Canadian conservation model at UN
By press release
June 24, 2014, ROME, ITALY – The Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement (CBFA) integrates economic and environmental objectives through science-based actions and provides a model that has global relevance, say experts speaking at the United Nation's (UN) Food and Agriculture Organization's Committee on Forestry (COFO).
"The CBFA model is a pragmatic, problem-solving forum that holds both industry and conservation groups equally accountable for finding solutions to our combined economic and environmental objectives," said CBFA Secretariat Executive Director Aran O'Carroll.
In four years since signing the agreement, signatories have developed joint blueprints for conserving caribou and creating protected areas across Canada, these include proposals to establish two new wilderness class parks in Alberta and to adopt conservation measures in Ontario that safeguard boreal woodland caribou while securing hundreds of forestry-related jobs.
O'Carroll was joined by two CBFA signatories, Janet Sumner, Executive Director of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society Wildlands League, and Mark Hubert, Vice President of Environmental Leadership for the Forest Products Association of Canada. The COFO side-event, entitled The Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement: From Conflict to Collaboration, was moderated by Glenn Mason, Assistant Deputy Minister of the Canadian Forest Service, Natural Resources Canada.
"The CBFA is about finding the sweet spot between economic realities and ecological imperative. It is about constructing solutions that bring about peace between the forest industry and environmental organizations in Canada. These goals can only be realized in collaboration with First Nations and affected municipalities and rely heavily on science and analysis," said Sumner.
"In particular, we want to thank the Government of Canada for the critical scientific tools it is providing us as we create solutions."
Hubert said the forest industry is committed to the CBFA because it recognizes that conserving habitat and protecting jobs goes hand in hand.
"We support the CBFA as a means to secure the health and long-term future of the Canadian forestry sector in a way that protects the environment, the endangered woodland caribou and helps forest-dependent communities," said Hubert.
The CBFA, which was signed in May 2010, includes seven leading environmental organizations, the Forest Products Association of Canada, its 18 member companies, and Kruger Inc. It directly applies to more than 73 million hectares across the country, making it the world's largest conservation initiative.
The CBFA represents a globally significant precedent that seeks to conserve significant areas of Canada's vast boreal forest, protect threatened woodland caribou, and sustain a healthy forest sector by laying a foundation for the future prosperity of the industry and communities that rely on it.