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FSC Canada discusses informed consent with First Nations and industry


March 10, 2015
By Pulp & Paper Canada

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More than 50 forest managers, technicians, academics, lawyers, industry representatives and First Nations chiefs attended a meeting to discuss free, prior, and informed consent (FPIC) in the context of the forest industry. Facilitated by…

More than 50 forest managers, technicians, academics, lawyers, industry representatives and First Nations chiefs attended a meeting to discuss free, prior, and informed consent (FPIC) in the context of the forest industry. Facilitated by FSC Canada, the gathering was also intended to enhance momentum and recognition of First Nations environmental, cultural, and economic stewardship of their homelands.

“First Nations are key players in the global forest economy with millennia of experience in the successful management of diverse forest homelands. We see this event as a key component in our engagement with First Nations to rigorously apply free, prior and informed consent into FSC’s Forest Management Standard,” says Francois Dufresne, president of FSC Canada.  

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Alberta Pacific Forest Industries and Tembec Forest Products were among the sponsors of the event.

The meeting took place from December 3-5, 2014, in Saskatoon,  with topics covering FPIC in law and policy, FPIC and forestry, and Aboriginal title and forest management. The meeting also included a field trip to the Meadow Lake Tribal Council’s 1.8 million hectare FSC-certified forest management area and treaty territory in northern Saskatchewan, which is the home of a regional economic engine anchored by NorSask Forest Products. NorSask is 100% First Nations owned, and operates a lumber mill and bioenergy complex. 

“One of the key messages we want to provide through this meeting is the call for governments, industry partners and civil society to recognize and support First Nation’s self-sufficiency on the vast Indigenous cultural landscapes which are Canada’s forests,” said Brad Young, executive director of the National Aboriginal Forestry Association. Copies of the presentations can be found on the National Aboriginal Forestry Association’s website: http://www.nafaforestry.org/conferencePresentations.html.

According to the website of FSC Canada, the right to free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) is seen as one of the key principles of international human rights law to protect Aboriginal peoples from destruction of their lives, cultures and livelihoods. Rigorously applying FPIC is becoming an important requirement in FSC’s principles and criteria for forest management.