Canadian Council of Forest Ministers’ Meeting


TORONTO, Ontario - September 18, 2001 - September 18, 2001 - The Canadian Council of Forest Ministers (CCFM) today announced at its annual meeting in Toronto a series of measures to advance Canada's role as a world leader in sustainable forest management.

Ministers approved in principle an innovative proposal to upgrade Canada's forest fire management capability and agreed that further work be done on the five components of this proposal, including upgrades to equipment and aircraft, research, Aboriginal involvement and information management, taking into account investments already made by various governments. "It is essential that governments prepare for future concerns related to public health and safety, personal property and the forest economy," said Ontario Natural Resources Minister John Snobelen.

"A new Canadian forestry initiative, called Forest 2020, promotes plantations of fast-growing tree species while also providing additional flexibility in the sustainable management of forests," said Minister Snobelen, who chaired the meeting. He added, "this initiative is consistent with Ontario's Living Legacy initiative and the Ontario Forest Accord."

The Ministers further recognized the need for flexibility in approaches to Forest 2020 in the various governments across Canada.

"There is growing pressure on the use of forests across Canada," said federal Minister of Natural Resources Ralph Goodale from Ottawa. "Great strides continue to be made in terms of improving forest management in Canada. Forest 2020 will help address these pressures and continue progress towards sustainable forest management, helping Canada maintain its position as a global leader in forest management. It also provides the basis for a strong agroforestry program, providing a new crop alternative."

"The Ministers acknowledged the progress on the development of the National Forest Information System (NFIS) over the last year, designed to bring the forest sector to the forefront of the information age," said Minister Goodale.

"The NFIS will give us the ability to provide an authoritative and comprehensive source of forest information," added Minister Snobelen. The NFIS will assist in demonstrating progress of sustainable forest management in Canada and offer an opportunity for the public and stakeholders to get information about forest practices. Phase one will be completed shortly. Then, over the next two years, the NFIS will be further developed in consultation with a broad range of other governmental and non-governmental organizations. In addition, the NFIS will be coordinated with other databases.

The CCFM, with the exception of Québec, also agreed to lead development of a new, progressive National Forest Strategy to replace the current one which ends in 2003. Québec, nevertheless, shares the goals and objectives of the initiative. The CCFM will work cooperatively with the National Forest Strategy Coalition, a broad based 52-member coalition of interested organizations and individuals that includes environmentalists, industry, Aboriginals, academics and governments, in the development of the new strategy. The strategy will be presented to the international community at the World Forestry Congress to be hosted in Québec City in September 2003.

"Canadians are committed to sustainable forests and we will continue to embrace these aspirations through open, positive and productive partnerships," said Nova Scotia Minister of Natural Resources, Ernest Fage. "Our goal is to capture the collective vision and values of Canadians for the future of our forests to the benefit of all."

Over the coming year, CCFM will consult broadly to review its framework for criteria and indicators of sustainable forest management to ensure that it reflects the views of Canadians. Criteria and indicators not only define sustainable forest management, but also help assess and report on progress toward this goal.

Other topics discussed today included climate change, forest certification and the International Forestry Partnerships Program.

"Nova Scotia is honoured to assume the Chair of the Council and will host next year's CCFM meeting in Halifax," added Minister Fage at the close of today's meeting.

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  For more information:

Brett Kelly
           Minister's Office
           Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources
           (416) 314-1100
André H. Rousseau
           Canadian Forest Service
           Natural Resources Canada
           (613) 947-9087