This week, Ahousaht resident Arlene Paul, executive director Rebecca Hurwitz, and board co-chairs Tammy Dorward and Cathy Thicke travelled to Ottawa alongside representatives from 18 biosphere reserves (BRs) to co-host the second annual Canadian Biosphere Reserves Association (CBRA) reception on Parliament Hill on June 5th, co-sponsored by our local MP, Gord Johns: Courtenay-Alberni Member of Parliament.
The non-partisan Reception on the Hill was an opportunity to celebrate and showcase how Canada’s BRs are creating vibrant, healthy, and sustainable communities across Canada by promoting biodiversity conservation, sustainable development and reconciliation at the local level.
“It means a lot to work with MPs from all parties and Canada’s 18 BRs to co-host the event,” said Rebecca. “BRs are key to implementing global UNESCO aspirations and commitments at the local level, but we can do more to raise awareness of our work at the political level.”
She noted that last year’s event was critical to leveraging funding for national CBRA projects, and that BRs are seeing the results of political and financial support in 41 constituencies across Canada.”
Among topics discussed, relationship-building and reconciliation was highlighted as integral to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals. National Coordinator of the Canadian Biosphere Reserves Association Monica Shore noted that,
Canada’s 18 UNESCO biosphere reserves are leaders in implementing national projects at the local level in the spirit and practice of reconciliation. They catalyze community-based initiatives that embrace multiple worldviews to support biodiversity conservation and sustainable development. Their collective work in these areas is unparalleled in Canada.
The reception was followed by the Canadian Commission for UNESCO Annual General Meeting and Symposium on the 2019 International Year of Indigenous Languages.
The delegation to Ottawa was an important opportunity to contribute to our national network and to share our work from the local level. Canada’s 18 BRs share the opportunities and challenges associated with sustainable development and conservation. We always appreciate the opportunity to share knowledge and experiences, and to draw inspiration from the other members of the Canadian Biosphere Reserves Association. We’re excited for the year to come as we work together on national projects.