International Affairs Coordinator
Public Affairs Office
New York, NY 10007
Dominican Republic-Central American Free Trade Agreement
The Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) was signed into law on August 2, 2005. The goal of the Dominican Republic – Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) is the creation of a free trade zone between the U.S. and CAFTA-DR countries. The countries participating are El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and the Dominican Republic. Several provisions exist under CAFTA-DR covering various trade-related components. One component is environmental protection through the enforcement of environmental laws. Several articles under this component were incorporated into the agreement to ensure that participating countries’ laws and policies provide for and encourage high levels of environmental protection, and that they not fail to effectively enforce environmental laws within their own countries.
To help achieve the environmental protections outlined by CAFTA-DR, a section on Voluntary Mechanisms to Enhance Environmental Performance was incorporated. It describes various voluntary methods contributing to the achievement and maintenance of environmental protections in CAFTA-DR countries. In particular, it discusses the sharing of information and expertise among authorities, interested parties, and the public concerning methods for achieving high levels of environmental protection, voluntary environmental auditing and reporting, ways to use resources more efficiently or reduce environmental impacts, environmental monitoring, and collection of baseline data as important voluntary steps that can help meet the environmental goals of CAFTA-DR.
EPA is working on one of the many ongoing projects associated with CAFTA-DR, funded by the U.S. Department of State and the United States Agency for International Development. The project intends to develop a regional system and strategy for the management and public access to environmental information in participating Dominican Republic-Central American Free Trade agreement countries. The general objectives are the following:
- Develop a regional strategy for providing access to environmental information by civil society;
- Develop a process for seeking public input to environmental information management and access that will support environmental legislation in each country for both rural and urban areas; and,
- Provide easy access to environmental information for the public in the region through demonstration of a pilot project.
EPA participates as a member of the U.S. delegation for the Commission on Sustainable Development at the United Nations. The commission is responsible for reviewing progress and implementation of Agenda 21 and the Rio Declaration on the Environment, as well as follow-up for the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation (2002).
The commission selects six cross-cutting development issues to discuss and review during a two-year cycle. During the first year, members review current policies on those and the progress made on the implementation of sustainable development goals. The second year concentrates on policy negotiations surrounding the six issues, particularly looking at measurements and how to overcome challenges to implementation.
- More information on the Commission on Sustainable Development
Embassy Science Fellows
An On-Scene Coordinator from the region’s emergency response program was selected to participate in the U.S. Department of State Embassy Science Fellows Program. The Embassy Science Fellows program places U.S. government scientists at different embassies around the world to provide expertise, advice and assistance with science and technology-related issues. With almost 30-years of experience as an environmental scientist, the employee is working with the Nigerian government in the development of oil spill response, cleanup, prevention plans and regulations. The employee is conducting damage assessments of impacted areas, and facilitating trainings on oil spill response, cleanup and prevention.
- More information on the U.S. Department of State Embassy Science Fellows programs