Capacity-Building Programs Under the Dominican Republic-Central America-United States Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR)
The Dominican Republic-Central America-United States Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) includes Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and the United States.
EPA works as an implementation partner with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Department of State (DOS) on environmental capacity building within the CAFTA-DR region, in accordance with the priorities outlined in the CAFTA-DR Environmental Cooperation Agreement (ECA).
Explore our CAFTA-DR work in the following sections:
July 2016: CAFTA-DR celebrated its 10th anniversary during the most recent Ministerial Environmental Council Meeting (ECA) held in San Salvador, El Salvador. The council members from each CAFTA-DR country recognized its environmental achievements, including:
- enhanced procedures for Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA),
- four wastewater national reference labs (El Salvador, Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Guatemala) and one regional reference lab (Costa Rica),
- the first air quality index in the region (El Salvador),
- over 120,000 people trained in environmental policy and enforcement, and
- more than 20 million people reached through environmental awareness campaigns.
Council members also identified environmental regional challenges for the next ten years, including water efficiency, public participation, air quality management, and solid waste management. CAFTA-DR funding partners (DOS and USAID) will continue to work with EPA to address the regional environmental challenges with member countries through technical capacity building. The next CAFTA-DR ministerial ECA meeting will be hosted by Costa Rica in 2017.
Public participation is an essential element in creating sustainable environmental protection. The active engagement of civil society in environmental decision-making and enforcement is a key factor in ensuring that CAFTA-DR governments not only comply with their regulations, but also increase environmental protection, especially for underserved communities. In countries with limited resources and changing administrations, public participation, education, and transparency are essential.
The goal of the CAFTA-DR public participation program is to create a network of trained public participation experts in the region, and to use public participation, education and outreach to engage communities in environmental decision-making processes to help enforce environmental laws.
This work included a regional public participation workshop with local NGOs in July 2016. In 2017, EPA expects to conduct six national public participation workshops to increase community awareness of public participation. These efforts will allow the community to be heard and validated, and to influence the decision-making process to protect the environment.
- Country-specific and regional reforms through EIA;
- Technical assistance for the NEPAssist Geographic Information System-web screening tool;
- EIA Process Administrative Tracking;
- Technical Review Guidelines on EIA; and
- EIA Review Process through recommended regional and country-specific reform agendas.
Under the CAFTA-DR technical capacity building program, EPA has provided technical assistance to the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources in El Salvador, on its national EIA permitting process. El Salvador’s enhanced EIA permitting process may serve as a model for Central America. A recent video, developed by USAID, highlights the significant progress made.
EPA collaboration with the CAFTA-DR countries aims to improve and harmonize environmental regulations, policies, and procedures related to solid waste management practices. Such actions are expected to be accomplished through information exchanges and training, including:
- courses on sanitary landfill inspection protocol and audits;
- development of regulations, policies and procedures for sanitary landfills and solid waste practices;
- capture and potential use of methane gas as a clean energy source under the objectives of the Global Methane Initiative or contained generation of methane via anaerobic digestion or waste; and
- a demonstration project for closing open dumps.
EPA’s EC-LEDS assistance to Costa Rica is focused on institutionalizing its greenhouse gas inventory preparation process, in the transportation sector. The assistance may include support for improved emissions estimates for the transport sector, emissions standards, reduction of sulfur fuel levels, and economic benefit analysis.
- Investigation of environmental crimes to strengthen environmental law enforcement, including both men and women in the trainings; and
- Adjudicating environmental cases to strengthen the judicial response to environmental violations, including both men and women in the training.
Past EPA efforts in the CAFTA-DR countries have included technical capacity assistance in the following areas:
- Harmonization of Environmental Regulations
- Policies and Procedures (Wastewater)
- Environmental Law Enforcement
- Environmental Management Systems
- Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)
- Hazardous Substances and Sound Management of Chemicals
- Strategic Approach to International Chemical Management (SAICM)
- Pollutant Release and Transfer Registry (PRTR)
- Urban Air Quality Management
- Land Use/Land Cover Mapping
- Green Customs
- CAFTA-DR Free Trade Agreement
- FTA Chapter 17: Environment; Environmental Cooperation Agreement (PDF)
The following links exit the site Exit
- State Department Bureau of Western Hemisphere page
- US Trade Representative: About the CAFTA-DR -- Full Text
- State Department: CAFTA-DR Environment Chapter
- USAID: Environment and Global Climate Change
- CCAD: CAFTA-DR (In Spanish)