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UBCM passes resolutions advocating for a BC law for ecosystem health

Friday, September 16, 2022

WHISTLER, BC / Squamish & St’át’imc (Lil’wat) Territories – West Coast Environmental Law applauds local government officials at the 2022 Union of BC Municipalities Convention who passed two resolutions this morning in support of a provincial law to prioritize biodiversity and ecosystem health.

The two resolutions – NR38 and NR39, submitted by Islands Trust and Port Moody – commit the UBCM to:

…call on the Province of British Columbia to work with Indigenous leadership to, in a timely way, develop the process and timelines through which they will develop new legislation to protect and restore biological diversity and ecosystem health, in a manner consistent with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and with the involvement of local governments, civil society groups, Indigenous and western scientific experts, and the concerned public. (p. 119-120)

“BC’s current legislative framework puts resource development ahead of healthy ecosystems, to the detriment of local communities,” said Jessica Clogg, Executive Director and Senior Counsel at West Coast. “A new overarching law for biodiversity and ecosystem health is needed to turn the tide on decades of harmful cumulative impacts and put BC on a path toward long-term community and ecological resilience.”

A new BC law establishing conservation of biodiversity and ecosystem health as an overarching priority across all resource sectors was a key recommendation in 2020 from the Province’s independent Old Growth Strategic Review (OGSR), which the BC government has committed to implement in full. So far, little provincial action has been taken to advance a new biodiversity law.

At the UBCM conference this week, local government officials heard that a new provincial law for biodiversity and ecosystem health, co-developed with Indigenous peoples, would benefit local communities in a number of ways.

“A new provincial law for biodiversity and ecosystem health has the potential reduce infrastructure and emergency management costs for local communities, while supporting clean water and air, sustainable economies and safe communities,” said Clogg. “It could help us preserve critical ecosystem ‘life-support’ services such as carbon storage, food security, and mitigation of floods and landslide risks.”

“We thank the local governments who brought forward these advocacy resolutions, and we are glad to see that local government representatives from across the province have agreed to advocate for a new law for biodiversity and ecosystem health,” said Clogg.

West Coast Environmental Law and allies will continue to urge BC to follow through on its commitments to implement all of the OGSR Panel’s recommendations in cooperation with Indigenous nations.

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For more information, please contact:

Jessica Clogg | Executive Director & Senior Counsel, West Coast Environmental Law
604-601-2501, jclogg@wcel.org

To learn more, see West Coast's report Action for Healthy Communities: Benefits of a Provincial Law for Ecosystem Health.