February 28, 2023 (Vancouver, BC) — The Build Back Better, Together (BBBT) collaborative welcomes the 2023 Budget announced today by the Honourable Katrine Conroy, Minister of Finance, which allocates funds to increase emergency management capacity in the province and provide new investments in disaster risk assessment, preparedness and mitigation.
The BBBTC is pleased to see $85 million for the new Ministry of Emergency Management and Climate Readiness for the next three years, as well as additional funding for climate resiliency initiatives, and looks forward to working with the Honourable Bowinn Ma to support the Province in carrying out its commitments under the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.
The budget notes that “funding will also support more cross-ministry coordination, including working collaboratively with local governments and First Nations to make communities more resilient to climate and disaster risks.” This approach is consistent with the work being done by BBBTC in partnership with the province and local communities to move towards building resilience through more collaborative longer-term planning.
The BBBTC will be utilizing $150,000 from Emergency Management and Climate Readiness to host a forum in the Fraser Valley in spring 2023 with all levels of government, rights- and title holders and key stakeholders to advance collaborative planning for strategic objectives initiated at its first forum in July 2022. The funding will also support BBBT member organizations in engaging local governments and First Nations, reviewing flood resilience policies, and conducting flood vulnerability mapping.
“The November 2021 flood has cost billions of dollars and is still impacting communities in the Fraser Valley and beyond. This demonstrates the need for better planning and collaboration among governments, First Nations, communities and experts so we can invest funds strategically to reduce the impacts of future disasters brought on by climate change,” said Tribal Chief Tyrone McNeil, President at Stó:lō Tribal Council.
“The provincial and federal governments have stepped up to fund recovery from recent flooding events, but we need to ensure that these investments go beyond just restoring the infrastructure we had before, to building back better to address vulnerabilities and inequities for a safer, more resilient future,” said Lina Azeez, Habitat Programs Director at Watershed Watch Salmon Society.
About the Build Back Better, Together collaborative
The Build Back Better, Together collaborative is an Indigenous-led group of BC-based organizations and experts with the shared goal of helping BC’s flood recovery and management efforts achieve the best possible outcomes. The collaborative offers interdisciplinary support from a diverse range of interests, experience and networks, including Indigenous groups, conservationists, farmers, environmental legal specialists, researchers and natural resource professionals. Since its inception in October 2021, the Collaborative has met with and supported many communities in the Lower Fraser with resilient flood planning.
Building back better is a pillar of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction. The Government of BC and the Government of Canada have committed to implementing Sendai, which confirms that effective risk reduction requires a proactive approach. Disasters can be important opportunities to rethink existing approaches.
For more information about building back better, read the report Flood Recovery, Resilience and Reconciliation in the Lower Fraser from the BBBTC July 2022 Forum: https://watershedwatch.ca/wp-content/uploads/2022/09/2022-09-15-BBBT-July-14-Dialogue-Report_WEB.pdf
Tribal Chief & President, Stolo Tribal Council
Chair, Emergency Planning Secretariat
Habitat Programs Director
Watershed Watch Salmon Society