Canada can capitalize on Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement being its single most internationally recognized environmental initiative, says FPAC chief

OTTAWA , September 20, 2011 (press release) – The federal government should take heed of the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement (CBFA), an unexpected marriage between conservationists and industry that is helping protect the environment and jobs while boosting Canada's image in the world.

That was the view expressed last night at a panel at the Museum of Nature in Ottawa held to celebrate National Forest Week and the International Year of the Forest. The panel included Avrim Lazar, President and CEO of the Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC), Richard Brooks, the Forests Campaign Coordinator for Greenpeace and Tim Gray, the Program Director for the Ivey Foundation.

The landmark Boreal Agreement, signed in May 2010, brought together 9 conservation groups and 21 forest companies belonging to FPAC. The two sides agreed to lay down arms and instead work together to change the old paradigm of the environment versus the economy into one that recognizes the need for both environmental conservation and a healthy industry.

Avrim Lazar of FPAC says the CBFA is the single most recognized and celebrated environmental initiative coming out of Canada for the past decade and he suggests Canada can capitalize on that internationally. He has already been asked to explain the collaborative win-win approach that underpins the agreement in Washington and other parts of the United States as well as in Europe, while other resource industries in Canada have also shown interest.

Lazar says the government can also look to the CBFA for lessons about conservation planning, job protection and resolving conflicts.

The CBFA is now making significant strides to turn the agreement into concrete change on the ground that will protect the Boreal forest and threatened wildlife species while also protecting the people who rely on the Boreal for their economic prosperity and traditional way of life.

The CBFA Secretariat is also working on caribou protection plans, world leading forest management practices, market outreach and deepening relationships with First Nations and provincial governments.

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