Rainforest Solutions Project

Promoting conservation and economic alternatives in British Columbia's Great Bear Rainforest

The Grove: Campaign Blog & Newsroom

UPDATE: Great Bear Rainforest Agreements delayed but moving towards completion

posted by: RSP-Admin, January 3, 2015 at 5pm

VANCOUVER, B.C. ─ December 2014

Greenpeace, ForestEthics Solutions and Sierra Club BC remain concerned about extended delays in meeting deadlines to complete the outstanding steps of the Great Bear Rainforest Agreements. The groups note however that the Province, First Nations, forestry companies and our environmental organizations involved in the talks to finalize the outstanding steps are no longer deadlocked. A number of elements of the agreement have draft solutions ready to be finalized in early 2015 while several critical elements remain in the negotiation phase. We anticipate that all necessary steps will be completed by April 30, 2015 or earlier.

The BC government has shown renewed leadership and has contributed significant resources in the past weeks on initiatives to help local First Nations governments achieve a higher quality of life for their communities in the region. Similar progress has been made towards increasing conservation levels across the region while giving forestry companies business certainty for logging operations in ecologically appropriate locations.

Drafts for amended logging regulations based on Ecosystem-Based Management which form a central plank in the Great Bear Rainforest Agreements, will increase conservation of natural old-growth rainforest to 70 percent (up from 50)and are expected to go out for a 60 day public comment period on or before mid-February.
The Great Bear Rainforest Agreements were announced in February 2006 by the provincial government, First Nations, a group of logging companies and our organizations, and marked a breakthrough after years of land use conflicts.

“It’s in the province’s court to bring the Great Bear Rainforest Agreements to a successful conclusion and it’s well and truly time to do so. After nine years since its launchI’m looking forward to the final phase of this transition and the legacy it will create for generations to come,” said Valerie Langer with ForestEthics Solutions.

“It’s been a very long campaign – twenty years since the conflict and almost ten since the announcement of the Agreements,” said Eduardo Sousa, senior forest campaigner for Greenpeace Canada. “Both First Nations communities of the Great Bear and the general public deserve to see these visionary Agreements finally come to fruition. I think we are finally there.”

“The delays in meeting the goals of the Great Bear Rainforest Agreements are a global concern and I am relieved to see renewed leadership by the BC government to see the agreements through. It is not too late for the Province to make a gift to the world,” said Jens Wieting, Forest and Climate Campaigner with Sierra Club BC.
By March 2009 a number of key conservation milestones were met, including setting aside half of the rainforest, a $120 million fund for First Nations community well-being initiatives and shared decision-making. Also, the parties agreed to a new five-year-plan to finalize the goals of a healthy rainforest and communities by 2014.