Secretariat for Environmental Matters

The Secretariat for Environmental Matters (SEM) is an international organization that was created within the framework of the CAFTA-DR where, for the first time in the region, a free trade agreement included a chapter on the environment (Chapter 17). In this regard, the SEM was established to take charge of the functions set forth in CAFTA-DR articles 17.7 and 17.8.

CAFTA-DR Article 17.7 states that any Person of a Party may file a submission with the Secretariat for consideration. In general terms, a submission is a written statement that meets all of the requirements specified in Article 17.7.2 and which asserts that a Party (of the Treaty) is not effectively enforcing one or more of its environmental laws.

After confirming that a submission complies with all requirements specified in Article 17.7.2, the SEM may request a response from the Party in question. If the SEM determines, after analyzing the response received from the Party in question, that the submission so warrants it, the Secretariat will recommend the preparation of a detailed investigation called a factual record.

The SEM will proceed to prepare a factual record in accordance with the terms set forth in Article 17.8 if the Environmental Affairs Council, by a vote of any Party, instructs it to do so.

Find more information about the organization at their official website.