[The Plan PDF]
The Plan outlines eight priority action areas agreed to by First Nations and forms the cornerstone of all First Nations Forestry Council MPB-related initiatives and negotiations:
1. Rights to Use and Management of Forest Resources
2. Consultation and Accommodation
3. Environmental Sustainability
4. Economic Opportunities and Sustainability
5. Institutional Arrangements for Joint-Decision Making
6. Trade and International Negotiations Affecting Forest Policy
7. Social and Cultural Sustainability
Introduction (excerpted from the First Nations Mountain Pine Beetle Action Plan)
We, the assembled First Nations from across British Columbia, are inextricably linked in spirit and culture to our sacred lands, to which we have an inescapable legal and economic interest based on our Aboriginal Title and Rights. Therefore, we speak with one voice in the face of the impacts and challenges from the mountain pine beetle epidemic that is currently sweeping through our respective territories and communities.
We clearly recognize that this epidemic is expected to cause the loss of approximately 800 million cubic meters of lodgepole pine forest in the British Columbia, therefore, it must be recognized and treated as an emergency. This emergency creates multifaceted challenges for us to address forest management issues and to develop forest-based economies over the short and long term.
Moreover, we recognize that this epidemic will pose a major threat to the future well-being of our communities and will affect all First Nations-Crown negotiations and other processes underway or those proposed that are intended to give substance to our Aboriginal Title and Rights. Given this time of crisis, and the ever-increasing need to establish sustainable forest management practices, measures must be implemented immediately to facilitate joint action with all other affected parties (federal and provincial governments, municipalities, industry, and others) so that the broad challenges associated with the epidemic’s destructive impact on forest ecology can be met head-on.
In developing this initial action plan we have taken into account the applicable goals, strategies, guiding principles, and action plans from The New Relationship document that is presently guiding an improving relationship with the Government of British Columbia (see Appendices). This action plan is also informed by the Building Land and Resources Alliances Among First Nations: Joint Statement from Participating Nations, September 12, 2003 (see Appendices) and the BC Mountain Pine Beetle Action Plan 2005-2010.
The vision set out in The New Relationship describes, among other things, the need to achieve "economic self-sufficiency for First Nations” through "land and resource benefit sharing” based on "realizing the economic component of aboriginal title.” It describes the need "to ensure that lands and resources are managed in accordance with [our] laws, knowledge and values and that resource development is carried out in a sustainable
manner including the primary responsibility of preserving healthy lands, resources and ecosystems for present and future generations.” It says these goals are to be achieved through new "processes and institutions for shared decision-making” based on our "jurisdiction.”
Therefore, it is our expectation that all epidemic-related actions taken by any party or parties will respect these two important guiding documents and this action plan.
This action plan is intended to inform agreements with relevant parties in response to the emergency that is facing our Nations and communities because of the epidemic. It is presented here without prejudice to Aboriginal and Treaty Rights and Aboriginal Title of First Nations in British Columbia.