WASHINGTON—The Pew Charitable Trusts applauded the Quebec government’s relaunch of the sustainable development project known as the Plan Nord and welcomed Premier Philippe Couillard’s commitment to withdraw half of the territory covered by the plan from industrial activity.
Mathew Jacobson, Pew’s boreal conservation officer, issued this statement:
“The boreal forest in Quebec is a vital part of the largest intact expanse of forest remaining in the world, and the province is fortunate it has this opportunity to plan ahead for its management.
“By relaunching the Plan Nord, complete with its commitments to withdraw half of Quebec’s boreal region from industrial activity and to respect the rights of aboriginal peoples, Premier Philippe Couillard has reasserted Quebec’s position as a global leader in conservation, sustainable development, and the fight against climate change.
“Pew pledges to help Quebec implement this plan and to promote the province’s historic vision. The Plan Nord can serve as a global model for how to balance the development of natural resources with protection of the environment.
“Pew believes that what is good for the environment can also be good for the economy, and the Plan Nord represents an immense opportunity to demonstrate this fact.”
Background on Pew’s work to protect Canada’s boreal forest
Pew’s International Boreal Conservation Campaign plays a critical role in efforts to protect globally important ecosystems and to restore old-growth forests and wilderness in North America. It is a partnership with Ducks Unlimited.
The effort is dedicated to public education and advocacy to protect all of the world’s boreal forests but with a special emphasis on the Canadian boreal, where we have the best chance to make major conservation gains.
The campaign works closely with Canadian and international environmental organizations, corporations, and aboriginal First Nations to build support for the Boreal Forest Conservation Framework, a visionary plan to protect and sustain this globally vital ecosystem over time, with a minimum 50 of percent included in new parks and wildlife preserves. The Boreal Framework is supported by 1,500 scientists from around the world, as well as scores of businesses, aboriginal groups, and conservation organizations.
Background on the Plan Nord
The Plan Nord was launched in 2011 after 1½ years of meetings among nearly 450 representatives of provincial, regional, First Nations (Cree, Naskapi, Innu) and Inuit governments, and the economic, social, community, and environmental sectors. These parties worked together to establish new ways of cooperating to balance economic development, social concerns, and environmental protection in northern Quebec.
On May 9, 2011, after 60 meetings of working and consensus-building groups, representatives of these governmental bodies and social and industrial sectors signed a “Partners Declaration” committing to a series of policies for sustainable development in northern Quebec that they felt best balanced their many concerns.
The plan, which covers 75 percent of the province, an area twice the size of France, includes commitments to maintain Nation to Nation relations with the aboriginal First Nations peoples who live in the Plan Nord territory and to protect 50 percent of the area from industrial activity.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature has described the plan as “a guiding light to the globe as we combat the enormous global challenges of biodiversity loss and climate change” and as “an outstanding and historic conservation policy that will positively reverberate around the world.” The New York Times has called the Plan Nord “one of the largest land conservation initiatives in history.”
More information on the International Boreal Conservation Campaign is available at www.pewtrusts.org/en/projects/international-boreal-conservation-campaign.
The Pew Charitable Trusts is driven by the power of knowledge to solve today’s most challenging problems. Learn more at www.pewtrusts.org.