Quebec is Recognized Internationally for its Commitments to Conservation in the Boreal Region

JEJU, SOUTH KOREA, Sept. 17, 2012 /CNW/ - The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the world's largest and oldest international environmental organization, as part of its World Conservation Congress in South Korea which concluded this weekend, passed a resolution "recognizing Quebec's progress in the conservation of the boreal region." 

The resolution, submitted by the Pew Environment Group and cosponsored by five member organizations of the IUCN, including the Government of Quebec, says, in part, that the IUCN:

WELCOMES the policies and commitments of the Plan Nord because of their commitment to conservation and sustainable economic development;

AFFIRMS that the policies and commitments of the Plan Nord befit a sustainable development model that, if implemented in full, will allow natural resources to be developed in a spirit of respect for the environment thereby creating an exemplary sustainable development project that integrates energy, mining, forest, bio-food, tourism, transportation development, wildlife management, environmental protection, the preservation of biodiversity, and that will foster development for the benefit of the communities concerned in a spirit of respect for cultures and identities;

FURTHER AFFIRMS that the aspirational goal of maintaining 50% of the northern territory of Quebec free from industrial development, if operationalized correctly, has the ability to be a guiding light to the globe as we combat the enormous global challenges of biodiversity loss and climate change;

AFFIRMS that Plan Nord is a globally significant sustainable development initiative, if implemented in a manner that safeguards the integrity of the environment and respects the indigenous peoples' human rights in accordance with the UNDRIP;

FURTHER AFFIRMS that the proposal to dedicate 600,000 square kilometres to nonindustrial purposes, protecting the environment and safeguarding biodiversity, is an outstanding and historic conservation policy that will positively reverberate around the world;

AFFIRMS that the ecological planning at the heart of Plan Nord is a critically important strategic commitment that will provide a sound long-term foundation for conservation;

AFFIRMS that the conservation components of Plan Nord will make an outstanding contribution to climate change adaptation responses in the boreal zone; and

CONGRATULATES the Government of Quebec for its vision and commitments to conservation and aboriginal rights

The Canadian Boreal Initiative (CBI) has long recognized and supported Quebec's ambitious commitments to conservation, Aboriginal peoples, and sustainable development; however, maintain that, to date, after one year, implementation is inadequate. So far, the Plan Nord, in addition to violating the rights of some First Nations, has unfairly favoured industrial activities at the expense of conservation and the needs of the affected populations. 

Premier Marois has pledged to implement the ambitious commitments of the Plan Nord 

In a letter to CBI, Premier Pauline Marois confirmed that, under her new government, the conservation and sustainable development commitments, as recognized by the IUCN, would not only be met, but exceeded.

"In 2001, I was inspired by the Nord-du-Québec policy proposed by the Parti Québécois. We are very pleased that Ms. Marois and the Parti Quebecois recognizes the importance of the North," said Suzann Méthot, CBI's Regional Director of Quebec. "Like the IUCN, she also acknowledges the importance of the ambitious commitments made by the Government of Quebec, Aboriginal governments, and stakeholders for the protection of the environment, economic and social development of the northern territories, and local populations in 2011." 

"If we want conservation and social concerns to be at the forefront of development in the North, we have a lot of catching up to do," concluded Ms. Méthot. "Plan Nord cannot go forward without consent from First Nations, upon whose land natural resources are being developed without their consent. We hope that Ms. Marois ensures that the development and implementation of ecological planning in the North, including full respect for Aboriginal nations' rights on their territories, are a top priority for her administration. The Premier of Quebec stands to be the first to implement a comprehensive model of sustainable development, one that has already captured the interest of the international community, particularly within the Francophonie."

About the Canadian Boreal Initiative
The Canadian Boreal Initiative brings together diverse partners to create new solutions for the conservation and sustainable development of the Boreal Forest. It works at a catalyst by supporting on-the-ground efforts across the Boreal, by Governments, industry, Aboriginal nations, conservation organizations, major retailers, financial institutions and scientists.

SOURCE: Canadian Boreal Initiative

For further information:

Suzann Méthot, Regional Director - Québec, Canadian Boreal Initiative
(514) 792-1843 smethot@borealcanada.ca

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