The Commission for Environmental Cooperation’s (CEC) Joint Public Advisory Committee (JPAC) has submitted new Advice to the CEC Council, following a meeting of the JPAC and a youth roundtable alongside the 28th annual CEC Council Session. The Council Session invited experts on sustainable resource management, disaster mitigation and planning and sustainable law and governance to participate in a public consultation on climate change and environmental justice solutions.

The advice drives home the fact that climate change is not just an environmental issue. It is also about housing, the economy, infrastructure investment, public health, education and other interconnected socioeconomic issues. As the youth rapporteur during the Council Session, Justin Onwenu, stated, “It is about having a healthy democracy, climate change literacy and a space for all citizens to work with governments and make sure that their voices are heard when discussing solutions.”

 

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Justin Onwenu, youth representative for the CEC JPAC.
Image credit: Twitter @JustinOnwenu.

“It is clear to experts and members of the public alike that solutions to address climate change must take into consideration environmental justice and the disproportionate impacts on vulnerable and underserved communities,” said Dr. Pedro Moctezuma Barragán, 2021 JPAC Chair and Mexican economist and academic. “The Advice JPAC has provided to the CEC Council recognizes the intersection of both environmental and social issues and reaffirms the importance of building resilient communities.”

JPAC engages the public across North America on pressing environmental issues, and provides advice to the environment ministers of Canada, Mexico and the United States after each public consultation, based on feedback from stakeholders, environmental and industry experts and members of the public.

The JPAC has provided the following recommendations for North America’s environmental officials, based on the most recent public consultation alongside the 2021 CEC Council Session:

  • Identify and share best practices for the integration of climate change and environmental justice in government policies, programs and activities
  • Identify and share case studies highlighting measures taken by vulnerable and underserved communities to increase their resilience
  • Support capacity building for vulnerable, underserved and Indigenous communities
  • Support climate change literacy through knowledge dissemination targeting vulnerable, underserved and Indigenous communities
  • Support and/or strengthen the creation of national climate change and environmental justice laws and policies
  • Support the professional development and involvement in CEC activities of North American youth

The Joint Public Advisory Committee is composed of nine citizens, three from each country (Canada, Mexico and the United States). Together, they advise the Council on a wide array of environmental issues within the scope of the Agreement on Environmental Cooperation.

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