The environmental issue is addressed in MERCOSUR in the preamble of the Treaty of Asunción, which founded the bloc in 1991, with the mention that the expansion of markets must consider the “most efficient use of available resources and the preservation of the environment.”
”. Considered a cross-cutting issue, Resolution 22/92 of the Common Market Group creates a Specialized Meeting on the Environment and then approves a document derived from the Meeting, “Basic Guidelines for Environmental Policy”, based on GMC Resolution 10/94. The following year, a specific Working Subgroup linked to the GMC was created, SGT-6 “Environment”, which began to focus on technical discussions. In 2004, the Meeting of Environment Ministers began to guide dialogue and joint actions on the issue.
Since then, various instruments and information systems have been developed to address the issue, with recommendations on the harmonization of environmental standards and the adoption of common measures. Some important milestones refer to the Guaraní Aquifer (one of the largest natural freshwater reservoirs in the world), Biodiversity and the development of a plan for the prevention, monitoring, control and mitigation of invasive exotic species.
The issue is also highlighted in the MERCOSUR Strategic Social Action Plan, approved in 2011. At the level of International Cooperation, it is important to highlight the memorandum of understanding signed with the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP). It establishes that both the block and UNEP will maintain close collaboration on issues related to the environment.