Conclusion

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ccebjThe JBACE members have discussed, examined and made recommendations on a host of issues to help protect the environment and the well-being of the people living in the James Bay Territory. Over the years, the Committee has taken a position on diverse issues ranging from acid rain to the protection of archaeological heritage and Aboriginal traditional knowledge as a form of intellectual property.

While the JBACE’s actions have advanced issues or led to productive debate, the Committee is still far from fulfilling its mandate. The outcome of its examination of laws or regulations that could affect the James Bay environment or communities depends on the collaboration received from the governments. In addition, the JBACE’s ability to fulfil its role in overseeing the impact assessment and review procedure demands that the administrators and the evaluating and review committees make information available.

These are sizable challenges. The architects of the James Bay and Northern Québec Agreement demonstrated remarkable vision in establishing a special environmental and social protection regime for the Cree people. It is up to the JBACE, in conjunction with the other players involved, to give concrete expression to this vision and bring it in line with today’s realities.