The Plan Nord
PREMIER JEAN CHAREST ANNOUNCES GUIDELINES FOR
PROTECTING 50% OF THE TERRITORY OF THE PLAN NORD
Montréal, February 5, 2012. – Québec Premier Jean
Charest and Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment and Parks
Pierre Arcand today unveiled the guidelines that are to frame the
government’s commitment to dedicate 50% of the area of the Plan Nord
territory to environmental protection, safeguarding biodiversity,
strengthening the natural heritage and non-industrial development by 2035.
“No other government in the world has protected an area so vast in such a
short span of time. Our unique northern heritage is an important symbol of
the identity of all Québécois. We are proud of this heritage, and we want to
make the Plan Nord a sustainable development and environmental protection
benchmark worldwide,” declared the premier.
The new guidelines for attaining the objective of protecting 50% of the
territory of the Plan Nord by 2035 are as follows:
Create Protected Areas on 20% of the Territory of the Plan Nord
This will enable Québec to reach the international target set in Nagoya,
which consists of giving over 17% of the land to conservation by 2020. The
20% target for the territory of the Plan Nord will include 12% of the boreal
forest blanket that will be set aside for the creation of protected areas.
These areas will adhere to the criteria of the International Union for
Conservation of Nature (IUCN), as is currently the case for the entire
Québec network. Québec is one of only two states in the world to set up a
protected area register that fully complies with the global IUCN criteria.
“In reaching the Nagoya target, Québec will rise to the level of
commitment to conservation that has been determined by the world’s most
authoritative scientists,” added Minister Arcand.
Develop Ecological and Environmental Knowledge
Seven pilot projects will be used to experiment with new modes of
conservation and improve our ecological and environmental knowledge of the
land. The pilot projects will enable a variety of conservation practices to
be assessed by 2020, thus ensuring the sustainable protection of the
environment and the territory.
Initiate Ecological Planning by 2013
Ecological planning steps, in conjunction with other forms of land planning,
will help us to identify areas of interest and to adopt medium- and
long-term strategic conservation guidelines and objectives that will include
sustaining and developing the natural heritage for non-industrial purposes
on the territory of the Plan Nord.
Propose an Appropriate Legal Framework
A draft bill aimed at the conservation of the natural heritage and the
sustainable development of the territory of the Plan Nord will be tabled in
the National Assembly.
Develop an Implementation Strategy
A strategy for implementing the government’s commitment will be set out,
covering the years 2012 to 2020. This strategy will detail how the
implementation of the commitments will take place by providing protected
area creation targets, pilot project guidelines, the participation framework
for consulting with the territory’s stakeholders and aboriginal communities
and inter-ministerial dialogue mechanisms for creating protected areas.
Ensure the Ways and Means of Account Rendering
A procedure for rendering accounts will be defined to provide an opportunity
to review the implementation strategy at 10-year intervals. This means that
an accounting of our accomplishments will take place in 2020 and 2030, and a
new public consultation held in each of those years will revisit protection
targets, look at the ways and means that are employed for conservation and
assess the results of completed experimental endeavours.
“The Québec North is one of the last immense tracts of pristine natural
space on Earth, and we are going to protect 50% of this vast expanse, which
is some 600,000 km2 in area. Clearly, we will take the time needed to get it
right. Ensuring sustainable development and optimal environmental protection
requires proper planning. The guidelines will come into effect gradually, to
enable us to adapt as environmental and ecological knowledge evolves,”
concluded the minister.
The government guidelines and the synthesis report on the public
consultation are available online at the following Web site:
The Plan Nord
The Plan Nord, unveiled last May 9th, is one of the biggest sustainable
development projects in the history of Québec. It will take 25 years to be
fully implemented and entail investments of more than 80 billion dollars
over the same length of time. The Plan Nord incorporates energy, mining,
forestry, bio-food, tourism, wildlife and transportation development, as
well as the protection of the environment and the conservation of
biodiversity. It will favour development that benefits directly involved
communities as well as all of Québec, while respecting cultures and
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Cabinet of the Premier
Cabinet of the Minister of Sustainable Development,
Environment and Parks418-521-3911
Ministère du Développement durable,
de l’Environnement et des Parcs418-521-3991