By MAARS Director Roger Hunka
Source: Netawek Ikjikum Vol. 6 – Issue 1 & 2 June/Sept 2010
Montreal, Quebec, was the host city for The Canadian Environmental Network (RCEN) 2010 Conference, September 17, 18 and 19. The Maritime Aboriginal Peoples Council (MAPC) and the Maritime Aboriginal Aquatic Resources Secretariate (MAARS), as members of the Nova Scotia Environmental Network, sent two representatives to the three day conference.
The Conference had an extensive range of plenary sessions, discussion panels and many workshops. Also RCEN had several of its caucus sessions on-going. No matter what your priorities were, there was something that would inform you, get you involved, or in the least get you thinking. The organizers did an excellent job. The hospitality was great. Mary Rose Watts of MAARS is now on the national Aboriginal Issues Caucus, and will update us as her work proceeds with the caucus. I am glad that Mary has added more work to her already busy plate. Why Mary Rose? “I like the group and I think I can contribute something”.
Isn’t that what a national network is all about, building networks with like-minded interests?
An important challenge made to the RCEN, which I hope they take up; become more proactive as the national voice for bringing together like-minded groups, and situate RCEN as the focal point for influencing governments and civil society to first consider environmental integrity.
During the evening banquet, Ahmed Djoghlaf, Assistant Secretary-General and Executive Secretary Convention on Biological Diversity, attended and delivered a key note speech to the Conference and guests. The words of inspiration, the challenges ahead, including the urgency and absolute need for all humanity to assume responsibility on fundamental matters, hit home.
Two numbered copies from the limited run of one hundred hard bound copies of the recently produced endangered species book in Mi’Kmaq and English, “Kespiatuksitew Wsitqamuey” by IKANAWTIKET, were presented to Mr. Djoghlaf and the CBD Secretariate Library in Montreal. The book also marks our contribution towards 2010, the International Year of Biodiversity.