OTTAWA, June 28, 2018 /CNW/ - Nature is at the heart of Canada's national identity, from coast to coast to coast. Our rivers, mountains, lakes, and oceans—along with the wildlife that depends on them—are a natural legacy for all Canadians to discover, enjoy, and preserve.
Federal, provincial, and territorial ministers responsible for parks, protected areas, conservation, wildlife, and biodiversity met today to advance cooperation on shared priorities to protect nature and biodiversity across Canada. The ministers agreed to a Natural Legacy Declaration, which will guide action toward meeting Canada's conservation targets while working in the spirit and practice of reconciliation. Under the Declaration, Canada has committed to conserving 17 percent of our country's land and fresh water, by 2020. The ministers also agreed to a new framework for transforming how Canada protects and recovers species at risk, including a focus on priority places, species, and sectors to achieve multispecies benefits.
At the meeting, the federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna, outlined additional details on how the Government of Canada's historic $1.3 billion investment in nature protection, announced in Budget 2018, will contribute to conserving Canada's natural places and to promoting the protection and recovery of species at risk.
That investment includes a federal contribution of a $500 million Canada Nature Fund, which aims to leverage an equivalent amount from provinces, territories, foundations, and others, to raise a total of $1 billion for conservation action across the country. The Fund will make it possible to establish new protected and conserved areas, including by advancing land conservation with private landowners; support species-protection efforts by provinces and territories; and help build Indigenous capacity to conserve land and species.
Under the Canada Nature Fund, a call for proposals will be launched in the coming months to identify initiatives that will create new protected and conserved areas on public and private lands and support collaboration toward establishing Indigenous protected and conserved areas.
In addition, the Fund will complement new Budget 2018 investments in research and management activities to protect natural places and species at risk. These activities will build on existing initiatives to conserve and enhance biodiversity, such as the proposed national park reserves in British Columbia's South Okanagan-Similkameen region and the Northwest Territories' Thaidëné Nene. Throughout the summer, Minister McKenna will announce further details on initiatives supported by the Fund, as well as on the Indigenous Guardians program for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis.
Lastly, to inform and advise Minister McKenna on external partnerships, leveraging opportunities, and long-term directions for the Canada Nature Fund, the Minister will establish a national advisory committee on nature. The appointment of a special ministerial representative and other members of the nature advisory committee will be announced in the coming months.
"Canadians love nature: It is an intrinsic part of our national identity. Yet, protecting our shared natural legacy requires effective cooperation between all levels of government, civil society, and Canadians everywhere. I am proud of the historic investments the Government of Canada is making to protect nature and wildlife. I look forward to working with provinces, territories, Indigenous governments, and many other essential partners to ensure that future generations of Canadians can experience nature, create lasting memories, and feel more connected to this extraordinary country."
– Catherine McKenna, Canada's Minister of Environment and Climate Change
"The Government of Alberta is proud to co-lead a pan-Canadian initiative to conserve our nation's land and fresh water in collaboration with our federal, provincial, and territorial partners. From coast to coast, Canada boasts some of the most majestic landscapes and water bodies on earth, and our commitment to protecting our land, water, insects, and animals is a national gift from Canadians to the world. We all have a responsibility to ensure strong stewardship of our land and water and preserve our country's natural beauty for future generations."
– Shannon Phillips, Alberta's Minister of Environment and Parks and Minister responsible for the Climate Change Office
- The Canada Nature Fund will provide $500 million over five years to establish protected and conserved areas and recover species at risk. It is anticipated that an additional $500 million will be raised to match these funds, resulting in at least $1 billion aimed at conservation action over the next five years.
- The ministers agreed to continue to work together on the Pathway to Canada Target 1 to safeguard Canada's biodiversity by improving our network of protected and conserved areas; using agreed-to standards and tools to recognize areas that are effectively conserving Canada's nature; and adding to our protected and conserved areas network, where possible, with assistance from the Canada Nature Fund and philanthropic support.
- The ministers committed to reconvene in the spring of 2019 to discuss our collective progress toward Target 1, including planned additions to their respective protected and conserved areas network.
- Target 1 aims to conserve at least 17 percent of Canada's lands, by the end of 2020. Canada is currently at 10.55 percent. To reach 17 percent, Canada will have to conserve an area roughly the size of Saskatchewan.
- The proposed South Okanagan-Similkameen national park reserve, which will help protect one of the most ecologically diverse regions of Canada, is an initiative being led by Parks Canada, the Government of British Columbia, and the Syilx/Okanagan Nation.
- The proposed Thaidëné Nene national park reserve, along with adjoining territorial protected and conserved areas, will protect 26 000 square kilometres of Canada's boreal forest, in a collaborative partnership that includes the Government of Canada, the Government of the Northwest Territories, and Indigenous governments.
- Canada Nature Fund, special ministerial representative, and national advisory committee
- Parks, Protected Areas, Conservation, Wildlife, and Biodiversity key priorities for Federal-Provincial-Territorial Ministers
SOURCE Environment and Climate Change Canada
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