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Wednesday, 03 February 2016
FSC acknowledges strong stakeholder support during recent Canadian tour

FSC Forest (© Morten Bo Johansson)© Morten Bo Johansson

February 4, 2016 (Bonn, Germany) - In an open letter to Canadian stakeholders, the Forest Stewardship Council Director General and the President of FSC Canada would like to express our acknowledgement for receiving strong stakeholder support and constructive feedback during a Canadian tour during the last week of January 2016.

From January 25 - 29, 2016, FSC had the opportunity to engage a large number of key stakeholders in Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia. It is clear that the new FSC Canada National Forest Management Standard is prompting many reactions from stakeholders and that many of them, including a critical mass of certificate holders, expressed their support and constructive feedback in order to find pragmatic and feasible solutions that promote responsible forest management in Canada. 

FSC is a platform for democratic engagement with a long and successful history of bringing disparate interests together to solve challenging problems. This is what we do. 

But the promise of responsible management is only possible when stakeholders engage constructively. That is why FSC is reframing our proposal for mediation into a national discussion to address contentious issues related to the Canadian boreal forest, specifically First Nations rights and protection for species at risk, including woodland caribou. 

With regards to Free, Prior, Informed Consent of First Nations, it is FSC’s goal to launch a dialogue in good faith and to establish positive partnerships with certificate holders in the spirit of mutual benefit. The concept of the sphere of influence of the certificate holders must therefore be well defined it terms of its requirements.

During meetings with stakeholders, many opinions were expressed with regards to intact forest land-scapes and the indigenous cultural landscapes, and their impacts on the Canadian boreal forest. FSC un-derstands the complexity related to these issues. However, 25 percent of the world’s remaining intact forest are in Canada’s boreal, which is also home to both aboriginal communities and thousands of dif-ferent species of wildlife. In short, this is a special place deserving of our focused and constructive en-gagement. Therefore, FSC will allow for a sufficient amount of time and will provide significant resources to properly define responsibility around land use and to ensure the integration of conservation measures with First nations values.

We are not blind to the challenges ahead. After much acrimony, we need to rebuild trust among stake-holders. And we need all actors to participate constructively.

In the coming weeks, FSC will be talking to interested parties to frame this national discussion in the con-text of enhancing the current implementation process of the National Forest Management Standard. 

As Canadian forests belong to all Canadians, many people have a stake in the process. We will be engag-ing First Nations, forest management companies, local communities, labour unions, environmental groups and government leaders to allow for inclusiveness and to be successful. 

We must now come together to speak with each other, to rebuild trust and find solutions to the very real challenges we all face. Not only will the outcome determine how forests are managed, but also how the world views Canada as a leader in solving problems affecting people and the environment. 

Best regards,

Kim Carstensen 
FSC Director General 

Francois Dufresne
President, FSC Canada 

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