Canada-Chile environmental commission: 2011 meeting outcomes

Eleventh Council Session

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Santiago, Chile, July 13, 2011 - The Council of the Canada-Chile Commission for Environmental Cooperation met for its Eleventh Regular Session on July 13, 2011 in Santiago. 

Canada and Chile signed the Canada-Chile Environmental Cooperation Agreement in 1997 in parallel to the bilateral Canada-Chile Free Trade Agreement.  This Agreement offers a model for environmental cooperation in the context of expanding integration, based on the principle that trade should not occur at the expense of environmental protection.

The past year has been one of change for the Canada-Chile Commission on Environmental Cooperation.  Most significantly, Chile’s National Commission for the Environment (CONAMA), which hosts the Chilean National Secretariat, became the Ministry of the Environment (MMA) in 2010, heralding a new era for environmental management in Chile.  The new Ministry is responsible for the design and implementation of policies, plans and programs for the protection of the environment; the conservation of biological diversity, renewable natural resources and water resources; the promotion of sustainable development; and the integrity of environmental policy and its regulatory framework.

Alongside this new institutional context, officials from both countries have worked toward improving the implementation of cooperative activities by focusing on better communication and reporting of the results of projects.  This is reflected in the new format for the 2010 Annual Report, which includes summaries from project leaders on their progress in advancing mutual environmental priorities.  Implementation of projects over the last year resulted in:  

  • Conservation and community outreach activities to protect the Pink-footed Shearwater.
  • Detections of 1,300 banded Hudsonian Godwits and Whimbrels, and compiling five years worth of data to advance knowledge of non-breeding ecology of the species.
  • Surveys of the Red Knot population, the results of which are being used internationally to advance conservation and management at key sites.
  • Information sharing for improved management of environmental risk and contaminated sites.
  • Multi-sector (government, industry, civil society) engagement in the development of a plan to monitor the environmental impacts of the pulp and paper sector on the Bío Bío watershed. 
  • A three-month train-the-trainer internship provided to a Chilean bander.
  • Chilean participation at the International Network for Environmental Compliance and Enforcement’s (INECE) 9th International Conference hosted by Canada to advance international collaboration, which resulted in the establishment of a Latin American Compliance and Enforcement Network.

The Commission has also worked with the Joint Public Advisory Committee (JPAC) to improve public engagement under the Agreement.  During the Eleventh Council Session, JPAC hosted a public session on renewable energies with guest speaker, Hugh Rudnick, from the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile.  Canada and Chile met with the public during this session, had a discussion and appreciated the insights provided on improving the implementation of the Agreement and ensuring that related work is transparent and relevant to the needs of citizens.

Canada and Chile remain committed to the Agreement, look forward to its continued success in the future and will meet again under the auspices of the Twelfth Regular Session of the Canada-Chile Commission for Environmental Cooperation in Canada in 2012.


The Canada-Chile Agreement on Environmental Cooperation (CCAEC) entered into force in July 1997 following the signing of the Canada-Chile Free Trade Agreement. It is designed to promote environmental cooperation and enforcement of environmental laws in both Canada and Chile. It commits the Parties to high environmental standards; effective enforcement of environmental laws; open, transparent, equitable and accountable processes for developing environmental laws and policies; and environmental cooperation activities to help ensure these commitments can be kept. In addition to the Council, the Canada-Chile Commission for Environmental Cooperation includes a Joint Public Advisory Committee (JPAC) (three citizens from each country) and a Joint Submission Committee (JSC) (one citizen from each country). The Commission is assisted by two National Secretariats, housed in the environment ministries of each Party.

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