From left, Eli Enns, MP Gord Johns and Monica Shore of the Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region meet at Parliament last November to begin co-ordination of next week’s Day on the Hill in Ottawa. — Photo submitted by Monica Shore

Parksville biosphere coordinator heads to Ottawa

Cultural and biological diversity to be promoted in Day on the Hill event

The local co-ordinator for the Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region (MABR) is happy to be travelling to Ottawa Monday to take part in a celebration of Canada’s 18 UNESCO biosphere reserves. Especially since she helped put the event together.

The Canadian Commission for UNESCO and the Canadian Biosphere Reserve Association will host a special Day on the Hill May 29, in Ottawa. The goal is to allow Members of Parliament to discover the important role and contributions of Canada’s 18 UNESCO biosphere reserves with regard to biodiversity conservation, sustainable development, and reconciliation.

Monica Shore will be representing the Mount Arrowsmith UNESCO Biosphere Region (MABR) in Ottawa. Since November 2016, Shore has been working closely to co-ordinate this national event with federal MP Gord Johns, whose riding includes two biosphere reserves: Mount Arrowsmith and Clayoquot Sound.

This non-partisan Day on the Hill is co-organized with the support of Gord Johns (BC: Courtenay-Alberni, NDP), as well as Hon. Ginette Petitpas Taylor (New Brunswick: Moncton-Riverview-Dieppe, Liberal), and Robert Sopuck (Manitoba: Dauphin-Swan River-Neepawa, Conservative).

“I’m so pleased to be representing the Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region at this national event,” said Shore. “Canada’s biosphere reserves have such a unique and important mandate, and I’m looking forward to illustrating how the MABR meets this mandate at the local level. I’ll be highlighting our Roundtable model, our collaborations with Snaw-Naw-As and Qualicum First Nations, as well as some of the projects and events like our annual BioBlitz that educate and connect our community to students and faculty from Vancouver Island University.”

At an afternoon reception in the Speakers Lounge on Parliament Hill, locally crafted products from Canada’s biosphere reserves will be served. Featured products from the MABR will include teas by the Tea Peddler, jam and antipasto by Artisan Edibles, and hot sauce by Tasteful Essentials.

With support from dedicated volunteers, Canada’s 18 UNESCO biosphere reserves work at the grassroots level to model solutions for a sustainable future, celebrate cultural and biological diversity, and empower people to engage with one another and with nature in healthier ways, Shore said in a written release.

Biosphere reserves foster and share scientific, Indigenous, and local knowledge in order to explore new ways of living that solve global challenges and address the United Nation’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Canada’s 2020 Biodiversity Goals and Targets.

They mobilize a range of stakeholders, including private industry, in an effort to create sustainable futures for all, building on the belief that people and nature can peacefully co-exist.

“I am delighted that this Day on the Hill will increase the general understanding of how the 18 UNESCO biosphere reserves contribute to efforts underway in Canada to safeguard biodiversity, foster sustainable development and advance reconciliation,” says Sébastien Goupil, Secretary-General of the Canadian Commission for UNESCO. “This flagship network of our Commission is uniquely placed to address such critical policy priorities.”

Canada’s 18 biosphere reserves span an area of 235,000 square kilometers in over 40 federal ridings, with 1.2 million Canadians within their boundaries. They are part of the greater World Network of UNESCO Biosphere Reserves, which cover 669 regions in 120 countries.

UNESCO biosphere reserves promote and support biodiversity conservation, sustainable development and tourism, ecosystem services, land management, and reconciliation.

— NEWS Staff and MABR submission