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CONTRIBUTION · 19th July 2011
CNW
An inspiring example of cooperation instead of conflict

The Canadian Boreal Initiative congratulates the Taku River Tlingit First Nation and the Government of British Columbia for achieving two major agreements on land use planning and shared decision-making. These agreements offer the potential to avoid the conflict and uncertainty that has hindered government and mining industry relations with First Nations in BC.

"The combined Wooshtin Wudidaa (Flowing Together) Land Use Plan and Wooshtin Yan Too.aat (Walking Together) government-to-government agreement to guide future resource-related decisions are a major achievement," CBI Executive Director Larry Innes said today after a signing ceremony by BC Premier Christy Clark and TRTFN Elected Spokesper son John Ward in Vancouver.

"The plan makes significant commitments around conservation of some of the most important fish and wildlife habitat on the coast and, importantly, does so in the context of respect for First Nations rights, environmental protection and future mining development projects," Mr. Innes said.

The agreement creates 13 new protected areas and provides resource development opportunities and investment certainty over 3 million hectares (30,000 square kilometres) across the diverse range of major ecosystems in the Atlin Taku region of northwest B.C.

"We are inspired by the Taku River Tlingit's tremendous work with the Province to achieve their 'Tlatsini" vision of protection for their land and Tlingit Khustiyxh (way of life)," said Mr. Innes. "The government of British Columbia is to be highly commended for its determination to work with the Taku River Tlingit in a manner that respects their rights and the environment. We also recognize the critically important inputs to the planning process by the community of Atlin, conservation groups and several industry players.

"While it is important to remember that different First Nations have different issues and concerns, this is an encouraging example of how First Nations are rightfully taking the lead on land and resource use planning and decision-making," Mr. Innes said. "The result is a land use plan and shared decision making agreement that conserves critical cultural and ecological landscapes and important salmon and wildlife habitats for future generations, while establishing a framework that promises to deliver greater certainty and clarity as to where and how development might occur. We congratulate the Taku River Tlingit and the Province of British Columbia, and support their balanced vision for this truly extraordinary region of Canada."

Established in 2003, the Canadian Boreal Initiative (CBI) brings together diverse partners to create new solutions for boreal conservation and sustainable development. It acts as a catalyst for on-the-ground efforts across the Boreal forest region by governments, industry, Aboriginal communities, conservation groups, major retailers, financial institutions and scientists.