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As part of AquaHacking 2016, a delegation of young professionals and students has combined their forces to outline a vision of the St. Lawrence River by 2030. This vision is broken down into orientations that address the development, enhancement, rehabilitation and conservation of the St. Lawrence. The following conclusions are the result of a consultation process between the respective networks of delegates sitting on the St. Lawrence 2030 Vision Committee.
Since it has been unveiled at the AquaHacking 2016 Summit in Montreal, all citizens and organizations across Quebec will be invited to adopt and contribute to this vision. In order to ensure its sustainability, the St. Lawrence Strategies and the youth delegation will provide a follow-up on the progress of Vision 2030 for the St. Lawrence during the annual St. Lawrence River Week event,.
This has been made possible thanks to the generous support of de Gaspé Beaubien Foundation.
Produce, through a participatory method, and distribute a unifying declaration that will orient the relationship that current and future generations have with the St. Lawrence River.
Vision 2030 of the St. Lawrence
A resource that truly belongs to us all, the St. Lawrence River splendor comes from the exceptional balance between its rich ecosystems, the diversity of uses it supports and the collective memory of the many peoples who live alongside it.
- Collective memory
The following orientations are not listed in any particular order.
A. Uses and access to the St. Lawrence
Although the state of the St. Lawrence is improving, there are still challenges when it comes to sustainability of use and access to the River, particularly in urban settings. Measures must be put in place to rehabilitate certain uses, as well as guarantee free public access to the River and its riverbanks.
Orientation 1: Enrich public and universal access to the St. Lawrence River, while still ensuring the sustainability of its multiple related uses.
B. Knowledge base
Investing in the acquisition of scientific knowledge that would support improvements to the state of the St. Lawrence. Sharing of knowledge through tools that promote public and universal access to data will enable more integrated and sustainable decision-making. Educating stakeholders and raising their awareness will help increase recognition of how the St. Lawrence contributes to the social and economic development of Quebec.
Orientation 2: Invest in the acquisition and sharing of data and knowledge associated with the River.
Orientation 3: Support educational, awareness and science popularization approaches to the St. Lawrence River.
C. State of the St. Lawrence
The water quantity and quality of the St. Lawrence continues to present challenges for the communities on its riverbanks and its ecosystems. Water quality in the St. Lawrence continues to improve, but river and marine ecosystems are still struggling with biological, chemical and physical pressures. Although some issues are getting better, advancing technology has caused others to emerge. The question of the volume of available water is especially important to infrastructures and ecosystems along the riverbanks, and to the population that relies on the River for its drinking water.
Orientation 4: Ensure the adequate quality and quantity of water to satisfy associated uses and maintain the integrity of ecosystems in the St. Lawrence River.
D. Risks and vulnerability
Occasional disturbances from anthropogenic sources can have a devastating effect on the ecosystems of the St. Lawrence. Reducing this type of risk at the source and applying precautionary measures is required. Global changes are having random impacts on the ecosystems of the St. Lawrence and on riverside communities. These multiply the occurrence of coastal erosion, most notably, it threatens theriverside infrastructures. More in-depth knowledge of how these changes are affecting the St. Lawrence and identifying better ways to temper those effects will enable us to decrease the vulnerability of these fragile ecosystems.
Orientation 5: Reduce the risk of occasional anthropogenic disturbances at the source and implement precautionary measures.
Orientation 6: Better understand the risks posed by global changes on the St. Lawrence and implement better means to reducing these effects.
E. Sustainable development of the St. Lawrence
When we talk about development projects for the St. Lawrence, it is essential to maintain a balance between economic benefits, environmental integrity and the social aspects. Fundamental notions of intergenerational equity and ethics must be at the core of all decisions made. Furthermore, decisions must be made in an integrated and transparent way, and in alignment with long-term goals.
Orientation 7: Develop the St. Lawrence in a sustainable and innovative way.
F. Participatory governance
Integrated management implies consultation with different stakeholders and administrative structures that support the St. Lawrence. Integrated management should lead the decision-making process. Participatory government also implies equity and respecting the roles of stakeholders and their respective skills.
Orientation 8: Reinforce integrated management of the St. Lawrence (IMSL), particularly by improving the ability of decision-making organizations to intervene.
Orientation 9: View youth as a full interest group in the participatory government model for the St. Lawrence.
Orientation 10: Involve First Nations in the governance of the St. Lawrence through authentic dialogue between nations.