Canada — At the annual meeting of the Canadian Council ofForest Ministers (CCFM) in Yellowknife on October 13, forest ministers fromacross Canada focused their efforts on supporting the sustainability of Canada’sforest sector. The CCFM was in Yellowknife as part of a series of meetingsbringing together ministers responsible for natural resources and theenvironment.
The ministers discussed a number of issues pertaining to theforest industry. Discussions focused on ways to help sustain long-term jobs,renewable products, healthy communities and a clean and ecologically diverseenvironment.
The CCFM highlighted the need for a more coordinated effortto address challenges facing the forest industry in Canada today. Ministers alsodiscussed the need to move forward on a National Forest Pest Strategy and aCanadian Wildland Fire Strategy.
“The scope of the ministers’ work reflects theircommitment to a competitive and diverse forest community”, said theHonourable J. Michael Miltenberger, Northwest Territories Minister ofEnvironment and Natural Resources and outgoing Chair of the CCFM.
“We had a wide-ranging discussion on what governmentscan do to help communities and companies focus their efforts on innovation,value-added products, rather than just commodities”, added Mr.Miltenberger. “We recognize this will be best achieved by bridging acrosssectors, including wildlife, environment, fisheries and parks. I am encouragedby our discussion of the joint meeting that this is achievable”.
“Canada’s New Government is committed to a stable andhealthy forest industry”, said the Honourable Gary Lunn, Minister ofNatural Resources. “I will continue to work with my provincial andterritorial colleagues to expand opportunities, build a stronger, morecompetitive forest sector, and help communities and workers across Canada”.
The ministers discussed issues related to the effects ofindustry restructuring on communities, wood allocation, government programs andpromotion. They also directed their officials to develop initiatives to addressareas of common concern, particularly innovation, research and development, andmarket intelligence. Ministers discussed the Canadian Wildland Fire Strategy.They agreed that this issue is one of the top priorities for ministers anddirected that actions be undertaken to implement the strategy.
The ministers approved a plan for the development of the nextforest strategy that will replace the current National Forest Strategy, whichends in May 2008. The new strategy will build on existing initiatives,socioeconomic changes and impacts on forest communities, as well as demonstrateongoing leadership by CCFM and meet Canada’s international responsibilities.
The CCFM also released a report on sustainable forestmanagement. The report, Criteria and Indicators of Sustainable Forest Managementin Canada: National Status 2005, shows areas in which Canada is making progressand others in which improvement is needed. For example, although we arecontinuing to manage our forests to provide economic and social benefits, wemust do better at protecting them from pollution and exotic invasive species.
“With the active participation of those interested inthe future of Canada’s forests, the CCFM can address the challenges we arefacing”, said the Honourable Stan Struthers, Manitoba Minister ofConservation and incoming Chair of the CCFM. “Ultimately, our collectiveefforts will result in significant benefits for Canadians, while contributing tothe overall natural resources landscape. I see positive outcomes”.
The CCFM intends to address several aspects critical to theforest industry including its competitiveness. The CCFM plans to report to theCouncil of the Federation consisting of Canadian premiers on this and otherforest issues.