By Lawrence Powell
After 10 years of discussions and planning, the Southwest Nova Biosphere Reserve Association will be getting its first real startup funding.
West Nova MP Greg Kerr delivered a $285,000 speech last Wednesday morning in Annapolis Royal, announcing that the UNESCO-endorsed biosphere reserve project will receive $57,000 each year through 2013 and hinted that depending on outcomes, funding might continue annually.
He made the announcement on behalf of Canada’s Environment Minister Jim Prentice. “This funding commitment reflects the importance the Government of Canada places on protecting our rich biodiversity across the country,” Prentice said in a media release. “Canada’s biosphere reserves are excellent examples of community based initiatives that protect our natural environment while ensuring the continued growth of the local economy in an ecologically sustainable way.”
The funding is part of $5 million from Ottawa to support 14 of 15 biosphere reserves in Canada and the Canadian Biosphere Reserves Association. The SNBRA will use the funds to support community-based initiatives aimed at balancing conservation and development, as well as supporting local economies and communities of the region.
Kerr said the funding recognizes the good work and commitment the association is doing. “It allows them to grow and develop and really get the word out as to where they see the long-term projections and opportunities coming,” Kerr said. “Nobody wants to rush it with something massive taking place right away – it’s got to be done right and therefore I’m really comfortable and happy that we are making this commitment.” “The Southwest Nova Biosphere Reserve has been in place since 2001. With the new Environment Canada funding, we have been able to hire a project coordinator and begin to address regional concerns related to youth engagement and the creative rural economy,” said Dr. Bob Maher, chair of the Southwest Nova Biosphere Reserve Association. “The new funding will strengthen our national biosphere reserve network as well as the environmental non-governmental organizations network in Southwest Nova Scotia.” “I think we all have a real challenge ahead and one that I think we have to accept together – collectively in a proper way – (and that is to) let the world really know what we have and what we stand for,” Kerr said. “It’s almost like we’re bashful about saying ‘what a great place to live.’ What a great opportunity to grow the right kind of development.”
Biosphere Reserves are areas designated and recognized internationally by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) for demonstrating practical approaches to balancing conservation and development. Biosphere reserves are composed of one or more core protected areas, a buffer area in which activities compatible with conservation occur, and a large area of co-operation where sustainable resource management practices are promoted and developed. The Southwest Nova Biosphere Reserve is comprised of Kejimkujik National Park and Historic Site, the Tobeatic Wilderness Area, as well as the five counties of Annapolis, Digby, Yarmouth, Shelburne, and Queens.
The Government of Canada’s investment will facilitate activities and projects within the Southwest Nova region related to conservation, sustainable development, and capacity building. Additionally it will help with co-ordination of projects such as community engagement, sustainable tourism, and promotion of other sustainable economic activities.
Ottawa funds biosphere reserve
Kerr announces $285,000 for Southwest Nova association
By Lawrence Powell
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