Following years-long effort, a submission has been made to UNESCO asking the organization to designate Howe Sound a UNESCO Biosphere.
Sites that receive this designation are considered “learning places for sustainable development.”
These are places where the organization encourages people to test interdisciplinary approaches to managing interactions between social and ecological systems.
On Dec. 3, the Howe Sound Biosphere Region Initiative Society announced it had submitted a nomination package for Howe Sound to Paris for review by the International Advisory Committee.
“We are four and a half years into the rigorous process for attaining this designation, and we are proud that our nomination document meets the high standards required for submission to UNESCO,” said Ruth Simons, project lead of the society in a news release.
The committee will next give recommendations regarding the application between April and May 2021. If everything goes according to plan, Howe Sound will receive a formal designation by the winter of 2021.
Previously, theHowe Sound Biosphere Region nomination was endorsed by the Canadian Commission for UNESCO back in September. It was the final major endorsement needed to bring the application to a stage where it could be submitted.
The CCUNESCO serves as a bridge between Canadians and UNESCO.
An endorsement from that organization is a sign the Howe Sound project is a good contender for fulfilling the standards of UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere Program.
Squamish’s mayor has signalled support for the project.
"Building the submission documents has required a rigorous process, and one that has created opportunities for individuals, organizations, governments and First Nations to come together to discover common ground based on a compelling vision and goal,” said Mayor Karen Elliott.
“Successful designation as a UNESCO Biosphere Region will help to underscore the environmental significance of Alt'ka7tsem/Howe Sound while finding balance with human and economic activity in this region. No doubt, this work provides the backdrop for deeper regional collaboration and innovation. We wish to thank Ruth Simons, Squamish Nation and all those involved in this project for their unwavering passion and accomplishments in reaching this important milestone."