Canada-Colombia agreement on environmental cooperation

Official title: Agreement on Environmental Cooperation between the Government of Canada and the Government of the Republic of Colombia

Subject category:
Environmental Cooperation
Type of agreement / instrument:
Legally-binding treaty
  • Signed on November 21, 2008
  • Ratified by Canada June 30, 2010
  • In force in Canada August 15, 2011
  • In force internationally August 15, 2011
  • Ongoing
Lead & partner departments:
Environment and Climate Change Canada
Global Affairs Canada. Others (depending on cooperative activity).
For further information:
Web links:
ECCC Inquiry Centre
Compendium edition:
January 2020
Reference #:

Plain language summary

The Agreement on the Environment between Canada and the Republic of Colombia commits both countries to encourage high levels of national environmental protection, to enforce environmental laws effectively, to promote sustainable development in both countries. The Agreement reinforces the concept that free trade should not be to the detriment of the environment.

The Agreement also establishes enforcement and complaint mechanisms that allow any Canadian and any Colombian to submit a written question to either country regarding any obligation contained therein. The Agreement provides that any Canadian or any Colombian may request an investigation of alleged violations of environmental laws in their country. The Agreement also establishes a framework for carrying out environmental cooperation activities.


This Agreement commits both countries to encourage high levels of domestic environmental protection, to foster good environmental governance and to promote transparency and public participation. It also creates a framework for undertaking environmental cooperative activities.

Key elements

Commitments to ensure high levels of environmental protection and effective enforcement of environmental laws.

A non-derogation clause that obligates the countries not to relax their environmental laws in order to encourage trade or investment.

A dispute resolution mechanism regarding obligations identified in the Agreement.

A commitment to maintain appropriate procedures to conduct environmental impact assessments, and allow for public participation in these procedures.

Provisions to ensure that interested persons can request the investigation of alleged violations of environmental laws.

A requirement for each country to designate a National Coordinating Officer for the Environment Agreement and establish a Committee on the Environment responsible for development and implementation of cooperative programs and activities.

A commitment to develop cooperative programs and activities, subject to available resources.

Expected results

Facilitate collaboration between Canada and Colombia on environmental priorities, aimed at strengthening environmental protection.

Provide effective mechanisms to raise and resolve concerns about the effective enforcement of domestic environmental laws.

Canada’s involvement

Environment and Climate Change Canada works with Colombia’s Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development (MADS) to implement the Agreement, in partnership with external experts (including representatives of other government department/agencies, academics, private sector and NGOs) who support collaborative activities.

Results / progress


The Committee on the Environment meets to decide on priority areas for cooperation, approve the bilateral work program consisting of cooperative projects, discuss implementation of projects, and share policy updates. The Committee on the Environment last met in May 2018 in Gatineau, Quebec, Canada. Participants agreed to cooperate on the following areas: chemicals’ management; conserving biodiversity; mitigating environmental impacts of mining; and management and reduction of forest fires.


The Committee on the Environment is required to prepare a summary record of meetings, in addition to reports and recommendations on bilateral activities.

There is also a requirement to consider undertaking a review of the implementation of the Agreement, within five years of its entry into force.


Under this Agreement, Canada and Colombia have taken important steps towards strengthening relations on environmental matters.

The Committee on the Environment provides a mechanism for regular policy dialogue and information exchanges on a wide range of priority topics.

The Agreement provides a mechanism to foster capacity-building and collaborative research on issues of importance to Canada and Colombia.

Recent cooperative activities have focused on climate change, biodiversity, chemical management and regulation of mining activities.

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