February 7, 2012
The Hon. Christy Clark
Premier, Government of British Columbia
PO Box 9041 STN Prov Govt
Victoria, BC V8W9E1
Dear Premier Clark:
Today is the sixth anniversary of the Great Bear Rainforest Agreements announced by your government, First Nations and stakeholders on February 7, 2006. These Agreements made headlines across BC and around the globe, because they were supported by unexpected allies, including logging companies and the three undersigned environmental organizations. The innovative nature of the Agreements lay in crafting solutions that truly considered both protection of the rainforest, as well as jobs and well-being in coastal communities.
The Agreements have yet to be fully implemented. However, with the leadership of your government, the milestones required to protect the rainforest and improve well-being in communities can be implemented within one year. Our organizations will be informing and engaging people to support conservation of the Great Bear Rainforest, which your government agreed to do.
A coordinated effort by all parties to finish the outstanding tasks to fully implement the Great Bear Rainforest Agreements by March 31, 2013 is feasible and will allow several concerns to be addressed in the short term:
- Interim conservation milestones agreed to in March 2009 are still not in place. The current increase in logging means that rainforest and critical habitat of Northern Goshawk and other focal species required to be set aside under the outstanding conservation step could get logged. In addition, climate change is increasing the pressure on ecosystems and species.
- Ongoing delays mean that our organizations can not broadly communicate the benefits of sustainable forest practices in the Great Bear Rainforest, as will be the case once the agreements are fully implemented.
- Agreement on specific, additional socioeconomic intiatives will speed up the improvement of human-wellbeing in First Nations communities.
Putting in place the measures required for a solution to achieve the goals of ecological integrity and human well-being in this globally important region in the next year is the best way forward.
The Great Bear Rainforest Agreements were celebrated in 2006 and 2009 as conservation models the world can learn from. If they remain only half finished, the Agreements sentence the Great Bear Rainforest to inevitable decline. Only if the agreed-to measures and initiatives are fully implemented sooner rather than later, will people of this province and the world look at them as a success, and not an empty promise.
Your leadership can ensure that resources are in place, targets are met, and a legacy celebrated by March 31, 2013.
Director, BC Forest Campaigns
Senior Forests Campaigner
Coastal Forest Campaigner
Sierra Club BC