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Friday, April 27, 2012: A group of internationally renowned scientists, gathered in Montreal, Quebec for a symposium on ecological planning for the Plan Nord have sent the attached letter today to Quebec’s Premier Jean Charest objecting to language in a bill presented by the Ministry of Sustainable Development, Environment, and Parks to Quebec’s National Assembly on April 17 which changes the Premier’s commitment from:
“Excluding all industrial activities from 50% of the area covered by The Plan Nord.”(1) to: “50% of the area is to benefit from measures to protect the environment, maintain biodiversity, enhance the natural heritage and promote the sustainable use of resources.”(2) According to the letter, “We find this substitution, which could be interpreted to include industrial mining, logging, and energy projects, to be inconsistent with the commitments of the Plan Nord, and incompatible with achieving the goal of making, “the Plan Nord a sustainable development and environmental protection benchmark worldwide.”3
Signatories of the letter include:
- Nikita Lopoukhine Chair, World Commission on Protected Areas, International Union for the Conservation of Nature, former Director General National Parks, Parks Canada
- Brendan Mackey Director of the Griffith Climate Change Response Program, Griffith University, Australia Member, IUCN Council, Regional Councilor for Oceania; Co-Chair, Earth Charter International Council
- James Levitt Director, Program on Conservation Innovation at the Harvard Forest, Harvard University
- Louis Bélanger Professor, Faculty of Forestry, Geography and Geomatics, Université Laval
- David Schindler Professor of Ecology, University of Alberta; Chair, Killam Memorial
- Fiona Schmiegelow Professor, Northern Environmental and Conservation Sciences, Department of Renewable Resources, University of Alberta; Principal Investigator, The Canadian BEACONs Project
- Stephen Woodley Senior Advisor, International Union for the Conservation of Nature(IUCN)
“We therefore respectfully urge you continue your demonstration of global conservation leadership by correcting this situation to ensure that the Plan Nord will indeed meet its intended goals, and remain worthy of our engagement and our enthusiastic support,” the letter concludes.
1 “Le Plan Nord – Pour un développement économique socialement responsable et durable”: pp 9-10
2 An Act respecting natural heritage conservation and the sustainable development of the area covered by the Northern Plan
page 9 at II.1.14 and explanatory notes
3 PREMIER JEAN CHAREST, Montréal, February 5, 2012
According to Mathew Jacobson of the Pew Environment Group, which has consistently supported the Premiers commitment, the disconnect appears to lie at the bureaucratic level, rather than with the Premier.
International Science Symposium on Quebec’s Plan Nord
Government, scientists to set path for boreal ecosystem protection
Montreal, Quebec, April 24, 2012 – “Planning the conservationof Quebec’s northern ecosystems: the challenge of a decade” will bring scientists and other experts together to determine solutions for the government of Quebec’s ambitious land planning commitment in its Plan Nord region. Legislation to codify these protections was introduced in the National Assembly April 17
Symposium attendees will include top international and Quebec scientists, aboriginal and non-aboriginal experts in community and land use planning, and natural resource conservation and management, key government officials, and conservation organizations. Expected outcomes are a series of questions and practical recommendations to the Quebec government. To read the full list of participants, see www.scienceqc.ca.
WHEN: Symposium takes place April 25-27, 2012. Key media opportunities are:
Opening cocktail: Wednesday, April 25, 2012: 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Closing events: Friday, April 27, 2012:
Plenary session: 3:30 p.m.
Speech by Minister of Sustainable Development, Pierre Arcand: 4:45 p.m.
Media availability: 5:00 p.m.
WHO: Government officials, Aboriginal and NGO reps, and leading scientists, including:
Pierre Arcand, Minister, Ministry of Sustainable Development, Environment and Parks (MDDEP)
Didier Babin, Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity
Norman Barichello, Ross River Dena First Nation
Patrick Beauchesne, Ministry of Sustainable Development, Environment and Parks (MDDEP)
Stephen Kakfwi, former Premier of the Northwest Territories and former Grand Chief of the Dene Nation
James Levitt, Director, Program on Conservation Innovation at the Harvard Forest, Harvard University
Nik Lopoukhine, International Union for the Conservation of Nature
Brendan Mackey, Director of the Griffith Climate Change Response Program, Griffith University, Australia
Mike McKenzie, Vice-chief, Uashat mak Mani-Utenam
David Schindler, Professor of Ecology, Biological Sciences, University of Alberta
Norman Sterriah, Ross River Dena First Nation
WHERE: Université de Montréal Biodiversity Centre and the Montréal Botanical Garden
4101 Sherbrooke St. E.
SPONSORS: Government of Québec, Canadian Boreal Initiative, the Pew Charitable Trusts, and Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation
PARTNERS: International Union for Conservation of Nature, First Nations of Québec and Labrador Sustainable Development Institute, Ducks Unlimited Canada, The Université de Montréal Biodiversity Centre, Space for Life, Montréal Botanical Garden
For more information:
Pew Environment Group, International Boreal Conservation Campaign, Quebec
Canadian Boreal Initiative
613-232-2530 or 613-552-7277
Government of Québec and International Conservation Organizations to Host Science Symposium
Montréal, March 26, 2012: The International Science Symposium: Planning the conservation of Quebec’s northern ecosystems: The challenge of a decade, to be held from April 26-27 in Montreal, will be a unique opportunity for scientists and other experts to establish a common understanding of the major conservation issues for the implementation of the government commitment to protect 50% of the territory of the Plan Nord.
The expected outcome of the symposium will be a series of questions and concrete recommendations adapted to the Québec context that will assist the government in achieving its commitment. They will identify the winning conditions for the conservation of biodiversity over large areas and the implementation of ecological planning.
The symposium will bring together international and Quebec scientists, Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal experts in community and land use planning, and natural resource conservation and management. Symposium sessions on April 26 will be open to the public (registration required), and the workshops for scientists and experts on April 27 will be by invitation only. The Symposium will be held at the Montréal Botanical Garden and the Université de Montréal Biodiversity Centre.
Symposium sponsors are the Government of Québec, the Pew Charitable Trusts, the Canadian Boreal Initiative, and The Prince Albert II Foundation of Monaco. The symposium is presented in partnership with Ducks Unlimited Canada, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, First Nations of Labrador and Quebec Sustainable Development Institute, Université de Montréal Biodiversity Centre, and the Montréal Botanical Gardens.
Director of communications, Canadian Boreal Initiative