Canada’s Model Forests are on track to formalizing a new future as a non-profit corporation. Representatives from the 11 Model Forests in Canada and the Executive Director of the International Model Forest Network Secretariat (IMFNS) signed the application for incorporation at the Canadian Network’s bi-annual meeting in Rimouski, Québec, on April 25, 2006.
“We all strongly believe that the road to sustainability involves the ability to work through partnerships at the local level and then link that work to national and international objectives and outcomes,” stated Al Gorley, chair of the Network’s transition team, and which also included participation from the IMFNS. “Incorporation allows us to grow and take advantage of new opportunities when they arise”.
Discussion at the meeting covered the many aspects of building a new organization. Breakout groups tackled issues of governance, ongoing and new relationships with government and non-government organizations, administration and operations, and communications and marketing. An interim board of directors will continue with transition planning. The scheduled start-up date for the new organization is April 2007.
The Canadian Model Forest program has been informally recognized as a regional partner in the IMFN for more than a decade. Incorporation as a legal entity will formalize the Canadian program as a regional network with its own board of directors. The fundamental goal underlying the new Canadian Model Forest Network remains the same—advancing the knowledge and practice of sustainable development on large forest-based landscapes through the partnership approach.
The Model Forest concept was developed in the early 1990’s by Natural Resources Canada’s Canadian Forest Service. It was brought to the world’s attention at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in 1992 where the Canadian government invited other nations to adopt the innovative Model Forest approach to sustainability. There are currently more than 40 Model Forests in existence or under development around the world.