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Fact Sheet
Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
January 30, 2008


CAFTA-DR Environment Projects

From 2005-2007, the Bush Administration committed nearly $40 million to support trade-related environmental initiatives in Central American-Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) countries. These activities will strengthen institutions for more effective implementation and enforcement of environmental laws and promote biodiversity and conservation, market-based conservation, and private-sector environmental performance.

Activities are already underway to enhance protected areas, strengthen fisheries enforcement and wildlife management capacity, and strengthen compliance with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES). U.S. funding also supported the creation of the CAFTA-DR Secretariat for Environmental Matters. Fiscal Year 2007 funds will build on the foundation of previous years while streamlining the program to focus on trade capacity building activities.

2007 Programs

Strengthen Institutions for More Effective Implementation and Enforcement of Environmental Laws - $7.7 million. This program seeks to create a level playing field for free trade by developing harmonized environmental regulations, implementing procedures, and enforcement policies that provide clear guidance to businesses in the region. In addition, it seeks to increase the capacity of CAFTA-DR countries to more effectively enforce their environmental laws by developing programs that promote compliance; instituting policies that provide incentives for voluntary environmental auditing; and encouraging private sector adoption of performance and compliance-focused environmental management systems.

Promote Biodiversity and Conservation - $3.8 million. This comprehensive program is designed to combat illicit trade in wildlife and timber species by working with national and local governments and non-governmental partners to strengthen the enforcement of environmental laws and multilateral environmental agreements, specifically CITES. Planned activities will also improve the sustainability of commercial fisheries by introducing more comprehensive management approaches. These will, for example, promote sustainable lobster harvesting and reduce incidental catch of endangered sea turtles.

Promote Market-Based Conservation - $3.2 million. This initiative will improve conservation through the adoption of sustainable tourism practices. It will help CAFTA-DR governments remove barriers that keep funds from reaching protected areas, adopt payment for environmental services, and place appropriate economic value on the conservation and management of natural resources. It will also improve natural resource management and habitat conservation by providing funds through competitive grants to promote alternative livelihoods through sustainable agriculture programs.

Promote Private-Sector Environmental Performance - $3.2 million. This initiative will improve the private sector’s environmental performance by providing flexible incentives, information, and technical assistance to adopt cleaner production technologies and best practices. Special emphasis will be placed on voluntary agreements and public-private partnerships.

CAFTA-DR specific obligations - $1.4 million. The Secretariat for Environmental Matters will continue to receive support for annual operating expenses of the Public Submissions Unit within the Secretaría de Integración Económica Centroamericana (SIECA), which reviews and investigates complaints about failures in the enforcement of environmental laws. Funding will also be provided to monitor and evaluate the activities pursuant to the Environmental Cooperation Agreement (ECA) work plan, and to support the Environmental Affairs Council and the Environmental Cooperation Commission.

2008/069


Released on January 30, 2008

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