While in Vancouver we were fortunate to meet with Jay Ritchlin, the Director of the Marine and Freshwater Program at the David Suzuki Foundation. Jay talked to us about the work they have been doing on Marine and Freshwater research and the lessons they have learnt from their research and advocacy work. Some clear lessons were:

– Getting something in law does not necessarily deliver permanent outcomes. Without a long-term government commitment to support and operationalise laws, key pieces of legislative success can fail to be implemented. Government, community, and industry buy-in is crucial.

– The Foundation focuses its attention on Canada, but recognises the global nature of environmental issues and the role of international partnerships in producing outcomes and international best practice, for example in the field of Marine Spatial Planning.

– It is important the Foundation addresses and engages debates across a range of levels and encourages the inclusion of a broad range of stakeholders. Open discussion early on in the process is important to secure public policy that will last.

– A consensus that management gaps exist is a way to bring together people from Federal government, first nations government and stakeholders (i.e. Industry in fisheries, recreation, oil & gas; NGOs and the wider public). A range of different, even oppositional, stakeholders agreeing that poor management impedes everyone’s goal is an excellent place to start this discussion and process.

We were particularly interested in scoping out our oceans project that we hope to begin work on next year. Jay gave us some invaluable information and insights for this project.

Posted by Rory