Date: Thursday, November 9, 2023
CANCUN, Mexico — The Executive Committee of the North American Intergovernmental Committee on Cooperation for Protected Areas (NAPA) signed an updated Memorandum of Understanding this week outlining a framework for continued cooperation and coordination among the United States, Canada and Mexico to guide collaborative management, sustainable and responsible use, protection, conservation, and presentation of protected areas across our shared continent.
“This trilateral forum is critical to helping us advance conservation and stewardship of shared resources across our agencies and countries,” said Acting Deputy Secretary Laura Daniel-Davis. “The work of the North American Intergovernmental Committee on Cooperation for Protected Areas is reinforced by the Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to preserve, connect and restore terrestrial and marine resources for the health of our ecosystems, people and economies. The signing of this agreement demonstrates our continued commitment to North American partners and ensures that this important work will continue."
The discussions at the NAPA Committee meeting in Cancun, Mexico, focused on strategic conservation priorities, including grassland and bison conservation, connectivity and corridors, and Indigenous stewardship of protected areas. As part of the meeting, responsibilities of the Chair of the Committee transferred from U.S. National Park Service Director Chuck Sams to Mexico’s Humberto Adan Peña Fuentes, Head of the National Commission of Natural Protected Areas. NAPA also officially invited the Interior Department’s U.S. Geological Survey to become an official NAPA Participant, as a Science Advisory Partner.
Originally created in 2009, the NAPA Committee recognizes that the United States, Canada and Mexico share a continent with vast, interconnected ecosystems that embody the culmination of thousands of years of intentional land stewardship by Indigenous peoples connected to these places, and that continue to benefit from Indigenous knowledge and stewardship, and cooperative trilateral protection.
The Committee includes six of the largest North American land and resource management agencies. Members include leadership from the Department’s National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, and U.S. Geological Survey, as well as the Department of Agriculture’s U.S. Forest Service. International partners include the National Commission of Natural Protected Areas of the Government of the United Mexican States, and the Parks Canada Agency.
Through the NAPA partnership, participating agencies share experiences, develop best practices, and imagine innovative solutions to enhance stewardship of North America’s conservation lands. Recent NAPA efforts include developing a report on working with indigenous people for the conservation and interpretation of natural and cultural heritage.
Visit this NAPA site for more detailed information about the Committee and its work.