November 27, 2019 (Victoria, BC) – The BC First Nations Forestry Council (FNFC) applauds the BC government on being the first in Canada to table and pass legislation (Bill 41) that implements the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (the UN Declaration) as part of the Province’s commitment to reconciliation with First Nations.
“This is a truly significant moment in our history and the BC First Nations Forestry Council is pleased to support the work of the First Nations Leadership Council and the Province on the development of this legislation,” tells Dr. Charlene Higgins, CEO of FNFC.
“We see this as an important step forward in the recognition of self-determination, and the development of enabling-tools to support government-to-government decision-making regarding the use of forest lands and resources.”
The UN Declaration articles 25-32 provide critical guidance for the Province and First Nations to jointly implement systematic changes to increase the role Indigenous Peoples play in the management of lands, and resources, the right to redress or fair and equitable compensation, and the right to the conservation and protection of their lands and territories.
“For years we have been working with the Province and First Nations on the development of a BC First Nations Forest Strategy and Implementation Plan that outlines actions the Province can take to fulfill their commitment to implementing the UN Declaration,” continues Higgins.
The BC First Nations Forest Strategy reflects the principles of the UN Declaration and has been informed through direct engagement with First Nations to support government-to-government relationships between the Province and First Nations to increase the role First Nations play in the governance and stewardship of forest lands and resources.
“Bill 41 can support and enable work in partnership with the BC government on implementation of the BC First Nations Forest Strategy, and lays the groundwork for the development of forest policies, programs, and legislation needed to implement the principles of the UN Declaration,” continues Higgins.
“It’s a step in the right direction towards making First Nations full partners in the forest sector.”
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BC First Nations Forestry Council