Federal and Provincial Governments Create National Advisory Panel on Canada's biodiversity conservation initiative

Panel of experts to advise governments on protecting at least 17% of Canada's land and freshwater by 2020 

OTTAWA, June 8, 2017 /CNW/ - Canada is committed to conserve at least 17 per cent of our country's land and freshwater through a network of parks, protected and conserved areas, and other effective area-based conservation measures by 2020. Building this network will be achieved only through a pan-Canadian collaboration and the collective action of many communities, partners and stakeholders.

Today, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, Catherine McKenna, along with the Honourable Shannon Phillips, Minister of Alberta Environment and Parks and Minister Responsible for the Climate Change Office, introduced the experts, appointed to a National Advisory Panel, who will advise governments on achieving Canada's international commitment to biodiversity conservation.

Selected from nearly 150 candidates, the National Advisory Panel consists of individuals representing a broad spectrum of perspectives, including Indigenous organizations, environmental non-governmental organizations, resource industries, academia, and youth. The Panel members are tasked with providing practical and innovative recommendations based on the best available science and traditional knowledge on how we can collectively achieve Canada's land and freshwater target by 2020. The Panel report will be publicly available to all Canadians in late 2017.

Canada's approach to biodiversity conservation reflects a renewed nation-to-nation relationship that is based on the recognition of rights, respect, cooperation and partnership and supports the involvement of Indigenous communities in every aspect of the initiative. An Indigenous Circle of Experts has been created to provide Indigenous expert advice throughout all elements of the initiative. In addition, special attention is being directed to developing criteria for Indigenous Protected and Conservation Areas, which could play a significant role in achieving the land and freshwater conservation target.

This is the first time in over 25 years federal and provincial governments have agreed to work together on expanding Canada's collection of protected and conserved areas. It is also the first effort to move from a collection to a connected network of protected and conserved areas. A connected network is the only way to conserve Canada's biological diversity for generations to come. A connected network will also play an important role in contributing to the recovery of species at risk and in managing the impacts of climate change by maintaining resilient ecosystems and by helping plants, animals, and their habitats adapt to changes. An expanded network of protected and conserved areas will provide additional opportunities for Canadians to connect with nature.

Quotes
"Our Government is committed to expanding our system of protected areas and protecting Canada's biodiversity. We are honoured to present the members of the National Advisory Panel to Canadians. We value the contribution of Indigenous Peoples in our collective efforts to achieve Canada's land and freshwater conservation target. We look forward to their recommendations on how we as a nation can meet our goal of building a connected network of protected and conserved areas to protect Canada's biodiversity. As Canada celebrates the 150th anniversary of Confederation, what better gift to offer the world than to create a natural legacy for future generations."

The Honourable Catherine McKenna
Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister Responsible for Parks Canada

"The steps we take today will help protect our rivers, forests and other wild spaces for future generations. This new National Advisory Panel reflects Canada's diversity, while bringing together voices needed to achieve our ambitious conservation targets."

The Honourable Shannon Phillips
Minister of Alberta Environment and Parks and the Minister Responsible for the Climate Change Office

Quick Facts

  • Parks Canada and Alberta Environment and Parks are co-leading the land and freshwater conservation initiative, which will develop best practices and indicators for measuring progress towards conserving at least 17 per cent of Canada's land areas and inland water by 2020 and building a coordinated and connected network of protected and conserved areas throughout the country.
  • In addition to the land and inland water target, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Parks Canada, and partners are working jointly on the marine component of the commitment to conserve at least 10 per cent of marine and coastal areas by 2020.
  • In 2010, members of the international community identified 20 biodiversity targets, known as the Aichi Targets, to be achieved by 2020 in order to reverse the global decline of biodiversity. Canada's commitment to protect biodiversity is based on these international commitments.
  • Based on the most current data, 10.6 per cent of land and 1.18 per cent of marine areas of Canada are protected by the provinces, territories, the federal government, Indigenous groups, and non-profit and private sector organizations.

Related Links

Panel Members' Biographies
Conservation2020canada
Building Canada's Natural Legacy Commitment
Biodivcanada
Alberta Environment and Parks
Parks Canada

 

Backgrounder

Canada's Land and Freshwater Conservation Target
National Advisory Panel

A Strategic Plan for Biodiversity was adopted in 2010 at the Conference of the Parties for the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). Canada, the European Community, and another 195 member states are Parties to the CBD. The plan includes 20 biodiversity targets, known as the Aichi Targets, to be achieved by 2020 in order to reverse the global decline of biodiversity. Aichi Target 11 focusses on the conservation of biological diversity through protected areas and other measures:

  • By 2020, at least 17 per cent of terrestrial and inland water areas and 10 per cent of coastal and marine areas, especially areas of importance for biodiversity and ecosystem services, are conserved through effectively and equitably managed, ecologically representative and well-connected systems of protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures, and integrated into the wider landscape and seascape.

Parties were urged to develop their own national targets in support of the strategic plan using Aichi targets as a guide. In 2015, Canada adopted the "2020 Biodiversity Goals and Targets for Canada", a set of 19 targets covering issues ranging from species at risk to sustainable forestry to connecting Canadians to nature. Canada's land and freshwater conservation target (also called Canada Target 1), which is aligned with the numeric component of Aichi Target 11, states:

  • By 2020, at least 17% of terrestrial areas and inland water, and 10% of coastal and marine areas of Canada, are conserved through networks of protected areas and other effective area-based measures.

On April 11, 2016, federal, provincial, and territorial deputy ministers responsible for parks agreed to establish a steering committee through the Canadian Parks Council that will outline a pathway to achieving Canada's land and freshwater target.

In February 2017, federal, provincial and territorial Ministers responsible for protected areas and biodiversity conservation committed to work together on expanding Canada's collection of protected and conserved areas under an initiative known as Pathway to Canada Target 1. For its part, Quebec, although it does not participate in the implementation of the Pathway initiative, will contribute to the pan-Canadian effort by achieving an identical target for the creation of protected areas on its terrestrial territory and its inland water by 2020.

It is well understood that many governments, Indigenous groups, communities, and organizations across Canada have a significant interest and/or stake in the outputs from the process and that the solutions associated with achieving Canada's land and freshwater conservation target will only be found through collaboration and collective action within and amongst those groups. Accordingly, Ministers who oversee parks, wildlife, conservation and biodiversity from the federal, provincial and territorial governments are seeking advice from a National Advisory Panel (NAP), with members who represent a broad spectrum of perspectives.

The NAP consists of individuals appointed by the Minister of Environment and Climate Change Canada and the Minister for Alberta Environment and Parks. Individuals were selected based on merit and drawn from a balanced and broad spectrum of perspectives, including Indigenous groups, conservation non-governmental organizations, industry, academia and youth. Members were selected from a field of nearly 150 Canadians who responded to the Ministers' December 23, 2016 call for expressions of interest.

Members of the NAP will serve as individuals bringing their expertise, knowledge, and perspectives, rather than acting solely as representatives of, or advocates for, their current affiliation. Members will balance the principle of transparency with confidentiality of discussions where appropriate.

The purpose of the National Advisory Panel is to provide practical and innovative recommendations reflecting a broad spectrum of perspectives and based on the best available science and traditional knowledge on how governments, non-governmental organizations and Canadians could collectively achieve Canada's land and freshwater target through a coordinated and connected network of protected and conservation areas throughout the country that could serve as the cornerstone for biodiversity conservation for generations to come.

The NAP will produce a report that will be publicly available and submitted to ministers responsible for parks, protected areas and biodiversity conservation. The report will provide recommendations on how Canada can achieve the quantitative and qualitative elements of the terrestrial and inland water components of Canada Target 1. The recommendations will focus on the following elements:

  • Canadian criteria for protected area categories and other effective area-based conservation measures that are credible, clear, and consistent with internationally recognized approaches so that we can account for progress toward achieving the target;
  • Representation of Canada's diverse ecology in protected areas and other effective conservation measures;
  • Equitable management of protected areas from a local community perspective;
  • Management effectiveness of protected areas and other effective conservation measures;
  • Areas important for biodiversity and ecosystem services;
  • Connecting protected and conservation areas and integrating them into the wider landscape.

This work is being supported, in part, by an Indigenous Circle of Experts (ICE), which will provide recommendations on how Indigenous protected and conservation areas could be realized in Canada. The work of the ICE will be grounded in and reflect the principles of the overall initiative, including: reconciliation, respect, inclusiveness and collaboration, transparency, innovation and creativity, and evidence-based decision making grounded in science and traditional knowledge. Its recommendations regarding Indigenous conservation areas will be grounded in the following principles, to be defined through the work of the Circle, and incorporated in the final version of the ICE report: jurisdictional solutions, capacity development, financial support, and prioritizing matters of importance to Indigenous communities such as cultural sites and keystone species.

 

SOURCE Parks Canada

For further information: Marie-Pascale Des Rosiers, Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, 613-462-5473, marie-pascale.desrosiers@canada.ca; Jeremy Van Loon, Alberta Environment and Parks, Press Secretary, 780-644-7680, Jeremy.vanloon@gov.ab.ca; Media Relations, Parks Canada Agency, 855-862-1812, pc.media@pc.gc.ca

RELATED LINKS
http://www.pc.gc.ca/

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