CEC. On behalf of the EPA Administrator and the United States, we offer the following response to your advice.
Proposed Projects Under the Puebla Pillars
We have carefully considered your advice on the draft strategies under development in each of the Puebla pillars. In response to your recommendation of topics under the trade and environment pillars, we are pleased to inform you that hazardous waste and renewable energy will be main thrusts of this pillar. The other projects you have proposed will be considered in future years, although it should be noted that the Council recommended against having the CEC focus on water at our June Council Session, since this issue is already addressed in numerous bilateral fora. In regard to your advice under the Capacity Building pillar, we appreciate your suggestion for a comprehensive review of available mechanisms to achieve the capacity building strategy. We are working to incorporate this recommendation into the needs-assessment project under this pillar. While the information pillar is still under negotiation, we do appreciate and agree with your recommendation that previous CEC work be incorporated into whatever new projects emerge in this area.
Assessing Ongoing Activities
Your input on our US-proposed criteria for ongoing activities is well-taken, and we have considered your suggestions in the process of judging ongoing projects of the CEC. At the US level, we have streamlined our criteria consistent with your recommendations. However, except in the trade pillar, we have not yet agreed to criteria to assess individual projects at the trilateral level. In addition, some individual projects may be incorporated into the three new pillars for the CEC, which is part of the Secretariat's proposal and is also a criterion for assessment. We are currently assessing individual projects on a trilateral basis.
Meeting with Private Sector Representatives
We greatly appreciate your willingness to support and host a meeting with representatives from the private sector to discuss their involvement in the CEC, as proposed in your letter. We look forward to continuing to work with you in the next several months to plan this meeting, which I understand is scheduled for the day before your next advisory committee meeting in April.
Thank you again for your thoughtful advice on strengthening the work of the CEC, and your ongoing work to address environmental challenges in North America. I look forward to your continued involvement with the CEC in the coming years.
Director, Office of International
cc: GAC Members