Statements from the Co-Conveners

CANADA - Jack Austin

As these words are written, a man who changed the nature of our world has just stepped down as leader of a great nation, baptized and confirmed in the flames of two world wars, and now only a memory. Only six short years ago, Mikhail S. Gorbachev spoke directly to the American people in an historic New Year's message. Mr. Gorbachev said, "Our duty to all humankind is to offer it a safe prospect of peace, a prospect of entering the Third Millennium without fear. Let us commit ourselves to doing away with the threat hanging over humanity. Let us not shift that task onto our children's shoulders....We can hardly succeed in attaining that goal unless we begin saving up, bit by bit, the most precious capital there is: trust among nations and peoples."

Trust can only be built with dialogue, exchange, and understanding. With the current state of development of relations on the North American continent, if NAMI did not exist, we would have to invent something much like it.

Canadians seem to be a troubled people these days. Probably no country in the Austin (from Page 1) world is more perplexed by the problem of reconciling the economic forces leading toward global economic integration with the social forces leading toward political fragmentation. The examples of European consolidation on the one hand and Soviet disintegration on the other give point to Canadian dilemmas concerning Quebec nationalism, regional alienation and aboriginal self-determination -- all superimposed on a concern for Canadian competitiveness in a global economy, Canadian values in a borderless information society, and Canadian roles in an emerging North American (or Western Hemisphere, or Pacific Basin) community.

In this context, the North American Institute offers an opportunity to develop some shared perspectives through a continuing open and informal exchange of views with our partners in the North American community. From the beginning -- first with the leadership of Maurice Strong, and continuing with my own chairmanship as Canadian co-convener -- Canadian participation in NAMI has aimed at more effective management of continental resources and coordination of policies having significant spillovers across national borders, without any "continentalist" agenda, surrender of sovereignty, or loss of distinct identity. The value of such unofficial and informal consultation among diverse participants in an ongoing exchange is obvious. NAMI speaks not of official positions, nor from one perspective only, nor with the force of official pronouncements. Where interests, cultures, and traditions are so diverse, this form of consultative, informed, participatory discussion -- in a position to influence the perceptions of officials and politicians, but not carrying the baggage of past policies or the weight of official commitments or diplomatic obligation -- can provide an important supplement to formal international negotiations and intergovernmental discussions.

The Canadian group within NAMI renews its membership in response to the shifting topics informing NAMI's agenda and forum meetings, but maintains a core structure for purposes of continuity. NAMI's forum meetings, past and planned, reflect key Canadian concerns with environment and competitiveness, learning and competitiveness, resource management and international trade, and the role of culture in providing a foundation on which cohesive community structures can be sustained in the face of the increasing pressures of global markets and integrated regional economies. Participants in these discussions have seen NAMI meetings as building greater understanding within North America and contributing to an accumulating body of shared experience among concerned observers in the three participating countries.

Now beyond its initial growing pains, NAMI has potentially an important role to play in the Canadian context. Support for our work from the Donner Canadian Foundation, the C.R. Bronfman Foundation, and the Institute for Research on Public Policy is gratefully acknowledged. We hope to augment this core support with substantial resources from other donors in order to increase the impact and awareness of NAMI activities. Like our colleagues in the U.S. and Mexico, we see NAMI as making a significant contribution to discussion in all our countries as we grapple with the details of a North American Free Trade Agreement, environmental spillovers and environmental degradation, the movement of peoples, and the cultural impacts of unlimited communication in the global village.

We in NAMI began our meetings and discussions before a North American Free Trade Agreement was a notion with any credibility. Our biggest challenge now is to keep up with the pace at which events are driving the political and diplomatic agenda. With growing rejection of closed political processes, and growing skepticism of the traditional institutions of representative government, we in Canada see NAMI as offering a more participatory and consultative foundation for governmental decision in a more integrated regional association of interdependent but sovereign states.

Our challenge will be to build the capacity for shared governance of this region before the task of governing grows beyond the reach of any institutions. From the perspective of this co-convener and the Canadian participants, the North American Institute has an important contribution to make toward meeting that challenge.

Jack Austin is a Senator and member of the Senate Standing Committees on Banking, Trade, and Commerce; on Social Affairs; and on Science and Technology. He is a Senior Policy Advisor for the Liberal Party of Canada; is a Director of Elite Insurance Management Ltd., Giant Pacific Petroleum Inc., and Morgan Financial Corp.; and is Associate Counsel, Swinton & Co. Mr. Austin has served as Deputy Minister for Energy, Mines, and Resources; Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister; Minister of State for Social Development; Minister of State for Expo '86; and Chairman of the Ministerial Subcommittee on Broadcasting and Cultural Affairs. He is the author of Canadian-United States Practice and Theory Respecting the International Law of International Rivers and co-author of Canadian View of Territorial Seas and Fisheries.

MEXICO - Emillo Carrillo Gamboa

When we started the North American Institute in 1988, the concept of whether there was a North American agenda was still very much in debate. NAMI started with the purpose of making a contribution, first, to the establishment of such an agenda, and then to promoting the flow of ideas among individuals from Canada, the United States, and Mexico who share common interests.

I was not the original co-convener for Mexico. Jesus Silva Herzog, a distinguished former Secretary of the Treasury of my country and presently our ambassador to Spain, had that honor.

We have tried to place in the NAMI forum the issues that, in our understanding, are presently the most relevant for North America. That is why we have already held sessions on energy, on relationships with Japan, and, of course, on free trade and the environment.

We are not specialists, but we have a strong interest in the issues that are important to our countries, and we have been fortunate to receive the advice of distinguished experts, be they scholars, politicians, or businessmen, on matters of the North American agenda discussed in the NAMI forum.

The newsletter is a step forward for NAMI. It is consistent with our idea to act as a point of communication among our three countries and among people who share our interest in North America. We expect to produce a document that will list very briefly the main issues being discussed in our countries. Mexico is moving fast under a very forceful and modern leader, President Salinas. With the newsletter we expect to keep at least partially abreast of the positive changes happening here, and to give our readers, in a very condensed form, a sense of participation in the issues and the debates.

There is no doubt now that a North American agenda exists. Now more than ever our three countries are working closer together, and in this process we are getting to know one another better, with respect to both our similarities and our disparities.

In the short lifespan of NAMI, we have found a new dialogue that, considering the differences in nationality, has given us a very wide channel of communication that makes it possible to diminish our differences and to enhance our areas of agreement.

NAMI is not a closed institution, and we expect that the openness of our forum will encourage more and more persons to communicate trinationally with and through us. We shall continue addressing the important issues of our times.

Emilio Carrillo Gamboa is a senior partner in the law firm of Bufete Carrillo Gamboa S.C. and was Mexico's ambassador to Canada from 1987 to 1989. Prior to that he was managing director of Telefonos de Mexico. Mr. Carrillo is chairman of the boards of Teleindustria Ericsson, Corporación Impulsora del Valle de Toluca, and Minera Tesoro Mexcan. He serves on the boards of numerous companies and public service institutions in Mexico and presides over the Bilateral Sweden-Mexico Committee of the Mexican Council of International Affairs. Mr. Carrillo holds a law degree from the National University of Mexico.

UNITED STATES - George A. Cowan

The worldwide trend toward international alliances and federations in governance and economic activity is continuing and accelerating. It is simultaneously stimulating renewed attention to local and regional autonomy. Growing recognition of the need to protect essential individual and regional rights while nurturing the most constructive aspects of globalization of our society has inevitably produced problems and tensions that require our urgent attention It is increasingly necessary to devise and strengthen institutions which can define a rich set of options for global interconnections while minimizing the erosion of individual and regional independence. In recent years we have seen a healthy proliferation of quasi-governmental organizations that help to address these competing needs and to initiate actions at a broad level of participation that encourages the constant exchange of views and information with a minimum of formality. These groups are well qualified to call on their governments when policy-making actions are needed at a higher level.

NAMI was organized to nurture mutually supportive economic, political, social, and scientific activities on a trilateral level between the major North American governments. It strives to achieve a consensual basis for initiating actions which can be undertaken by groups within their respective governments, to define political options which might be presented to the governments, and to provide for analysis of desirable policy-making steps by the governments. It organizes and supports meetings between highly qualified experts on a variety of views on matters of mutual concern and summarizes these views in reports, particularly identifying areas of consensus and areas of disagreement and encouraging the development of a broad consensual base. It also attempts to collect reports from other organizations and arms of government dealing with similar problems and to make summaries generally available.

The U.S. contingent is particularly well suited to solicit ideas and proposals for interdisciplinary approaches to shared scientific, environmental, and economic problems. Its members include numerous people of great experience in North American political, economic, social, and scientific affairs. It has established relationships with groups at the Los Alamos National Laboratory working on environmental problems in Mexico and with global climate problems. It is also associated with a community of scholars at the Santa Fe Institute, which pursues interdisciplinary research on complex, nonlinear processes in a variety of social and biological problems. It remains in close contact with faculty members of the University of New Mexico who work in related fields. Its offices are in Santa Fe, which is an increasingly cosmopolitan and attractive setting for convening the kinds of people who can best contribute to its objectives.

Dr. George A. Cowan is a member and past President of the Santa Fe Institute. For many years he was associated with the Los Alamos National Laboratory as a Senior Fellow and research administrator of various LANL projects in nuclear chemistry and in earth and life sciences. Dr. Cowan has contributed extensively to the scientific literature and is a recipient of the Enrico Fermi Award, the highest scientific honor awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy. He received his doctorate in physical chemistry from the Carnegie Institute of Technology and is a fellow of a number of national scientific organizations. Dr. Cowan succeeds Governor Bruce Babbitt of Arizona and Mason Willrich, President of P.G. & E. Enterprises, as Co-Convener.

NAMI Forum Focuses on Environment and Economic Competitiveness

The notion of Mexico as a "pollution haven" for U.S. companies seeking less stringent environmental quality laws is erroneous, according to panelists speaking at the North American Institute's recent Forum on Economic Competitiveness and the Environment.

Thirty-five distinguished representatives from Canada, the U.S., and Mexico gathered in Santa Fe for two days in November as NAMI hosted its seventh trinational meeting. The group heard about innovative policies to control air pollution in Los Angeles and to curb electric power demand by Ontario Hydro in Canada, and about Mexico City's Air Quality Initiative, a model cooperative venture involving the Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Researcher Linda Trocki of Los Alamos cited studies that have found little or no correlation between patterns of investment or plant location and pollution abatement costs. Trocki noted that location decisions are dictated much more by interest rates, exchange rates, relative labor rates, and other factors. Pete Emerson of the Environmental Defense Fund concurred, pointing out that the plants along the U.S.-Mexican border follow this pattern.

Mexico's 1988 environmental protection legislation is based in large part on U.S. law and includes provisions for protecting all major ecosystem components. The Mexican law requires environmental impact assessments as part of all economic development projects. Emerson reminded the group of the U.S.'s own zig-zag course toward clean air and water, which should be kept in mind when evaluating Mexico's progress.

NAMI members agreed to continue to support cooperative North American environmental initiatives such as the Mexico City-Los Alamos project and the sharing of information and technology between Los Angeles and Mexico City.

The next NAMI meeting will take place May 22-24, 1992 in Ottawa and will focus on the role of education in North America.

Sen. Jack Austin
The Senate of Canada
Victoria Building
140 Wellington Street, Room 304
Ottowa, Ontario
Canada K1A 0A4
Tel: 613-992-1437
Fax: 613-995-7329
Email: [email protected]
708 Paseo de Peralta
Santa Fe, NM 87501
Tel: 505.982.3657
Fax: 505.983.5840
Email: [email protected]
Amb. Jesus Reyes Heroles
Pestalozzi 522
Colonia del Valle
Mexico DF 03020
Tel: 011 52 555 639-3791
Fax: 011 52 555 639-4624
Email: [email protected]
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