Q. Why do you call this a proposal for UNESCO Biosphere Region and not Reserve?
A. We have been assured by UNESCO Paris and the Canadian Commission of Man (CCMAB) and the Biosphere that our initiative can be referred to as “Region”. We prefer the term “Region” to the term to “Reserve” because of the negative historic connotation of reserves in Canada, especially for First Nations peoples.
Q. How do you determine the boundaries and who makes the final decision?
A. The Draft boundary follows the watershed boundary. It also follow closely the Squamish Nation traditional territory boundary and the extent of the Howe Sound Cumulative Effects Assessment Framework, currently being undertaken the by the provincial government. We believe HSBRI has the capacity to nominate, designate an manage a Biosphere Region area this size. The final decision to use the boundary we have chosen will be made by UNESCO and will depend on support for the application.
Q. What is the process for achieving the designation?
A. It is a comprehensive process which entail a number of steps. It starts will gaining support for the concept from all sectors in the region, especially government. It entails completing an extensive nomination document and navigating a strictly controlled application submission process through the Canadian and UNESCO Man and the Biosphere Committees. HSBRI has been advised that a first step is to submit an "annual report" i.e. a summary of what we have achieved through developing the Howe Sound Biosphere Region Initiative. The report will show how we reach the criteria of the UNESCO MAB Programme. We have been developing our nomination package, and we currently awaiting new/revised "nomination document guidelines" that will provide an overview of what CCMAB expect from a Biosphere Reserve in the Canadian context. Once we have met CCMABs guidelines we will complete the Nomination application document and submit it to CCMAB. If accepted our nomination will move forward to UNESCO Paris for approval.
Q. Are First Nations supportive?
A. There is interest expressed by the Squamish Nation in the opportunities that a Biosphere Region designation by UNESCO would provide.