January 10, 2005

World Conservation Union urges protection of global Boreal region

OTTAWA, ONT-The World Conservation Union (IUCN) recently passed a recommendation calling for conservation of the world's Boreal region. The recommendation highlights the global importance of Canada's Boreal region, urging protection of the overall health of the region, respect for the rights and interests of Aboriginal people in land use decisions, and conservation planning before development across the region. It was passed in Bangkok during the IUCN's 3rd World Conservation Congress, the largest conservation gathering since the 2002 World Summit on the Environment in Johannesburg. Canadians attending the congress said it reflects a growing recognition by conservation scientists around the world that the Boreal Region is of vital global importance. Focusing on Canada and Russia as key Boreal nations, the IUCN calls for conservation commitments and actions in three specific areas: community-based and ecosystem-based land use planning in advance of tenure allocation; enhancement, expansion and establishment of new protected areas; and acknowledgement of and respect for the role of indigenous peoples in achieving conservation goals, while respecting their traditional land management regimes and knowledge. The full text of the recommendation may be viewed on-line at www.borealcanada.ca. Canada and Russia contain most of the world's Boreal region, which encircles the northern part of the globe. Canada's Boreal region, containing one-quarter of the world's remaining original forests, and huge expanses of wetlands, is an immensely important buffer against climate change. The region is under increasing development pressure, however, from sectors such as logging, hydropower, mining, and oil and gas.
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