As world's biggest environmental summit in a decade nears, Plan Nord's conservation policy at critical stage
RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil, June 14, 2012 /CNW/ - On June 17, Pew Environment Group will join with Quebec Premier Jean Charest at the United Nations' Rio +20 to outline the world's most ambitious sustainable development plan. Plan Nord commits to protect an area the size of France from industrial activity, and maintain sustainable standards on an area of equal size, balancing economic development with conservation. Yet, conflicts in Quebec's legislative process could jeopardize the policy.
WHEN, WHERE: June 17, 19:30-21:00, Rio Centro, room T-6 (directions and agenda <http://www.uncsd2012.org/index.php?page=view&type=1000&nr=452&menu=126> )
WHO: Nikita Lopoukhine, Chair, International Union for Conservation of Nature, World Commission on Protected Areas—Premier Jean Charest, Province of Quebec—Mat Jacobson, Pew Environment Group—Suzann Methot, Canadian Boreal Initiative Legislation introduced in April in Quebec's National Assembly could protect half of the boreal region- nearly 600,000 square kilometers, an area about the size of France - from all industrial activity. However, according to a New York Times editorial <http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/02/opinion/quebecs-front-line-forests.html?_r=2> last month, "As envisioned by Mr. Charest, the bill would have made a firm commitment to prevent all industrial activity. As revised by government bureaucrats, the latest version promises only that, at some future point, steps will be taken to 'protect the environment… ." The editorial followed a letter from members of an international science symposium calling on the premier to strengthen the bill's conservation commitment.
"If the premier's commitment to science-based planning and partnership with aboriginal communities is carried out, the Plan Nord could become a new global model for sustainable development," said Mat Jacobson, who works on boreal conservation for the Pew Environment Group.
"The Plan Nord is an historic commitment to reconcile environmental with economic issues, and aboriginal rights with the well-being of non-indigenous communities," said Suzann Méthot of the Canadian Boreal Initiative in Quebec, Pew Environment Group's Canadian partner. "The challenge will be in the implementation. We hope all partners will continue to work together to find solutions to the obstacles we face, leading to achievements as inspiring as our goals."
The circumpolar boreal forest, one of Earth's largest and arguably least known ecosystems, plays a crucial role in the health of the planet. Rivaling the Amazon in size and ecological importance, Canada's boreal forest supports the world's most extensive network of pure lakes, rivers and wetlands and captures and stores twice as much carbon <http://www.pewenvironment.org/news-room/reports/the-carbon-the-world-forgot-8589940415> as tropical forests. It teems with wildlife—including billions of songbirds that migrate across the Americas.
The Pew Environment Group is the conservation arm of The Pew Charitable Trusts, a nongovernmental organization that works globally to establish pragmatic, science-based policies that protect our oceans, preserve our wildlands, and promote clean energy. www.PewEnvironment.org <http://www.PewEnvironment.org>
For further information:
Elyssa Rosen, 775-224-7497, [email protected]