NOMINATION BID FOR PIMACHIOWIN AKI WORLD HERITAGE SITE COMPLETE, READY FOR SUBMISSION TO UNESCO
– – – Preserving Unique Area of Outstanding Natural, Cultural Value Would Benefit Humankind for Generations: Selinger
A proposal to secure world heritage site designation for a large area of boreal forest in eastern Manitoba and northwestern Ontario is complete and ready for submission to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Premier Greg Selinger announced today at a special event at the Legislative Building.
“Today marks an important milestone on our journey to protect the heart of the last intact forest of its kind left in the world,” said Selinger. “Thanks to the vision and leadership of our First Nation partners, we are now in a position to present Canada’s first UNESCO world heritage site proposal based on both natural and cultural criteria.”
The Pimachiowin Aki world heritage project is a collaboration of five First Nations and two provincial governments committed to securing world heritage status for the largest protected-area network in the North American boreal shield.
“The inscription of Pimachiowin Aki as a UNESCO World Heritage Site would advance the objective of all our partners to safeguard and celebrate this outstanding cultural landscape,” said Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty. “It would also recognize the foresight and leadership of First Nations, and would stand as a proud example of co-operation among Aboriginal peoples, the Province of Ontario and the Province of Manitoba.”
Pimachiowin Aki, Ojibwe for the land that gives life, is the name given to this area covering 33,400 square kilometres of intact boreal forest and pristine waterways on the east side of Lake Winnipeg, Selinger explained.
“Elders from our Five First Nations, who are partners on this project, have a vision that we need to work together to take care of this land for people who live on the land and for visitors to the land,” said Sophia Rabliauskas, spokesperson for Pimachiowin Aki. “We also know that we are protecting it for children across the world who benefit from things that are often unseen like clean air and clean water. When you look at the research in this box that is going to UNESCO you will see that our ancestors have been taking care of this land for generations and the UNESCO designation will help us continue to do that for the next generation.”
The Pimachiowin Aki nomination dossier is over 4,000 pages of material that makes the case the area has outstanding universal value. It is scheduled to arrive at the UNESCO World Heritage Centre in Paris by Jan. 27.
A special display has been set up at the Legislative Building for the public to learn more about the nomination. It will be open daily from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. until Sunday, Jan. 22.