Interim policy approved!
The cumulative effects framework interim policy has been released by the B.C. government. The approval of the cumulative effects framework interim policy is the result of years of collaborative work developing the framework, testing procedures, refining assessments, engaging stakeholders and improving the policy.
However, this is not the end point, it is the beginning, as we continually adapt and improve the cumulative effects framework over time. But the approval of the interim policy represents the first significant milestone for implementing the cumulative effects framework province-wide.
The cumulative effects framework interim policy:
- Supports the government’s approach to integrated resource management
- Defines the cumulative effects framework regional and provincial governance structure
- Identifies consistent standards and direction for completing and reporting cumulative effects framework assessments
- Provides guidance for considering and managing cumulative effects sector-wide
- Ensures consistent and coordinated provincial assessments and regional management responses
- Confirms continued monitoring and evaluation of policy and cumulative effects framework assessment effectiveness
- Outlines expectations and commitment for continued engagement and collaboration
The cumulative effects framework does not create new legislative requirements; rather it informs and guides cumulative effects considerations through existing natural resource sector legislation, policies, programs and initiatives. Integrating the cumulative effects framework into existing natural resource decision-making processes and enabling cross-sector governance will ensure cumulative effects are identified, considered and managed consistently.
Current condition reports for values will be made available online by mid to late 2017 through the cumulative effects framework website (assessment reports), DataBC (assessment results data) and iMapBC (assessment maps). Assessment result data and associated guidance will also be centrally accessible through the Natural Resource Sector Online Services.
The cumulative effects framework interim policy is the first step in providing a consistent, transparent and predictable set of policies, procedures and decision-support tools to help identify and manage cumulative effects across the natural resource sector. Once fully implemented, the cumulative effects framework will help support all levels of decision-making, including:
- strategic decisions (e.g., identifying new government initiatives or direction)
- tactical decisions (e.g., coordinating regional planning and management priorities)
- operational decisions (e.g., informing authorizations for natural resource activities)
Although the approval of the cumulative effects framework interim policy is an important milestone, there still is lots of work to do. Here is what to expect in upcoming months.
- Executive approval of assessment protocols for the first three cumulative effects framework values (i.e., aquatic ecosystems, grizzly bear and old growth forest)
- Operational guidance for considering cumulative effects under natural resource sector statutes
- Cumulative effects framework alignment with the Oil and Gas Commission’s Area-Based Analysis Tool
- Training and extension to natural resource managers, staff and statutory decision makers
- Continued engagement and collaboration with First Nations and stakeholders
- A formal evaluation period to determine cumulative effects framework policy and assessment effectiveness
The cumulative effects framework interim policy reinforces government direction and resolve to integrate cumulative effects considerations into natural resource sector decision making. The interim policy is one more tool that contributes to the overall objective of ensuring the social, environmental and economic values important to the people of British Columbia are managed in a consistent and balanced approach.
You can provide your comments and feedback on the cumulative effects framework interim policy at anytime by submitting them to CumulativeEffects@gov.bc.ca.