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Press Release

International Scientific Symposium


Montréal, April 27, 2012 – Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment and Parks Pierre Arcand gave the closing address today at the 2012 International Scientific Symposium Planning the Conservation of Québec's Northern Ecosystems: The Challenge of a Decade, held at the Montréal Botanical Garden and at Université de Montréal’s Biodiversity Centre.

The international symposium was organized jointly by Pew Charitable Trusts, the Canadian Boreal Institute, and the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation. It brought together experts and scientists from Québec and around the globe for a symposium designed to work toward a shared understanding of the major issues surrounding Québec’s commitment to protect 50% of the area covered by the Plan Nord.

“We invited the international and Québec scientific communities to gain a broader perspective on environmental planning and biodiversity conservation. We have set aside nearly 600,000 km2 of open wilderness for environmental protection, biodiversity conservation, and nonindustrial land uses, and we want to adopt the latest conservation approaches. It’s time to think outside the box and forge a new path forward,” stated Pierre Arcand, Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment and Parks.

Clément Gignac, Minister of Natural Resources and Wildlife and Minister responsible for the Plan Nord, stressed that “developing Québec’s north means protecting it as well. The government of Québec is seeking a sustainable balance between various kinds of development and environmental protection. This vast area is our natural heritage, and it is our duty to protect it. We can’t sustainably develop northern Québec and protect 50% of the area in question without the support of the scientific community.”

The symposium brought participants together to discuss a series of proposed developments designed specifically for Québec’s north so as to guide the Québec government as it charts a course for northern development while protecting 50% of the area covered by the Plan Nord—nearly 600,000 km2. Another aim of the discussions was to help pinpoint favorable conditions for successful environmental planning and biodiversity conservation in Québec’s vast north.

For further information on the symposium go to www.scienceqc.ca/.

Northern Québec Biodiversity Atlas

Minister Arcand also used the occasion to release the preliminary findings of the Northern Québec Biodiversity Atlas project, designed to study biodiversity and better understand climate change-related problems in the area.

The atlas, made possible by funding from the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation and developed with the collaboration of Ouranos Consortium, assesses the health of the environment and biodiversity in northern Québec. Research will continue to focus on expanding the biodiversity knowledge base, part of ongoing collaborations between Québec government ministries and universities, and on integrating traditional aboriginal knowledge.

To learn more about the Northern Québec Biodiversity Atlas see the MDDEP website:

Plan Nord

The Plan Nord, presented May 9, 2011, is one of the biggest economic, social, and environmental development projects in the history of Québec. It will span 25 years and involve investments of over $80 billion during this period. The Plan Nord integrates energy, mining, forestry, biofood, tourism, transportation, and wildlife development, as well as environmental protection and biodiversity conservation. The project will promote development for the benefit of the communities concerned and Québec as a whole, while respecting individual cultures and identities.


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Sarah Shirley
Press Officer
Office of the Minister of Sustainable
Development, Environment and Parks
Phone: 418-521-3911

Jolyane Pronovost
Press Officer
Office of the Minister of Natural Resources and Wildlife
Phone: 418-643-7295


Media Relations
Ministère du Développement durable,
de l’Environnement et des Parcs
Phone: 418-521-3991



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