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WASHINGTON – Today, EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan joined representatives from Canada and Mexico virtually as he chaired the 28th annual session of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) Council. Administrator Regan was joined by Mexican Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources María Luisa Albores González and Canadian Assistant Deputy Minister for the Environment and Climate Change Catherine Stewart. This year’s Council Session focused on Climate Change and Environmental Justice Solutions, highlighting the importance of addressing climate impacts and protecting the health of our communities, including those vulnerable communities that are facing disproportionate impacts.
“The Biden-Harris Administration has brought America back as leaders on global climate action, and we are committed to making up for lost time,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “Advancing justice and equity is a high priority for this Administration and it won’t be confined to our borders. That’s why I was honored to host Secretary Albores and Assistant Deputy Minister Stewart and address ways to tackle the climate crisis that affects us all.”
Deliverables from the Council Session included three new large-scale initiatives: working on mitigating ‘black carbon’ for the improvement of air quality and support for environmental justice in a local context; addressing ‘ghost’ fishing gear in marine ecosystems; and supporting environmental education. In addition, the Council supported the creation of an initiative on Indigenous approaches to freshwater management in North America and announced the Fall 2021 call for proposals for the North American Partnership for Environmental Community Action (NAPECA) community grant program, which supports local and Indigenous communities. This cycle’s theme will support local communities in their efforts to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. During the event, Administrator Regan also announced the upcoming launch of a new grant program, EJ4Climate, which will make available USD $2 million for underserved and vulnerable communities, including Indigenous communities, in Canada, Mexico, and the United States.
The Council public session included presentations by the four winners of the 2021 Youth Innovation Challenge, which tasked young entrepreneurs to submit bold innovations for climate change and environmental justice solutions.
About the CEC
The Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) was established in 1994 by the governments of Canada, Mexico and the United States through the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation, a parallel environmental agreement to NAFTA. As of 2020, the CEC is recognized and maintained by the Environmental Cooperation Agreement, in parallel with the new Free Trade Agreement of North America. The CEC brings together a wide range of stakeholders, including the general public, Indigenous people, youth, nongovernmental organizations, academia, and the business sector, to seek solutions to protect North America’s shared environment while supporting sustainable development for the benefit of present and future generations.
The CEC is governed and funded equally by the Government of Canada through Environment and Climate Change Canada, the Government of the United States of Mexico through the Secretaría de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales, and the Government of the United States of America through the Environmental Protection Agency.
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