Halifax Meetings a Great Success

Three meetings, briefly mentioned in the IMFNS September newsletter, were held in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, from September 7 to 13, 1999,  to which representatives from every Canadian and international model forest as well as a number of their partners, and outside experts and observers were invited. On September 8 and 9, at the Canadian Model Forest Network meeting, participants learned more about model forest activities throughout the Canadian network and met other partners from across Canada and internationally. The model forests gave presentations describing their activities and accomplishments over the last year. 

The International Model Forest Forum, following on September 10, focused on directions for networking. In an earlier series of regional and national consultations, IMFN members had clearly stated that networking must provide mutual benefits to participants and add value to planned activities and already identified goals. In the Halifax Forum, participants were encouraged to present their views and discuss the merits of model forest network activities and mechanisms.  The presentations were excellent. Juan Carlos Collarte, for example, captured the attention of participants when describing the success   in the Chiloé Model Forest and how the model forest concept was contributing to rural development in the region. Results of this Forum are posted on the IMFNS Web site.

From September 11 to 12, both the Canadian and the IMFN secretariats along with the Nova Scotia Government, participated in the International Conference on Sustainable Development, which addressed forestry, eco-tourism, and community development and partnerships. This Conference was an open event that attracted university students and faculty, representatives from the NGO community, government agencies as well as international research and donor agencies.  Many model forest participants attended.

Panel and plenary session of the international forum held during the Halifax Conference
- chaired by John Naysmith, Lakehead University and moderated by Dan Welsh, CFS

These meetings gave members and non-members of the network an excellent opportunity to make new contacts and exchange ideas and information. Until these meetings, many model forest representatives had not realized how much Canadian and international model forests have in common. Because networking was an important objective of these meetings, organizers provided many opportunities for information sharing. Two display/poster sessions allowed model forests and other organizations working in sustainable forest management to display their wares and describe their activities.  Many took advantage of this opportunity. Two tours were organized by the Canadian Model Forest Network: the first at the Nova Forest Alliance, which is an adjunct of the Fundy Model Forest located in southern New Brunswick, and the second tour at the Fundy Model Forest in New Brunswick. Both tours included presentations by experts and partners on model forest activities and visits to sites where sustainable forest management and economic development are being implemented. 

To take advantage of the presence of various international delegations, the IMFNS coordinated visits to other model forests in Canada after the meetings.

Following the visit to the Fundy Model Forest, three Chinese delegates, Ding Yu, Wang Anguo and Jiang Chunqian, travelled to Rimouski, Québec, to visit the Bas-St-Laurent Model Forest (BSLMF). Over the two-day visit, Jacques Robert, Regional Coordinator, Canadian Forest Service, Quebec region and Richard Savard, President of the BSLMF, described the activities of this Model Forest, which is characterized by its tenant-farming program, and coordinated meetings and visits with their model forest partners and tenants. The Chinese delegation then traveled to Ottawa for meetings then onward to the Prince Albert Model Forest (PAMF) near Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. The President of PAMF, Mr. Dale McLeod, along with Mr. Keith Chaytor, General Manager and his staff, provided exposure to the many ongoing activities in their Model Forest.  The delegation also met one of the partners of the Model Forest, the Lac la Ronge Indian Band.

From left to right:  Eileen Johnson, Jian Chunqian, Frederick Johnson, 
Wang Anguo and Ding Yu - visit of the Nova Forest Alliance

Japan sent eight representatives to Halifax representing Japan's Forestry Agency, the Kochi and Akita Prefectures and the Japan Overseas Forestry Consultants Association.  A representative from the UNDP in Fiji also attended. The post-Halifax program, which Bob Newstead, Canadian Forest Service, Edmonton, helped organize, included a three-day visit to the Foothills Model Forest in Hinton, Alberta.

Japanese delegation in Vancouver's Lightnouse Provincial Park 
following their site visit to Foothills MF

The feedback on the Halifax events has been very positive. All participants said the exchanges were great and that new ideas and linkages were made.