New protection announced in the Broadback Forest
As we begin 2021, we extend our deep appreciation to all market partners, brands, and producers, for their support in the conservation of the Broadback Forest and the Eeyou Istchee territory of the Grand Council of the Cree. Over the years, more than 25 corporations with headquarters in Canada, the United States, Europe, and Asia have conveyed to the Québec Government their strong support for the Cree Nation Government’s vision that includes the complete protection of the outstanding area in the Broadback Forest.
Your voices have been heard.
Last December, the Quebec government and the Cree Nation government joined forces to protect more than 20% of the Eeyou Istchee territory in northern Quebec. This is a highly significant commitment, given the urgent need to protect biodiversity and curb global climate change.
Overall, roughly 39, 000 km2, or 4 million hectares, have been set aside for protection, an area equivalent to the size of Switzerland.
Part of the still unprotected areas of the Broadback Forest that Canopy has been working to protect are included in this announcement. It secures an additional 959 km2 of the Mishigamish-Broadback Forest, which goes a long way towards providing connectivity across the Broadback. Unfortunately, it still leaves a few key areas unprotected in the middle of the newly announced protected area and in the last southern intact forest.
In the coming weeks, Canopy will continue its dialogue and collaboration with First Nation communities and governments, to understand their priorities regarding the recent announcements and their aspirations in the longer-term regarding their vision for their traditional territories.
Meanwhile, we celebrate this announcement as a real testament to the value of advocating and voicing support for forest conservation directly with relevant decision-makers.
Ten years ago, over 190 national governments agreed on a set of 20 goals for biodiversity protection under the Convention on Biological Diversity, known as the Aichi Biodiversity Targets. Unlike the province of Quebec which recently achieved 17% of its terrestrial land protected, most jurisdiction have failed to meet their 2020 goals, even as our climate has grown more vulnerable and species continue to decline. As governments re-assess what actions are so desperately needed and set new biodiversity targets, we will continue to call for bold commitments that can match the scale of the challenge ahead.
According to the scientific community, half of the planet must be protected in order for nature and human society to avoid the worst impacts of the global climate and biodiversity crises. Specific targets and strategies for conservation and restoration of the planet that achieve 30% by 2030, and 50% by 2050 at the latest should prioritize protection of intact areas such as the Canadian and Russian Boreal Forests, the extraordinary tropical rainforests and peat lands of Indonesia, the Amazon, and West Africa, and other rare endangered forest ecosystems such as Coastal Temperate Rainforests.
Going forward, Canopy will continue to leverage the purchasing power of the global marketplace to support forest conservation solutions that deliver lasting protection on the ground, and uphold the rights of Indigenous and traditional forest communities.
Beyond the landmark Great Bear Rainforest Agreement in British Colombia, which is a model that benefited from market engagement, or the recent Quebec and Cree announcement, there is still an urgent need to build and support the creation of new conservation areas. Worldwide, there is increasing recognition of the significant role Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas (IPCA) can play in biodiversity conservation and the protection of culture heritage. In the current decade, when calls happen daily to bring about a new system rooted in environmental and social justice, with respect to Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC), let’s be reminded that forest conservation can also play a significant role in the spirit and practice of reconciliation.
Today, we thank you for contributing to the First Nation led Broadback and Eeyou Itschee conservation successes, and we look forward to celebrating more forest protection in the near future.