Analysis of Canada-Chile Agreement on Environmental Cooperation: chapter 3

Part Three: Canada-Chile Commission for Environmental Cooperation

Article 8: The Commission provides for the establishment of the Canada-Chile Commission for Environmental Cooperation.

Section A: The Council

Article 9: Council Structure and Procedures indicates that the Council, established under the Commission, is comprised of Environment ministers or equivalent representatives or their designees. The Council shall establish its own rules and shall meet at least once a year in regular session or, additionally, at the request of either Party. The Council shall hold a public meeting in the course of all regular sessions. It may establish working groups and seek the advice of experts. All decisions and recommendations of the Council shall be taken by mutual agreement except as Council may otherwise decide.

Article 10: Council Functions describes the Council's functions. The Council serves as a forum for discussion between the Parties on environmental matters. The Council is responsible for overseeing the implementation and further elaboration of the Agreement including, within 3 years of entry into force, conducting a review of its operation and effectiveness. The Council oversees the functions assigned to the National Secretariats and approves the annual program of work and budget of the Commission. The article provides a list of 18 potential areas of cooperative work in which the Council may develop recommendations. The article calls on the Council to strengthen cooperation in the development and continuing improvement of environmental laws and regulations through information exchange and development of recommendations on greater compatibility of standards, regulations and conformity assessment procedures. The Council shall develop recommendations regarding public access to information and appropriate limits for specific pollutants. It shall cooperate with the CCFTA Free Trade Commission by providing information, by assisting in consultations, by contributing to the prevention or resolution of environment related trade disputes, and by considering, on an ongoing basis, the environmental effects of the CCFTA.

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Section B:

Nationaal Secretariats

Article 11: National Secretariat states that each party shall establish a National Secretariat and designate an Executive Secretary responsible for its administration and management. The National Secretariats shall provide technical, administrative and operational support to the Council. They shall jointly submit the annual work program and budget for approval of the Council. The annual program of work shall identify how its implementation will be financed and implemented. The National Secretariats and the Joint Submissions Committee will safeguard from disclosure information they receive that could identify a person or non-government organization wishing not to be identified. They will also safeguard from public disclosure any information designated confidential or proprietary by the individual or NGO providing it.

Article 12: The Joint Submission Committee This committee is comprised of two members; one from each Party. The members are selected for a three year term, renewable for one term. The Joint Submission Committee is responsible for ensuring the objective, independent administration of Article 14, Submissions on Enforcement Matters.

Article 13: Annual Report of the Commission specifies that the National Secretariats shall jointly prepare an annual report of the Commission. The report will address the activities and expenses of the Commission; the approved program and budget for the subsequent year; actions taken with respect to obligations; recommendations made on any matter within the scope of the Agreement; and shall periodically address the state of the environment in the territories of the Parties.

Article 14: Submissions on Enforcement Matters describes a process by which individuals and NGO's can assert a Party is failing to effectively enforce an environmental law. Submissions may be sent to either National Secretariat and will be circulated to the other National Secretariat. They consider the submission against seven criteria such as; that it is in writing in one of the official languages of the Agreement; that it clearly identified the submitter; that it provides sufficient information to allow the review of the submission; that it is aimed at promoting enforcement; that the matter has been communicated in writing to the relevant authorities; and that it is is filed by a person or organization residing or established in the territory of a Party. If either National Secretariat finds the submission meets these criteria, it is forwarded to the Joint Submission Committee.

The Joint Submission Committee must establish whether the submission merits requesting a response from the Party. They are guided by four considerations; whether the submission alleges harm to the submitter; whether it raises matters whose further study in this process would advance the goals of the Agreement; whether available private remedies have been pursued; and whether the submission is drawn exclusively from mass media reports.

If a response from a Party is requested, the Party shall advise the Joint Submission Committee with 30 or in exceptional circumstances 60 days whether the matter is the subject of a pending judicial or administrative proceeding or whether the matter has previously or is presently being considered by the Secretariat of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation of the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation. Under these circumstances, the Joint submission Committee shall proceed no further. The Party may submit any other information, such as whether the matter was previously the subject of a judicial or administrative proceeding or whether private remedies are available and whether they had been pursued.

Article 15: Factual Record provides that the Joint Submission Committee can recommend to the Council preparation of a factual record on a submission where it considers it warranted. A factual record will be prepared if either Party so decides. Where the submission originates with an organization or enterprise organized under the laws of a province not participating in the Agreement, both Parties must agree that a factual record be prepared.

The factual record shall be prepared by an expert selected from a roster of experts in environmental matters established within 6 months of the coming into force of the Agreement. The National Secretariat of the Party not involved in the submission will commission the factual record.

In preparing a factual record the expert in environmental matters shall consider information furnished by a Party and may consider other relevant technical scientific or other information that is publicly available, submitted by persons NGO's or the Joint Public Advisory Committee or developed by independent experts. Following submission of the draft factual record to Council, Parties have 45 days within which to provide comments on its accuracy. These comments will be incorporated as appropriate in the final factual record. The final factual record will be submitted to Council at the request of either Party. Council will make the factual record public with 60 days following its submission.

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Section C: Advisory Committees

Article 16: Joint Public Advisory CommitteeThis article establishes the Joint Public Advisory Committee comprised of six members, three appointed by each Party. The Joint Public Advisory Committee convenes at the time of the regular Council session and at other times as decided by the Council or the Committee members. The Joint Public Advisory Committee advises the Council on any matters within the scope of the agreement. It may provide information to the National Secretariats for the purpose of preparing a factual record under Article 15.

Article 17: National Advisory Committee The article provides that Parties may establish national advisory committees to advise on the implementation and further elaboration of the Agreement.

Article 18: Governmental Committee This article allows each Party to convene a committee of representatives of national or provincial governments to advise on the implementation and further elaboration of the Agreement. In Canada provinces and territories must choose to participate in this Agreement. Canada will establish a federal-provincial-territorial committee of ministers of participating provinces and territories to implement the Agreement.

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Section D:

Article 19: Official Languages: The official languages of the Commission are English, French and Spanish.

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