Canada-Panama environmental agreement

Official title: Agreement on the Environment between Canada and the Republic of Panama

Subject category:
Environmental Cooperation
Type of agreement / instrument:
Bilateral
Form:
Legally-binding treaty
Status:
  • Signed on May 24, 2010
  • Ratified by Canada December 14, 2012
  • In force in Canada April 1, 2013
  • In force internationally April 1, 2013
  • Ongoing
Lead & partner departments:
Lead:
Environment and Climate Change Canada
Partners:
Global Affairs Canada. Others (depending on cooperative activity)
For further information:
Web links:
Contacts:
ECCC Inquiry Centre
Compendium edition:
October 2018
Reference #:
B3/EN

Plain language summary

The Canada-Panama Environmental Cooperation Agreement, signed in parallel to the Free Trade Agreement, is a legally binding mechanism for bilateral environmental cooperation. The Agreement requires both countries to encourage high levels of domestic environmental protection, to foster good environmental governance and to promote transparency and public participation. The Agreement also creates a framework for undertaking environmental cooperative activities. Cooperative actives allow for policy dialogue and information exchange, which strengthens environmental protection in both countries. The implementation of the Canada–Panama Environment Agreement is overseen by a Committee on the Environment, composed of senior officials from Environment  and Climate Change Canada and Panama’s Ministry of Environment. 

Objective

This Agreement commits both countries to foster conservation, protection and improvement of the environment; promotion of sustainable development; promotion of cooperation between the Parties on environmental governance; compliance with and enforcement of environmental laws; promotion of transparency and public participation; and, promotion of economically efficient and effective environmental measures.

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 Panama 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 Panama’s Ministry of Environment  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

Activities

The Committee on the Environment is required to meet as mutually decided by the countries (either in person or by videoconference) in order to discuss 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 July 2015.

Reports

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.

Results

Under this Agreement, Canada and Panama 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 Panama.

Recent cooperative activities have focused on themes including climate change mitigation and adaptation, conservation of shared migratory species, contaminated sites management, and environmental education.

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