Dear OSEA members,
OSEA attended the long-awaited Biomass North Forum 2017—Opportunities for Challenging Times from October 11th -12th in Thunder Bay, Ontario. The forum, trending as #BNDC2017, explored the various challenges that the forest bioeconomy is presently facing and proactively discussed the diverse areas of opportunities that exist for its improvement. It was a highly-informative, well-organized event that included an expert keynote speaker, a variety of educational workshops, a trade exhibition, interactive tours, ample networking opportunity and a celebratory awards dinner ceremony.
Some major issues presented by #BNDC2017 regarding the forest bioeconomy included the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the softwood lumber dispute, economic development barriers in the North, Northern infrastructure challenges, adapting to climate change, and sector transformation. Their proposed opportunities for growth areas include but are not limited to, the Ring of Fire, FDI opportunities afforded by CETA, bioenergy projects and initiatives, partnerships between industry, municipalities and First Nations, Government support programs and technical and social innovations. The forum successfully addressed these challenges and opportunities from the diverse perspectives of sustainable trade, international perspectives and opportunities, programs and policies, solutions and success stories, Northern development, and cutting-edge research and innovation.
Kai Mykkänen, Minister of Foreign Trade and Development, was one of the many exceptional speakers present, and delivered the keynote address. Based in Finland, he is responsible for dealing with matters regarding trade policy and development cooperation, and represented Finland at the Canada-Finland Bioeconomy Seminar on October 10th. Other notable experts include First Nations representatives, research professors, energy engineers, policy analysts, etc.
#BNDC2017 also included highly-educational workshops on:Ontario’s regulations and guidelines for use of small wood-fired combustors, the Northern Ontario Bioeconomy Strategy, and the economics of carbon pricing. The first was hosted by MOECC and consisted of an open-discussion on various topics relating to the use of small wood-fired combustors including the Environmental Policy Act, air quality regulations, emission controls and combustion guidelines. The second was hosted by BNDC and discussed policy and regulatory barriers that interfere with sustainable bioenergy projects. It also defined strategic guidelines that will allow for the easy transition to abioeconomy and included demonstrations based upon sustainable supply, bioenergy & biofuels,biocomposities & biochemicals, and traditional medicines & foods. It also provided information on how to get involved with NO-BS working groups and how to become an industry partner. The third was hosted by Climate Fix and discussed key issues such as climate change, carbon pricing policies, carbon reportingtimelines and carbon inventorying. OSEA thoroughly enjoyed the educational, yet interactive aspect of the workshops presented at this year's forum.
OSEA would like to congratulate the organizers of #BNDC2017 for a hosting a fantastic event, and we look forward to attending many more Biomass North Development Centre forums in the future!
Interim Executive Director