Canada, Mexico and the United States share a wide array of ecosystems, habitats, and species. They are also linked by strong economic, social and cultural ties. Each of the three countries addresses wildlife and ecosystem conservation issues through its own domestic programs. However, as a result of the North American region’s increasing development, and emerging global problems such as invasive species invasive species
An invasive species is any plant or animal that has spread or been introduced into a new area where they are, or could, cause harm to the environment, economy, or human, animal, or plant health. Their unwelcome presence can destroy ecosystems and cost millions of dollars.

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, wildlife diseases, toxic substances, and climate change climate change
Climate change includes both global warming driven by human-induced emissions of greenhouse gases and the resulting large-scale shifts in weather patterns. Though there have been previous periods of climatic change, since the mid-20th century humans have had an unprecedented impact on Earth's climate system and caused change on a global scale.

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, there is also an increasing need for a continental approach to conservation. To more effectively address priorities of continental significance and boost the concerted efforts of the three countries of North America, Canada, Mexico, and the United States signed a Memorandum of Understanding in 1995, establishing the Canada/Mexico/U.S. Trilateral Committee for Wildlife and Ecosystem Conservation and Management (Trilateral Committee). The Trilateral Committee is headed by the directors of the Canadian Wildlife Service (CWS), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), and the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources of Mexico (SEMARNAT).

The goals of the Trilateral Committee are to foster an integrated continental perspective for cooperative conservation and sustainable use of biological resources, contribute to the maintenance of the ecological integrity of North American ecoregions, and promote biodiversity conservation capacity building and cooperative cross-sectoral activities in the three countries that will contribute to the reduction and mitigation of threats to North American shared species and ecosystems. This is done through coordination, cooperation, and development of partnerships among wildlife agencies of the three countries and other interested parties. Thirty organizations from the three countries currently participate in various activities of the Trilateral Committee, including federal and state government agencies, research and academic institutions, non-governmental organizations, and private industry.

Delegations from each country meet annually for discussions on a wide range of topics related to conservation, including climate change and connectivity, diversity and inclusion, human dimensions or social science, technology innovation, and zoonotic diseases. Discussions take place under the auspices of working tables that report to an executive body. Working tables are established or discontinued based upon the evolving priorities of the three nations. Currently, there are six active working tables: Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), Ecosystem Conservation, Executive, Law Enforcement, Migratory Birds, and Species of Common Conservation Concern.

The three countries alternate hosting the Trilateral Committee's annual meeting. The United States is hosting this year's annual meeting from April 29-May 2, in San Diego, CA. The topic of this year's plenary discussion is Safeguarding Our Biodiversity: Indigenous People and Local Communities (IPLC) Wisdom, Environmental Justice, and Ecosystem Defense.

Visit our Trilateral Committee photo album to see a selection of species and topics of interest, and find out more about the Trilateral in the links below!

A rolling hills grassland ecosystem with native forbs and grasses
The central grasslands of North America occupy a broad swath of the midcontinent that was once a contiguous ecosystem stretching from what is today southern Canada to northern Mexico. These grasslands are home to a plethora of wildlife including some unique species that occur nowhere else on earth...