In an event held at the Atlantic Council in Washington on March 17, National Security Advisor and Ambassador Susan Rice spoke of “seizing a transformational moment in the Western Hemisphere”. She specifically alluded to the efforts led by Mexico in addressing climate change, advancing clean energy and fostering economic integration.
(Photo courtesy of Atlantic Council/Victoria Langton)
“2016 is an especially significant —perhaps even historic— year for the region”, commented Ambassador Rice when referring to the moment the Americas is currently experiencing, in spite of the undeniable challenges the region is yet to address. In the spirit of building “collaborations committed to expanding prosperity and opportunity”, and in the words of President Obama five years ago, this is “a region on the move, proud of its progress, and ready to assume a greater role in world affairs.” Hence, the United States’ new approach towards Latin America and the Caribbean resulting in revisiting relations with Cuba, and the continued support to Colombia in their efforts to end half a century of civil war, among other significant gestures that highlights the country’s deep engagement in the region.
In North America for example, Mexico has shown how a country can grow when its companies successfully integrate into the regional and global economy. As part of the Pacific Alliance— along with Chile, Colombia, and Peru-Mexico has progressed impressively in reducing trade barriers and integrating financial markets. The Mexican Government is also implementing key energy reforms, becoming a vital partner in combating climate change, since addressing this global challenge effectively requires the unity and willingness of an entire region. The North American country is also striving to strengthen its judiciary branch in an effort to build durable, accountable institutions upon which democracy, growth and basic services depend.
Moreover, the Mexican Agency for International Development Cooperation (AMEXCID) is currently providing funding for cooperation programs through the Association of Caribbean States-ACS and CARICOM. Regarding sustainable energy and climate change mitigation, Mexico has stood out as a hemispheric pioneer on energy efficiency. Mexico has led the Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas (ECPA) Energy Efficiency Working Group since 2011 through its Energy Secretariat and the technical support of the National Commission for the Efficient Use of Energy (Conuee). Mexico hosted the Second ECPA ministerial meeting in Merida, Yucatan, in May 2015, and is an active member of the Partnership’s Steering Committee. ECPA will support Mexico in the provision of technical assistance under the “Mesoamerican Integration and Development Project” (MIDP).
Ambassador Rice also referred to ECPA as a mechanism by which the region is harnessing its unique strengths when it comes to clean energy, an area with ample levering for economic cooperation in a hemisphere particularly vulnerable to climate change. ECPA also responds to a fundamental view of “Partnerships rooted in mutual interests and mutual respect […]”, spearheaded by the U.S. current leadership.