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First Nations, Province and Federal Government announce new first of its kind conservation agreement

A newly announced framework agreement between the federal government, the province and the First Nations Leadership Council aims to protect nature and set the stage for collaboration. 

The “tripartite” agreement brings together more than $1 Billion in new and previously announced funding to protect biodiversity and the wild spaces that species rely on. A large chunk of the funding comes from the provincial government which announced a $300-million conservation fund earlier this week. 

Jay Ritchlin from the David Suzuki Foundation says they “hope this agreement helps disrupt the status quo practices that have continued to degrade biodiversity in the province.” 

According to the provincial government, this agreement is in part a way to protect 30% of land in the province by 2030. Funding will also go towards supporting indigenous leadership in conservation. 

Sarah Korpan, a legislative affairs specialist from Ecojustice is more concerned about timelines, of which there weren’t many given in the announcement. “We have many commitments from B.C. to future action, but if the status quo continues in the meantime, there will be little left to protect by the time this agreement is implemented.” She adds that the “dire state” of biodiversity in the province’s old-growth forests shows “we need meaningful protection” of ecosystems in BC. 

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“We need our people out on the land looking and protecting. Actually, there. They’re there now already, but under capacity and underfunded,” said Robert Phillips of the First Nations Summit.  

The agreement also mandates the creation of a Tripartite Nature Committee made up of representatives from all three parties to coordinate efforts. 

Federal Environment and Climate Change Minister Steven Guilbeault says that this framework will serve as a model for other provinces to establish their own agreements. 

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