It is recognized that although the Mountain Pine Beetle epidemic has nearly run its course in the forest, the impacts are just beginning in our communities and will continue for decades. The reduction of the Annual Allowable Cut and the resulting closure of mills were expected. The creation of the Beetle Action Coalitions was a bold and innovative experiment in inter-governmental relationship building and action. The Coalitions were formed to ensure that their communities were fully engaged in the development and implementation of the mountain pine beetle strategies to mitigate the effects and maintain community health at all levels. The Coalitions have worked with the Province to ensure policies reflect the sustainability of communities.
The Omineca Beetle Action Coalition has worked with senior governments, First Nations, private and public sector experts and local communities to produce a Blueprint for Action. Consisting of a set of capstone objectives targeted to 2020 and 2025, and nine regional sector strategies, the Blueprint describes what must be done to maintain the regions’ community and economic strength in the face of changing circumstances.
OBAC has led a focused and coordinated effort to avoid the duplication of work, to encourage the sharing of knowledge and benefits and to make best use of the resources available to meet identified priorities. The wealth of knowledge, expertise, funding access, capacity and extended networks is robust across the range of organizations that have all stepped forward to make a commitment in many different ways to creating a brighter future in the OBAC region. Both public and private sector organizations, such as trusts and government agencies, have been and will continue to be instrumental implementation partners. Our colleges, university and not for profit institutes and associations possess important research capacity and mandates for training, education and knowledge transfer. Industry associations, practitioner groups and Chambers of Commerce are linked closely with the specialist and business communities in the region. The many not for profit service organizations across the region also have an important role to play in mobilizing efforts in communities, especially volunteer networks and grassroots efforts. Local and First Nations governments have a vested interest in the on-the-ground delivery and the ability to check and revisit priorities. The Coalition is committed to strengthening and developing partnerships as implementation of the Blueprint continues.
OBAC continues to evaluate and report to stakeholders on the implementation of its Blueprint for Action. The work of the Coalition, in partnership with the above stakeholders, has supported the economic diversification and social development of the region. Detailed examples of the following commitments can be found here in the OBAC Communications Update January 2014.
OBAC will continue to be a Coalition that: is led by and accountable to local communities; works in partnership with all sectors and levels of government; works together as a region, effectively blending individual community needs and preferences with our collective interests; recognizes and adapts to the fact that the impacts of the epidemic and the impacts of shifts in the global economy will not affect our communities equally. Visible leadership and action continue to be essential to the long-term, multi-faceted effort that is required to ensure sustainable development and resiliency. By having all sectors working together within the region, and in partnership with neighboring regions, senior governments and others, we continue to strengthen the framework upon which our future success is built.
The mission of the Coalition is to provide unified, cross-regional leadership that ensures place-based, innovation driven, economic diversification, sustainable development and, resiliency. The Coalition will lead with integrity and dedication, initiating collaborative solutions that enable all our citizens to better determine future opportunities and respond to challenges.