OTTAWA, Nov. 5, 2013 /CNW/ - The Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of the Environment, Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency and Minister for the Arctic Council, today issued the following statement on behalf of the Government of Canada in response to the tabling of the fall 2013 report from the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development.
"Our Government continues to play a leadership role on issues related to the environment and we are pleased that the Commissioner acknowledges progress is being made in key areas that are important to Canadians, such as biological diversity. Our Government remains committed to promoting sustainable development under the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity.
"As an Arctic nation with rich and unique biodiversity truly distinct to the North, Canada continues to strengthen its environmental protection and conservation, leading to healthy ecosystems that will ultimately benefit the economy and support the health of Canadians.
"In the Speech from the Throne, the Government reaffirmed our commitment to protecting our nation's rich natural heritage through a new National Conservation Plan to further increase protected areas, focusing on stronger marine and coastal conservation.
"We are also taking action to support conservation and protection of habitats and ecologically sensitive lands. Since 2006, the total area of the lands we have protected is equal to an area twice the size of Vancouver Island. This includes two National Marine Conservation Areas, three Marine Protected Areas, three National Wildlife Areas, two National Parks, and one National Historic Site. This provides real conservation benefits, from protecting grizzly bears to rare ecosystems.
"Our Government is taking action to preserve Canada's biodiversity. For example, this past September, we announced that we will issue an Emergency Protection Order for the Greater Sage-Grouse to address the imminent threats to its survival. We will be working with provinces and stakeholders over the coming months to implement a series of stewardship measures.
"We are also making progress in conservation planning for certain migratory bird groups. Achieving migratory bird conservation relies on the actions of many and we will continue to work with our partners to assess and monitor migratory bird populations and implement bird conservation programs.
"Our Government recognizes that Aboriginal traditional knowledge is an essential source of information that helps inform scientific research. We will continue to collaborate with Aboriginal peoples in the monitoring and restoration of ecosystems and the management of wildlife in our National Parks and Marine Conservation Areas.
"On accountability and transparency, we are pleased that the Commissioner recognizes that the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy provides Canadians with the information they need to monitor the Government's progress on environmental sustainability. We've already taken action to address most of the Commissioner's recommendations in the 2013-2016 Federal Sustainable Development Strategy, which was made available online to all Canadians yesterday. The Strategy continues to provide a government-wide approach to reporting and tracking progress on environmental sustainability. This is important to Canadians since the 2013-2016 Strategy is a roadmap on how we'll sustain our natural resources, protect the health of our people and ecosystems, and improve our quality of life and well-being."
To find out more about what Environment Canada and its partners are doing to conserve Canada's biodiversity, visit: http://ec.gc.ca/nature/default.asp?lang=En&n=58B3CE3D-1
To find out more about Environment Canada's leadership role as the National Focal Point under the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity, visit: http://www.biodivcanada.ca/default.asp?lang=En&n=BBFC5974-1.
SOURCE: Environment Canada
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