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International Cooperation

EPA's Role in the North American Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC)

Negotiations for New Environmental Cooperation Agreement Recently Concluded

The Environmental Cooperation Agreement (ECA) between the United States, Mexico and Canada was recently completed in parallel with United States of America, United States of Mexico, and Canada (USMCA) trade negotiations.  The ECA signing will be completed in December.  The ECA will take effect upon entry into force of the USMCA.

Under the ECA, the United States, Mexico and Canada will cooperate to reduce pollution, strengthen environmental governance, conserve biological diversity, and sustainably manage natural resources. The new ECA will modernize and enhance trilateral cooperation, including by supporting implementation of the environment commitments in the USMCA. 

CEC Overview

The Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC)Exit is an international organization established by the United States, Canada, and Mexico under the 1994 North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation (NAAEC).Exit This agreement complements the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The NAAEC promotes sustainable development based on cooperation and mutually supportive environmental and economic policies, and fosters the protection and improvement of the environment in the territories of the Parties for the well-being of present and future generations. 

The CEC consists of three bodies: the Council, the Secretariat, and the Joint Public Advisory Committee (JPAC).  The Council, composed of the Ministers of Environment from Canada, Mexico, and the United States, is the governing body of the Commission. The Secretariat provides support to the Council, implements the annual Operational Plan approved by the Council, and implements other activities pursuant to the NAAEC. The JPAC engages stakeholders in North America and provides advice to the Council.
The EPA Administrator is the U.S. Council member, representing the United States on the CEC.  EPA's counterparts are Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) and Mexico's Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT).
The mission of the CEC is to facilitate cooperation on shared priorities of the three countries on trade and environment to advance sustainable growth in North America while protecting the environment, ecosystems, and health. The CEC provides a trilateral collaborative forum that brings together national, state, indigenous and local stakeholders, the private sector, and academia for regional action to achieve sustainable development and to protect and enhance the North American environment.  Learn about other trade agreements and protecting the environment.


Logo of the North American Commission on Environmental Cooperation (CEC)

The 25th annual Regular Session of the Council of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) of North America took place June 26-27 in Oklahoma City and Norman, OK. The EPA Administrator hosted Canada and Mexico’s Council representatives, the Secretariat and the Joint Public Advisory Committee, state and local governments, the private sector and members of the public. 

The theme of the meeting was “Innovation and Partnerships for Green Growth.” The session showcased partnerships among federal, state and local, indigenous, academic, youth and private sectors that foster innovation, entrepreneurship, and technological advances to support green growth and environmental protection.

Delivering on the Council theme of “Innovation and Partnerships for Green Growth,” the session featured innovative sustainability projects by the CEC Youth Innovation Challenge winners Exitand launched three new Council initiatives for sustainable growth, preparedness and resilience:Exit
  • a North American Innovation Hubs Network,
  • the Extreme Events Advisory Group, and
  • Extreme Events Mapping.

Learn more about the 2018 Council Session.

CEC Council

The CEC Council Exitis the governing body of the Commission, and is comprised of the environment ministers of the three Parties, or their designees.
EPA represents the United States on the three-member Council that governs the Commission.  To implement the agreement and fulfill its role on the Council, EPA leads a broad interagency group including the State Department, U.S. Trade Representative, Department of Interior, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Agriculture, Department of Commerce, U.S. Geological Survey, the Department of Energy, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.  EPA also coordinates U.S. interaction with the CEC Secretariat, advisory committees, and Council-created working groups.

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CEC Secretariat

The Secretariat Exit is headed by an Executive Director and provides technical, administrative and operational support. Additionally, the NAAEC gives the Secretariat several independent responsibilities which are overseen by the Council.  The Secretariat is located in Montreal, Canada, with a liaison office in Mexico City. 

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Joint Public Advisory Committee

The Joint Public Advisory Committee (JPAC) Exit is comprised of 15 representatives of the public, five appointed by each of the Parties. In the United States, the five JPAC members are appointed by the President.

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Other Advisory Committees

The United States has convened a National Advisory Committee (NAC) and a Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) to advise us on our CEC work. Canada and Mexico also have National Advisory Committees advising their Council members.

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North American Partnership for Environmental Community Action (NAPECA)

In February 2012, the CEC Council created the North American Partnership for Environmental Community Action (NAPECA) grant program. The program focuses on building strong partnerships with communities and stakeholders in all 3 countries. NAPECA  supports diverse projects for a broad base of on-the-ground organizations and associations in North America.
Visit the CEC's NAPECA page Exitfor the latest information on current projects and grant opportunities.

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Strategic Plan

In July 2015, the Council approved the CEC's Strategic Plan for 2015-2020. Exit The plan established three strategic priorities for the Council: Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation, Green Growth and Sustainable Communities & Ecosystems. Specific objective and initiatives to support this approach can be found for each of these areas in the strategic plan.

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Operational Plan

Each year, Council approves an operational plan and budget. The Operational Plan Exit includes projects under the priorities established in the Strategic Plan and lays out the tasks that are currently taking place. View the Operational Plan for 2017-2018.    

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For additional information on EPA's work with the Commission for Environmental Cooperation, contact:
Luis Troche
Senior Advisor for North American Affairs
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Office of International and Tribal Affairs (2670R)
1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20460
(202) 564-2870