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Forest Ministers Renew Commitments and Lay Groundwork for Bioeconomy Future Canadian Council of Forest Ministers' Meeting 2017

OTTAWA, Sept. 15, 2017 /CNW/ - Supported by the Canadian Council of Forest Ministers (CCFM), Canada's forest industries play a central role in combatting climate change, risk of forest fires, driving innovation, expanding trade, supporting biodiversity and creating jobs.

The CCFM agreed today to address the future forest bioeconomy, climate change, innovation and opportunities to support the management of caribou habitat – a top priority for the forest sector. Ministers also received an update from Minister Freeland on the softwood lumber dispute and reinforced the need for governments and industry to work together on this important file.

Chaired by the Honourable Jim Carr, Canada's Minister of Natural Resources, the Council unanimously endorsed A Forest Bioeconomy Framework for Canada. The Framework outlines a bold new vision for the future of the forest sector and the role for biomass in the transition to a low-carbon, sustainable economy. It is a non-binding commitment among CCFM partners and specific pathways may be endorsed, adopted and mobilized by jurisdictions accordingly. Leveraging this forest bio-based advantage will help spur innovation, investment, research, and partnerships.

Ministers discussed the need to work with Indigenous peoples, stakeholders and industry to protect and recover woodland caribou populations. They agreed on the importance of taking a collaborative, science-based approach and sharing best practices to help support conservation agreements while considering the socio-economic benefits of the forest sector for communities.

The Council endorsed the Forest Ministerial Progress Report to First Ministers on the implementation of the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change, which highlights progress made on the path to Canada's low-carbon future.

As well, Ministers and Indigenous leaders had the opportunity to discuss important forest sector issues with industry representatives and forest sector stakeholders during the Forum of Canadian Forests. Ministers heard various perspectives on a range of issues and discussed how to increase collaboration to meet common goals.

Given that 70 percent of Indigenous communities in Canada are located in forested areas, participants outlined opportunities for greater collaboration with Indigenous peoples in environmental monitoring and assessment activities, as well as approaches for fostering Indigenous youth participation in the forest sector.

Ministers also recognized the hard work and sustained efforts by personnel combatting this summer's intense forest fires and agreed to advance the implementation of the Canadian Wildland Fire Strategy – a key commitment from the 2016 CCFM meeting in Dawson City, Yukon, and that outlines actions to prepare for and mitigate wildland fire risks across Canada.

At the conclusion of the Meeting, Minister Carr passed the rotating chair of the Council to his colleague, Nova Scotia Minister Margaret Miller.

Quotes

"During the past two days, governments, Indigenous leaders, industry and stakeholders have demonstrated that Canada's forests – creators of jobs and drivers of innovation – are a common priority. While challenges lie ahead, I have no doubt that working together we can address them to ensure the strength of Canada's forest industry for generations to come."

Jim Carr
Canada's Minister of Natural Resources.

"Nova Scotia is delighted and honoured to be hosting the 2018 Canadian Council of Forest Ministers. As incoming chair, I look forward to continuing our productive and meaningful discussions on the sustainable management of our forests."

Margaret Miller
Nova Scotia's Minister of Natural Resources.

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SOURCE Natural Resources Canada

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