rabble blogs are the personal pages of some of Canada's most insightful progressive activists and commentators. All opinions belong to the writer; however, writers are expected to adhere to our guidelines. We welcome new bloggers -- contact us for details.

Mikisew Cree First Nation applauds UNESCO decision on Wood Buffalo National Park

The Salt Plains of Wood Buffalo National Park, Northwest Territories, Canada ©20

Please support our coverage of democratic movements and become a supporter of rabble.ca.

VICTORIA, BRITISH COLUMBIA -- The Mikisew Cree First Nation is pleased that today, at the 39th session of the World Heritage Committee in Bonn, Germany, UNESCO requested that Canada invite a Reactive Monitoring mission to conduct an in-depth investigation of how Wood Buffalo National Park is being impacted by hydro-electric and oil and gas development. Wood Buffalo National Park was listed as a World Heritage Site over 30 years ago for its globally unique and important ecosystems.

After acknowledging the threats to Wood Buffalo National Park from hydro-electric dams, oil sands development, and proposed open-pit mining near the Park, UNESCO also requested that Canada not take any decision related to development projects that would be difficult to reverse. UNESCO also requested that Canada undertake a Strategic Environmental Assessment to assess the potential cumulative impacts of all developments on the Park.

UNESCO's decisions comes in response to a petition from Mikisew in December to place Wood Buffalo National Park on the list of World Heritage in Danger.

"We are deeply concerned about the existing impact of industrial activity and climate change on the Wood Buffalo National Park and the new threats posed by megaprojects upstream of the Peace-Athabasca Delta. We thank the World Heritage Committee for taking Mikisew's concerns seriously in today's decision," says Mikisew Chief Steve Courtoreille.

Melody Lepine, head of the Mikisew delegation in Bonn, added, "We have been stunned by the support we have received in Bonn from members of the international community. We look forward to assisting the joint UNESCO/IUCN field mission as it investigates the threats facing Wood Buffalo National Park and the Peace Athabasca Delta in the coming months."

Mikisew is grateful for the wide support its petition has received from other indigenous groups, former Parks Canada officials, eminent scientists and researchers, and numerous non-governmental organizations, including the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society.

"We applaud the leadership of Mikisew Cree First Nation in bringing the serious threats facing Wood Buffalo to the attention of UNESCO, and urge the Canadian and Alberta governments to act quickly to implement the World Heritage Committee's recommendations," says Alison Woodley, park program director for the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS).

Mikisew encourages anyone interested in learning more about the petition and the threats to Wood Buffalo National Park to watch a short video about the petition available here: https://vimeo.com/131438792.
Mikisew Cree First Nation Industry and Government Relations
Melody Lepine
Director
780-792-8736
melody.lepine@mcfngir.ca

Mikisew Cree First Nation on Facebook

See also:

"Mikisew Cree First Nation Applauds UNESCO Decision on Wood Buffalo National Park" - @HydroWorld http://ow.ly/P4fNx

"UN wants probe of oilsands’ impact on Canadian park - UN also wants to review the effect of a proposed open-pit mine and the proposed Site C Dam in B.C." | Toronto Star http://ow.ly/P4iTT

"En Danger - Un appel pour sauver le parc national Wood Buffalo
Si les menaces envers Wood Buffalo ne sont pas corrigées, les valeurs universelles exceptionnelles de ce Site du Patrimoine Mondial seront perdues à jamais. Parce que la culture des Mikisew est liée au Delta des Rivières de la Paix et d’Athabasca, la perte des valeurs naturelles de Wood Buffalo pourrait mettre en péril la culture distincte des Cris Mikisew. Pour ces raisons, les Mikisew demandent que Wood Buffalo soit ajouté à la liste du Patrimoine Mondial en Péril."
https://vimeo.com/131444653

Thank you for reading this story…

More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable.

rabble.ca has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.

So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.

And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.

Comments

We welcome your comments! rabble.ca embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on rabble.ca and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:

Do

  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.

Don't

  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.