The La Paz Agreement

October 11th, 2021

by Andrew Verboncouer

The 1983 La Paz Agreement between the United States and Mexico is a pact for the protection, preservation, and improvement of the environment of the border region of the two countries. The agreement defined the area as the 62 miles (100 km) north and south of the international border. This area includes maritime (maritime) borders and lands in four U.S. states and six Mexican border states. In 1993, the United States, Mexico and Canada negotiated the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation (NAAEC), nafta`s environmental agreement, to promote sustainable development through mutually supportive environmental and economic policies. The Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) was established under the NAAEC to protect, preserve and improve the environment by strengthening cooperation between the three signatories and enhancing public participation. The three parties each contribute $3 million per year to the CEC. Thirty years after its signature, the La Paz Agreement remains “the key agreement for bilateral cooperation on environmental protection in the border region”. [6] The agreement between the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) and the American Institute of Taiwan (AIT) on technical cooperation in the field of environmental protection was signed in 1993 by Administrator Carol Browner and Director of the AIT. AIT is an office established by the Department of Foreign Affairs pursuant to the Relations Act of 1979, 22 U.S.C. Section 3301-3316. This year marks the thirtieth anniversary of the agreement. As part of the agreement, USEPA and AIT develop a new work plan every two years.

The order of work describes the responsibility of each party and the projects to be implemented in a biennial segment. The Parties hold annual planning and review meetings to assess results and lay the groundwork for future projects. Representatives of the two countries signed the agreement in August. 14, 1983, in La Paz, Mexico. The Agreement entered into force on 16 February 1984. It has set up six working groups, each focusing on an environmental concern. Representatives from both countries participate in working groups that focus on water, air, hazardous and solid waste, pollution prevention, emergency planning and emergency measures, and implementation and enforcement of cooperation. The 1996 Protocol is a separate agreement which modernised and updated the London Convention after a detailed review which began in 1993. After its entry into force, the 1996 Protocol will replace the London Convention.

As of July 2006, 22 States have acceded to the 1996 Protocol. Four other parts are needed before the entry into force of the Protocol. The strategy sets milestones to be achieved from 1997 to 2006. Among these, the strategy calls for a 50% reduction in mercury use at the national level, a 90% reduction in PCBs used in electrical appliances at a high level; and to agree that there will be no releases of five bioacculmulative pesticides – chlordane, aldrin/dieldrin, DDT, Mirex and Toxapheus. The IBWC focuses on rehabilitation, distribution, and flood protection by natural river waters and the distribution of borders between the United States. . . .

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