Stratégies Saint-Laurent is an umbrella Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) gathering the 14 ZIP committees (zones d’intervention prioritaire ― Area of prime concern).
Stratégies Saint-Laurent’s principal mission is to group the ZIP committees, to enhance, with innovative models in hand, the protection, rehabilitation of the St. Lawrence River within a sustainable perspective.
By pursuing this mission, Stratégies Saint-Laurent wishes to put into practice the organisation’s vision which is: Giving the St. Lawrence back to its people .
Stratégies Saint-Laurent pursues the following objectives:
- To represent the needs and visions of ZIP committees to governments, within multiple working groups and at consultations or special events
- Prioritize cooperation and synergy between ZIP committees by insuring the coordination of meetings of both marine and fresh water commissions
- To reinforce its members’ aptitudes through the organisation of trainings tailored to their needs
- Organize workshops, consultations and forums based on emerging issues and the interests of its members
- Insure the diffusion of information on key issues and activities that affect the St. Lawrence River, its gulf and estuary
- To support ZIP committees in their scientific and technical needs
An active presence
Stratégies Saint-Laurent participates in various committees and meetings concerning the St. Lawrence River. SSL’s exposure within these committees is to bring awareness to the different actors on the importance of integrating preoccupations and work of the riverside communities when dealing with the management of key problems as well as when developing policies, programs and global or sectoral projects.
In 1994, as part of St. Lawrence Action Plan Vision 2000, the Canadian and Quebec governments signed a key agreement with Stratégies Saint-Laurent that would mobilize and implicate coastal communities planning to promote the Priority Intervention Zone Program.
This program aims to promote further knowledge on the river environment, to favour local initiatives of protection, restoration, conservation and enhancement of the St. Lawrence’s uses and resources within a sustainable perspective.
The St. Lawrence Action Plan Vision 2000 had been renewed for a fourth phase (from 2005 till 2010) under the name “St. Lawrence Plan For a Sustainable Development”.
Community action begins with mobilisation and cooperation of riverside communities in a particular section of the St-Lawrence. A ZIP committee can then take root.
For each ZIP territory, an environmental assessment has been made available. The documentation is produced by a team of researchers from both federal and provincial governments. This sum-up of information, in the form of technical reports, presents biological, chemical and socio-economical and human health aspects for each section of the St. Lawrence, Saguenay, Prairies and Thousand islands rivers as well as Deux-Montagnes lake.
ZIP committees invite active actors in their territory to discuss environmental issues and to identify, by consensus, intervention priorities. These will then be used to elaborate an action plan. To support the ZIP committees in preparing this event, Stratégies Saint-Laurent has developed a Guide for public consultation "Guide de préparation des consultations publiques".
Actions and results
The ERAP (Ecological Remedial Action Plan) is prepared in cooperation with local actors to determine measures, according to the priorities set by consultations. A guide was created by Stratégies Saint-Laurent to standardize ERAP content between different ZIP committees : "Guide d'élaboration des PARE".
Putting ERAP into practice
Putting ERAP into practice favours community involvement in the realisation of concrete projects by ZIP committees and other local partners. A technical and scientific governmental support is brought to the ZIP committees to realize these activities.
Follow up and Transmitting results
ERAP’s follow-up is an important activity that helps reach the objective of making the action plan dynamic and progressive. It also helps preserve interests and mobilization of all actors and riverside communities, by showing concrete actions and tangible results.
With the St. Lawrence Plan agreement, each ZIP committee has the responsibility of transmitting their actions and results to the public. This is made possible by using information tools such as newsletters, websites and regional media.
Through this process, the riverside communities, which encompass all sectors of activity, play a key role in the protection the St. Lawrence River, its gulf and estuary.