bears and more • Klaus Pommerenke
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7. Dezember 2014
Umsetzung des Great Bear Rainforest-Abkommens
lässt immer noch auf sich warten
Spätestens am 31. März 2014 hätten alle Ziele des bereits 2006 zwischen 27 First Nations, der Provinzregierung von BC, der im Great Bear Rainforest tätigen Forst- und Papierkonzerne und den drei Umweltschutzgruppen Greenpeace, ForestEthics und Sierra Club BC ausgehandelten Great Bear Rainforest Abkommens umgesetzt sein sollen. Am 15. April hieß es noch, dass die Provinzregierung von BC und die First Nations „have renewed their commitment to finish the task by the end of 2014“ (Great Bear Rainforest will win with extra time. Jens Wieting, Huffington Post, 15. April 2014). Jetzt, drei Wochen vor Jahresende, ist die volle Umsetzung der Schutzziele des Abkommens immer noch nicht in Sicht. Forstkonzerne wie TimberWest können deshalb ihre brutale Kahlschlagsforstwirtschaft unter schamloser Ausnutzung aller Schlupflöcher und haarsträubenden Definitionen, was Sekundärwald und was Urwald ist, weiter fortsetzen. „It’s time to fully deliver Great Bear Rainforest agreements“ lautete der Titel eines Artikels von Jens Wieting, Eduardo Sousa und Valerie Langer am 4. November 2014 in der Vancouver Sun. Jens Wieting beschrieb in seinem Artikel „Now is the time to deliver the Great Bear Rainforest agreements“ für den Sierra Club BC eindringlich, was auf dem Spiel steht, falls sich die Umsetzung des Abkommens noch weiter verzögern wird:
„Today, all parties involved have a clear understanding of what the solutions package will recommend:
  • improved decision-making between the Province and First Nations;
  • new human well-being commitments for First Nations;
  • increasing the amount of rainforest off-limits to logging to 70 per cent of the natural old-growth;
  • and implementing an ecologically-sound forest management framework.
All that is missing at this point is for the BC government to heed the call from First Nations, forestry companies, environmental organizations and a majority of British Columbians (68 per cent, according to a 2013 poll) to focus leadership and resources to finish the outstanding steps of the agreements in the coming weeks.“
Im Folgenden finden Sie den Artikel von Jens Wieting, Eduardo Sousa und Valerie Langer, der in der Vancouver Sun vom 4. November 2014 erschienen ist:
„People around the world care deeply about British Columbia’s Great Bear Rainforest because of its spectacular natural beauty, rich First Nations cultures and their hope that thriving communities and intact rainforest are about to become reality in this region.
The public’s optimism that this is possible is built on the Great Bear Rainforest Agreements announced in February 2006 by the provincial government, First Nations, a group of logging companies and environmental groups, which marked a breakthrough after years of land use conflicts, and were celebrated around the world.
By March 2009, a number of key milestones were met, including setting aside half of the rainforest, $120 million for First Nations community well-being and shared decision-making, and a new five-year-plan agreed on the outstanding steps to meet the goals of a healthy rainforest and communities by 2014.
Today, after years of technical work, negotiations and planning, all parties involved have a clear understanding of what the solutions package will include: improve decision-making between Province and First Nations; new human well-being commitments for First Nations; increase the amount of rainforest off-limits to logging to 70 per cent of the natural old-growth and an ecologically-sound forest management framework.
All that is missing at this point is for the B.C. government to heed the call from First Nations, forestry companies, environmental organizations and a majority of British Columbians (68 per cent, according to a 2013 poll) and focus leadership and resources to finish the task in the coming weeks.
Eight years since the historic announcement, here are eight reasons why now is the time for the B.C. government to fully deliver the Great Bear Rainforest Agreements:
  1. Because there is only one Great Bear Rainforest.

    Twice as big as Belgium, the region represents some of the largest intact tracts of coastal temperate rainforest on the planet. Temperate rainforests have always been globally rare, covering less than one per cent of the planet’s land mass, and today few areas remain unlogged. It is the only home of the rare white spirit bear and provides intact habitat for unique coastal wolves, grizzly bears and all five species of Pacific salmon.

  2. Because we urgently need a model for an economy that respects the limits of nature.

    The new approach to forest conservation and management introduced in the Great Bear Rainforest is based on Ecosystem Based Management. Its key principle is to respect Mother Nature’s needs and undertake careful planning to make sure enough forest is being set aside before logging happens. Whether looking at clean water, clean air, wildlife habitat or a livable climate: This is a model the world is desperately waiting for.

  3. Because success is paramount to build trust that collaboration can work.

    All parties involved, some of them with a long history of conflict, managed to move from confrontation to collaboration. With perseverance, vision and leadership, the B.C. government, First Nations, logging companies and environmental organizations have managed to work through complex issues and endorse an integrated set of agreements including conservation, economic activity, funding and decision-making. Not following through would put the trust in collaboration at stake.

  4. Because it is a model for a new relationship between First Nations and the Province.

    The government-to-government relationship and the resulting progress toward shared decision-making, reconciliation and revenue-sharing between the Province and First Nations has become an integral part of the agreements and implementation progress in this region. And it offers a potential answer to pressing questions arising out of the recent milestone Supreme Court William case that strengthened First Nations rights.

  5. Because one of the best carbon banks on the planet will be protected.

    There are few ecosystems on the planet that store as much carbon per hectare as coastal temperate rainforests. Protecting the rainforest keeps carbon out of the atmosphere. These large intact old-growth rainforest areas are more resilient than other forests under a changing climate.

  6. Because it matters to B.C.’s coastal forest industry.

    The conservation commitments contained in the Great Bear Rainforest Agreements have resulted in significant reputational benefits for the forest industry operating in the region (despite the fact that forest management remains dismal in almost all other parts of the province). But as long as conservation gaps remain, the marketplace remains concerned about potential conflict.

  7. Because we will inspire action to protect the lungs of the world.

    The world’s life support systems are on the brink. Intact natural forests are the lungs of our planet, habitat of a large part of the world’s species and home to hundreds of millions of human beings. Success in the Great Bear Rainforest will inspire change elsewhere, from the Boreal to the equator and beyond.

  8. Because the world is watching.

    The Great Bear Rainforest is a global treasure and its fate a global concern. From forest products customers to people working to protect tropical rainforest and Prince Charles, the world is watching to see if promises made in 2006 and 2009 will be kept. There are few moments in the history of British Columbia where a provincial government is presented with an opportunity of this global significance to show leadership and make a gift to the world.

Jens Wieting is Forest and Climate Campaigner with the Sierra Club BC, Eduardo Sousa is Senior Forests Campaigner for Greenpeace, and Valerie Langer is Senior Campaigner with ForestEthics Solutions.“
© Vancouver Sun
Auch Justine Hunter wies in ihrem Artikel in The Globe and Mail vom 30. Oktober 2014 auf die Probleme bei der Umsetzung des Great Bear Rainforest Abkommens hin, vor allem auf die geringe Bereitschaft der Provinzregierung von BC, in finanzieller Hinsicht den First Nations mit ihren Forderungen entgegenzukommen. Nachfolgend finden Sie den Artikel von Justine Hunter wiedergegeben:
„Great Bear Rainforest deal hinges on First Nations
One of British Columbia’s most remarkable collaborative creations, the Great Bear Rainforest, is close to becoming a reality after more than a decade of negotiations.
But the key architects of the deal say it is in danger of falling apart unless the provincial government addresses the needs of the region’s human residents – primarily First Nations communities.
The pact that ended the war of the woods, which would preserve large swaths of old-growth trees and the home of the Kermode bears on B.C.’s mid-coast, has focused since talks began in 1999 on logging and wildlife.
Now, its approval hinges on a settlement between the province and 27 First Nations who reside within its boundaries on issues ranging from carbon offsets to the grizzly bear hunt.
In January, environmentalists and the forest industry announced they had reached agreement on what can be logged and what must be protected in the Great Bear Rainforest.
It would mean the protection of 70 per cent of the land base in a rugged coastal region that covers 6.4 million hectares of the mid-coast, and the end of a battle marked by logging blockades and a marketing campaign that advocated boycotts of B.C. forest products in Europe and the United States.
‚This would be a feather in Premier Christy Clark’s cap‘, said Valerie Langer, representing the coalition of environmental organizations at the table: Greenpeace, ForestEthics Solutions and the Sierra Club of B.C. ‚Not completing it would unravel a collaborative initiative that has taken more than a decade to produce.‘
First Nations communities who live in the Great Bear Rainforest are asking for skills-training opportunities, carbon-offset credits and a share of the limited logging activity as part of the ‚human well-being‘ component of the deal.
Also entwined in the negotiations are demands to roll back coastal ferry service cuts, and to end trophy hunting of grizzly bears.
A letter to the B.C. government signed by industry, environmentalists and First Nations who have been instrumental in developing the ‚ecosystem based management‘ agreement says the province needs to bring the financial resources to the table to ensure the agreement is signed by the end of the year. ‚Failure to do so will make … it very difficult for us to keep our respective members supportive‘ of the deal, the Oct. 9 letter warns. Advocates fear the government is not moving quickly enough to get Treasury Board approval in time for the next B.C. budget.
The Treasury Board is working on the framework of the budget and will meet on Thursday. But Forests Minister Steve Thomson, the minister responsible for the file, has not promised to meet a firm deadline. ‚We are fully committed to work as quickly as we can to get it done‘, he said in an interview. Mr. Thomson added that he is working on a package to improve the living conditions of First Nations communities in the region, but he cautioned that change won’t come quickly. ‚It may need to be incremental.‘
It is clear an agreement with First Nations will not be as simple as cutting a cheque. Ferry services were reduced earlier this year and despite a storm of protest from coastal communities, the province has maintained those cuts are necessary to ensure the financial health of BC Ferries. As well, the province has long defended the grizzly bear hunt. There were 234 hunting licences issued in the Great Bear Rainforest last year, which the government maintains is sustainable given the size of the grizzly bear population.
Art Sterritt, executive director of the Coastal First Nations, said he believes an agreement is within reach that could see the Great Bear Rainforest enshrined in legislation by next spring. He said it will require some ‚creativity‘ around the ferry services that are important to communities’ economic well-being. As for the grizzly hunt, he said the province needs to understand how offensive it is to his members. ‚It is a lack of respect for our culture; we can’t fathom people shooting bears for sport.‘
Dallas Smith, president of the Nanwakolas Council, which represents the southern First Nations, said preserving the land base isn’t enough without helping lift up impoverished communities within the region.
‚It’s frustrating how long it has taken. It has been hard to hold our communities at the table‘, he said. ‚We haven’t been able to bring home anything to our communities.‘
Rick Jeffrey, lead negotiator for the forest industry, said the framework for a settlement is there, but the province needs to deliver its part. ‚The government has to bring their authorizations and resources to the table. I’m quite satisfied that everybody is dedicated to getting it done.‘“
© JUSTINE HUNTER, The Globe and Mail
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