Canada-Honduras environment agreement

Flags of Canada and Honduras
The Agreement on Environmental Cooperation between Canada and the Republic of Honduras (the Canada-Honduras Environmental Cooperation Agreement) was signed on November 5, 2013. Once in force, this Agreement will commit both countries to encourage high levels of domestic environmental protection, to foster good environmental governance and to promote transparency and public participation. It will also create a framework for undertaking environmental cooperative activities.

The Environment Agreement, signed in parallel to the Canada-Honduras Free Trade Agreement (FTA), reinforces the concept that free trade should not take place at the expense of the environment. The FTA itself also includes environment provisions and a principles-based Environment chapter.

The Environmental Cooperation Agreement must now pass through each country’s respective ratification processes before it enters into force.

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Key Elements of the Environmental Cooperation Agreement

Under the Canada-Honduras Environmental Cooperation Agreement, the countries commit to:

  • ensure that their laws and policies provide for high levels of environmental protection;
  • effectively enforce their environmental laws;
  • not relax their environmental laws in order to encourage trade or investment;
  • ensure that procedures for environmental impact assessment are maintained;
  • ensure that proceedings are available to provide sanctions or remedies for violations of their environmental laws;
  • promote public awareness of environmental laws and policies; and,
  • encourage voluntary best practices of corporate social responsibility.

The Environmental Cooperation Agreement also includes enforcement and complaint mechanisms, which:

  • allow any Canadian or Honduran to submit a written question to either country regarding any obligation under the Agreement;
  • provide that any Canadian or Honduran can request an investigation of alleged violations of environmental laws in his or her country; and
  • establish a procedure for review of obligations to address any matter that may arise under the Agreement.

The Environmental Cooperation Agreement will also create a framework to undertake environmental cooperative activities.

For more information on the Environmental Cooperation Agreement, please refer to the Summary of the Canada-Honduras Environmental Cooperation Agreement.

Environment Elements in the FTA

The FTA includes an Environment Chapter and environmental provisions throughout the Agreement that:

  • recognize the need to implement the FTA in a manner consistent with environmental protection and conservation and the sustainable use of  resources;
  • stipulate that, in the case of inconsistent obligations, multilateral environmental agreements that both countries have signed and ratified (e.g., Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer) prevail over the FTA;
  • require that the countries not weaken domestic health, safety or environmental measures to encourage investment;
  • allow the countries to take certain necessary measures to protect human, animal and plant life or health, which may be inconsistent with trade or investment obligations; and
  • commit the Commission established under the FTA to consider reports and recommendations from the Committee on the Environment, in respect of any trade and environment-related issues.

Committee and Cooperative Activities

The implementation of the Canada-Honduras Environmental Cooperation Agreement will be overseen by a Committee on the Environment, made up of government officials from both countries.

The countries are to decide on priority areas and create a work program of environment-related cooperative activities. The activities that may be carried out include exchanges of experts; training and workshops; joint research projects; or, any other form of environmental cooperation that may be decided by the Parties.

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