Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Marcia Bernicat Travels to Miami and Bogota

Office of the Spokesperson

The 13th Meeting of the Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) Environmental Affairs Council will take place November 13–14, 2019, in Miami, Florida.Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs (OES) Marcia Bernicat and Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Environment and Natural Resources (AUSTR) Jennifer Prescott will represent the United States at the meeting.  Ambassador Bernicat and AUSTR Prescott will participate in a ministerial panel as well as a public session with the other Council members from Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua.  The panel will focus on opportunities and challenges related to implementation of the Environment Chapter of CAFTA-DR.

Since it entered into force 13 years ago, CAFTA-DR has promoted stronger trade and investment ties, prosperity, and stability throughout the region.  Additionally, CAFTA-DR provides governments with a platform to advance common environmental goals.  Some achievements include improving more than 227 environmental laws or regulations; training more than 143,000 people in natural resources management and biodiversity conservation; reaching more than 25 million people through public awareness campaigns on wildlife conservation; establishing the successful Central American Wildlife Enforcement Network (CAWEN), which has supported wildlife operations and arrests that have helped reduce wildlife trafficking in the region; and attracting more than $21 million in funding from private and government partners to support environmental cooperation activities.

Ambassador Bernicat will then travel to Bogota, Colombia from November 14–18, 2019, to serve as keynote speaker and a project judge for Zoohackathon 2019 Colombia.  While in Bogota she will also meet with government officials to discuss OES policy priorities, as well as with representatives of local environmental non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

Zoohackathon is a series of computer-coding competitions aimed at developing technology solutions to combat wildlife trafficking.  This fall, Zoohackathon will take place at 15 sites around the world.  Zoohackathon 2019 Colombia will be held at Jorge Tadeo Lozano University in Bogotá and will focus on developing viable technological tools to help mitigate, neutralize, and combat illegal logging in Colombia and other countries in the Amazon region.

For more information, contact and follow the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs on Twitter @StateDeptOES.