Premier Charest promotes Quebéc’s Northern Plan in New York City

During an official trip to New York City to promote Québec’s Northern Plan, Premier Charest addressed a gathering of 300 people, primarily from New York business and financial circles, at a luncheon conference organized by the Foreign Policy Association. “The Northern Plan is a vast economic development project—an example of sustainable development and a social model to be shared with the entire world. To benefit local communities and all Quebecers, we must attract private investment from across Québec and the rest of Canada, as well as from other countries” said Mr. Charest. The Premier also held private talks with representatives of major financial institutions that invest in natural resources, energy and infrastructure around the globe. New York City is an international financial and stock market hub, while the New York Stock Exchange leads the world in terms of capitalization and value of securities traded. “Québec has good economic relations with the Mid-Atlantic states, particularly New York, which accounts for $7 billion in trade each year. In addition, Québec has developed longstanding trust-based relationships with Wall Street institutions. The Northern Plan represents outstanding business opportunities for US companies interested in the mining, infrastructure and energy sectors. My meetings today are sure to bring benefits to all Quebecers,” said Mr. Charest. The Premier also noted during each of his meetings that under the Northern Plan, one half of the vast area concerned will be set aside for non-industrial purposes, including protecting the environment and preserving biodiversity. Mr. Charest will be promoting the Northern Plan with European business and opinion leaders in London, Brussels, Frankfurt and Munich on the next leg of...
Cycling Silk: What is Wasteland, What is Wilderness

Cycling Silk: What is Wasteland, What is Wilderness

New update on Kate and Mel’s journey as of June 20th: Getting sanction to cycle the Silk Road through Central Asia is the modern equivalent of the Great Game, a kind of diplomatic chess where enigmatic rules change on a dictator’s whim, where checkmate is risked with every move to a new country, especially a new ‘Stan. With Cycling Silk we couldn’t apply for visas ahead of time, since at our pace, on a trip this long, they’d expire before we arrived. So we’ve had to snag them along the way, which at times has meant intense frustration and desperate tactics to get where we’ve wanted to go. We got off the train in Beyneu, Kazakhstan, and hit the ground rolling toward the westernmost border of Uzbekistan, determined to enter the country the very day our hardwon tourist visa began expiring. It granted us only 30 days to bike nearly two thousand kilometers on rough roads the long way across the country; interview conservationists in the capital city of Tashkent; boot it to the Tajikistan border; and along the way, explore the complexities and challenges of conservation on the Ustyurt Plateau, a transboundary desert straddling westernmost Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, tucked between the Caspian and Aral Seas, and our second case study of the expedition. So began our evasive maneuvers against the clock – and the heat. Uzbekistan boasts various blades and poisons, from thorns to scorpions to nightmare-spawning serpents. But for us the heat itself was a kind of venom, effecting paralysis throughout the nerveless high noon of day. And here, high noon lasted all day long, with high...

Seychelles makes major contribution to Aichi Biodiversity Targets

Montreal, 27 June 2011— The Seychelles Government announced it will declare new protected areas in the archipelago, resulting in half (50.59%) of all Seychelles land becoming protected under the law. The Cabinet approved the designation of protected areas, which amounts to 15.72 km2 of land representing 3.53% of Seychelles land territory and totals 45,500 hectares (excluding reclaimed areas). Last year, the Silhouette National Park and the Recif Island Reserve were created, thus raising the total area of protected land to 47.06%. The latest decision follows Seychelles President James Michel’s announcement in 2010 that Seychelles will protect 50% of its land territory, as a contribution to fulfilling its obligations under Article 8 of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), to ensure conservation of the archipelago’s biodiversity for the well-being of present and future Seychellois generations and visitors to the islands. “We will become the first country in the world that has half of its territory protected as national parks and nature reserves. This will ensure that our most beautiful islands remain in the hands of all Seychellois, for many generations to come. We will show the world how important it is to preserve this precious natural heritage, both for sustainable development of a small island nation, for tourism development, as well as the protection of our planet for our children,” said President Michel. “The announcement by the President of Seychelles to declare 50% of the country’s land territory as protected areas is an outstanding contribution to the achievement of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets and a major contribution to the implementation of the decision by the Heads of State of the...

Manitoba Protects Boreal Forest and Wetlands

Just announced from the Province of Manitoba, Canada….(re-posted government press release) Province Permanently Designates Largest Area of Protected Land in more than a Decade – Asatiwisipe Aki Management Plan Approved: Blaikie The Manitoba government has legally designated 807,650 hectares of boreal forest and wetlands on the east side of Lake Winnipeg as protected traditional territory, Conservation Minister Bill Blaikie announced today. This new designation will increase Manitoba’s protected areas network to over 6.5 million hectares or 10 per cent. “We have committed to protecting this area for future generations and bringing into law the management plan the Poplar River First Nation has developed,” said Blaikie. “We will continue to work with them to implement the plan for the Asatiwisipe Aki area and look forward to including it as part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site bid.” The Poplar River First Nation is located approximately 400 kilometres north of Winnipeg on the east side of Lake Winnipeg. It is the first community in Manitoba to proceed with land-use planning and submit a management plan for approval under the East Side Traditional Lands Planning and Special Protected Areas Act, Blaikie said. The province has legally designated the planning area and approved the community’s plan, ensuring the Poplar River First Nation assumes a significant role in developing and implementing strategies for the use, management and sustainable development of the First Nation’s traditional area, said Blaikie. “The Asatiwisipe Aki Management Plan protects the traditional land from industrial developments, sustaining natural ecological processes for present and future generations,” said Aboriginal and Northern Affairs Minister Eric Robinson. “I am proud to be a part of a government that works...
Futi Corridor Protected!

Futi Corridor Protected!

Connections are everything, both in the human and natural worlds. A superb new wild connection was announced this week by Peace Parks Foundation (PPF) and the Government of Mozambique. The Futi Corridor is a historic wildlife migration route between South Africa and Mozambique, for which The WILD Foundation and many others working in the region have advocated for many years. The dream is now a reality. In a joint announcement of this most recent conservation accomplishment within the Lubombo Transfrontier Conservation Area (“peace park”), PPF and Mozambique announced full protection of the Futi Corridor, connecting Ndumo and Tembe Game Reserves in South Africa with the Maputo Special Elephant Reserve 33 miles (50km) to the north. This critical initiative adds 24,000 ha (60,000 acres) to Mozambique’s protected areas, restoring landscape connectivity for the first time in over 50 years so that elephants and other wildlife can resume their historic migrations. Such a move not only benefits wildlife, but it assists the local communities by ensuring better ecological services (that support and enhance all life) from this important and extensive seasonal wetland, and creates an unusual new draw for tourism. This area on the Edge of the Indian Ocean will be the end point of In the Tracks of Giants , an expedition (and a Nature Needs Half initiative) crossing Southern Africa in...
Proposed marine protected areas a diverse collection of 12 sites

Proposed marine protected areas a diverse collection of 12 sites

What is a marine protected area? According to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans of Canada, it is a specific geographical space managed to achieve the long-term conservation of nature. Some of the MPA’s are fully marine, while others have terrestrial components. The DFO says that there are more than 700 MPA’s in Canada that cover about 56,000 square kilometers of the country’s oceans and Great Lakes.  According to Sabine Jessen, CPAWS oceans protection manager, only about 1% of Canada’s oceans are protected. 14 Canadian scientists are saying at least 30% should be fully protected with no fishing in them— they have a long way to go. But CPAWS says the definition of a marine protected area is too loose; MPA’s should be off limits to fishing, shipping and any other commercial and industrial activity. Because of this, CPAWS is urging the federal government to create 12 new MPA’s by the end of next year to ensure the survival of species such as leatherback turtles, right whales and narwhal.  These 12 sites are a diverse collection of areas; they range from the Laurentian Channel that has the largest concentration of black dogfish in Canada, to Lancaster Sound where seabirds number in the millions, to the Scott Islands that are home to one of the largest Steller sea lion rookeries in the world. The overall goal of establishing these 12 MPA’s is to protect endangered species. Jessen says, “While you might have an initial impact in the fishing industry, in the long term we are actually ensuring much healthier ocean ecosystems, not just in the marine protected areas.” Taking any...
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