March 1, 2004

Framework will guide air quality activities involving Canada, U.S. and Mexico

A strategic framework issued for comment last week by the Commission for Environmental Co-operation (CEC) is intended to provide guidance to the CEC Council and secretariat for carrying out mutually beneficial air-related activities. It aims to promote greater understanding and effectiveness of CEC air-related activities and of the air quality programs in the three countries, with an emphasis on co-ordination, and synergy across CEC air activities.

The CEC established the North American Air Working Group (NAAWG) in 2002 to "provide advice and commentary to the Council on the development and implementation of the annual work plan for the Air Quality Program and for other CEC activities involving air issues."

The NAAWG is made up of the senior air quality officials from each of the three governments. Currently, they are Barry Stemshorn, assistant deputy minister for Environment Canada's environmental protection service (air pollution prevention directorate); Jeffrey Holmstead, assistant administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's office of air and radiation; and Francisco Giner de los Rios, subsecretario de gestiÛn para la protecciÛn ambiental, SecretarÌa de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales

The draft Long-term Strategic Framework for Air-related Activities of the CEC proposes a three-step process, beginning with a determination of strategic directions which can guide air-related activities of the CEC Secretariat. The second step would be to provide advice and commentary on the development and implementation of the CEC's annual operational plan. The third step would be an evaluation of the effectiveness and efficiency of implemented actions.

Comments on the draft framework are being invited from government, industry, nongovernmental organizations and the public. Some specific areas to consider in providing comments include defining strategic goals and priority areas for CEC air quality activities, and suggesting ways in which the NAAWG can involve the public in the formation of its advice to the secretariat and the Council.

More information is available from Paul Miller at the CEC, 514/350-4326, E-mail Comments are due by April 12, 2004 and should be sent to the CEC, 393, rue St-Jacques ouest, Bureau 200, Montreal, Que H2Y 1N9; 514/350-4300; FAX 514/350-4314, E-mail:, Web site All comments received will be posted to the CEC Web site in their original language.

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