June 2, 2021 (Vancouver, BC) – The BC First Nations Forestry Council (the “the Forestry Council”) acknowledges the release of the Province of British Columbia’s Intentions Paper, “Modernizing Forest Policy in BC.”
As part of this work, the Forestry Council is hopeful the Province will act on the commitment made to the Nations in 2018 to implement the BC First Nations Forest Strategy, which provides a framework to increase First Nations participation in the forest sector.
In 2019 the Forest Strategy received endorsement of First Nations leadership in BC at meetings of the BC Assembly of First Nations, the Union of BC Indian Chiefs, and the First Nations Summit.
The Forestry Council recognizes the significant changes to climate that are directly impacting forests. With knowledge that goes back generations, First Nations are key in addressing the economic, social, and environmental challenges of managing forest lands and resources for a sustainable forest today and in the future.
- The Forestry Council is pleased to see that the Province is recognizing that First Nations have wanted greater access to forest tenure for over a decade and identified tenure reallocation, through the use of apportionment and other tools, as part of modernizing forest policy. Increased First Nations participation in the forest sector through tenure reform is a key goal outlined in the Forest Strategy (Goal 4).
- We are also pleased to see the acknowledgment that First Nations want a greater role in the forest sector and in forest management. This was confirmed in our engagements with First Nations to build the Forest Strategy and the focus of Goals 1 and 5.
The Forestry Council is, however, disappointed that the Province does not mention or commit to implementation of all the goals set by Nations within the Forest Strategy.
The purpose of the Forest Strategy is to modernize G2G relationships between the Province and First Nations, and provides the framework to guide meaningful change in BC forestry with First Nations as full partners.
The Province has presented an opportunity to come together again in collaboration to implement the six goals of the Forest Strategy as part of the modernization of forest policy in BC. The meaningful engagement of First Nations in the development of management tools and a vision for globally competitive, diverse, and a sustainable forest sector for generations is work we can, and should, undertake together. We look forward to working with the Province to engage with First Nations in the modernization of forest policy and legislations in BC.
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For additional info, contact:
BC First Nations Forestry Council
+1 +1 604-971-3448 (ext. 4635)
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The First Nations Forestry Council will be hosting the 2nd Annual BC First Nations Forestry Conference virtually between June 16-18, 2021.
The 2021 event will bring together BC First Nations to share information related to forestry workforce opportunities, and provide a space for communities to share knowledge about forest stewardship and management practices in all regions of British Columbia.
The theme for this year’s event is “BC First Nations as Full Partners”. As an organization, the Forestry Council strives to support and advocate for the role BC First Nations should play as the rightful owners of forest lands and resources, including access to an equitable share of the benefits derived from forestry activities within their traditional territories. That is why this year, the conference will also provide the opportunity to bring together industry, Government, and Nations to discuss changes to forest policy and legislation, tenure, and workforce partnerships.
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