Government ambition on Kunming-Montreal pact must be matched by accountable 2030 biodiversity strategy
OTTAWA | Traditional unceded Algonquin Territory — Canadian environmental groups presented shared recommendations to the federal government on how Canada must act urgently to meet its global commitments to protect and restore nature under the Global Biodiversity Framework agreed to at the UN Biodiversity Conference (COP 15) in Montreal last December. The recommendations, which drew input from 17 organizations, was submitted in advance of the World Biodiversity Summit in New York September 21, where world leaders are expected to discuss how they will achieve the targets and objectives outlined in the framework.
Adoption of the Global Biodiversity Framework is considered a historic accomplishment for conservation. Environmental groups want to ensure the promises made at COP 15 become robust strategies that will halt and reverse biodiversity loss and safeguard nature into the future.
The recommendations include (but are not limited to):
- Centring Indigenous-led conservation;
- Aligning actions across government departments;
- Securing sufficient, long-term funding to support implementation across the country.
Environmental groups also want Canada to remove harmful subsidies and incentives that support destructive activities like mining and oil and gas extraction.
Long-term commitments from all sectors will be needed to address the many human activities that cause biodiversity loss and jeopardize the future. The joint submission highlights the importance of supporting Indigenous Peoples so they can play a central role in attaining several of the targets.
Federal, provincial and territorial governments will also have an important role to play in preventing biodiversity loss. In the coming months, Canada will draft its 2030 Biodiversity Strategy to guide GBF implementation. Protecting nature must be a priority and environmental groups expect Canada to be leading the charge. Upcoming milestones like the fall economic statement are opportunities for Canada to rise to the occasion.
Silke Nebel, PhD, VP, Science and Conservation, Birds Canada:
“We are losing biodiversity — including many beloved birds — at an unprecedented rate. The targets agreed to at COP 15 are an important step toward mitigating the biodiversity crisis and now need to be matched by national biodiversity strategies. We are calling on the Government of Canada to take swift and meaningful action that ensures bold and focused measures are in place to halt and reverse biodiversity loss by 2030.”
Sandra Schwartz, National Executive Director, Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS):
“Success lies within the details in how we respond to global species loss and increasingly devastating climate disasters. With Canada making big promises on the world stage, it’s time to deliver. We need urgent action and a real plan to safeguard and defend the natural environments that sustain our families and our communities. That means coming together as a whole government and ensuring that the money is in place to deliver on these important commitments. Ambition is not enough; we need the determination to get it right for nature and for our future.”
David Browne, Director of Conservation Science, Canadian Wildlife Federation:
“To achieve the GBF targets Canadians and the world will need to take actions that rethink and transform how we protect and use the natural world. Conserving the ecosystems that sustain us will mean changing things like how we grow and produce food and fibre, how we build and grow our cities and how we continue to move goods around the world without spreading invasive species or harming marine wildlife. Examples of biodiversity loss are all around us when we see salmon and cod decline, moose and caribou become less common or grasslands and old growth forests lost. We need to take action now to conserve and restore biodiversity for the future.”
Jay Ritchlin, Director-General, Nature and Western Region, David Suzuki Foundation:
“The planet is out of balance. There are no more credible arguments about balancing the economy and environment in project-by-project decision-making. Government leaders need to summon the political will to uphold the halt portion of their halt and reverse commitment — to say no to further degradation of imperilled ecosystems for economic gain.”
Cassie Barker, Toxics Senior Program Manager, Environmental Defence:
“Amid a global biodiversity crisis, it is unacceptable that pesticide use has increased by a staggering 30 per cent over the past decade. We must do better. Canada has the opportunity to be a leader in addressing this crisis, starting with enacting policies to reduce pesticide use and its harms by 2030.”
Emily McMillan, Executive Director, Nature Canada:
“In the face of mass extinction — the greatest since the dinosaurs — Canada played a pivotal role in garnering a strong agreement in Montreal. But the real work is happening now. Canadians are counting on Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault to deliver a strong 2030 Biodiversity Strategy that reflects our values: reconciliation, accountability and Canadians’ long-abiding love of nature.”
Julee Boan, PhD, Boreal Partnership Manager, Natural Resources Defense Council:
“Now that the dust has settled from the worldwide fanfare celebrating the signing of the Global Biodiversity Framework, the test of Canada’s resolve begins. With just seven years to change its trajectory from one of biodiversity loss to one of species recovery, it’s imperative that Canada mobilize the resources and political will necessary to achieve this transformational change.”
Andrea Koehle Jones, Founder and Children’s Environmental Education Advocate, The ChariTree Foundation:
“The ChariTree Foundation encourages Canada to continue to take the lead and honour the historic Kunming-Montreal global biodiversity deal to safeguard nature. This trailblazing deal will give children around the world more opportunities to get outdoors and fall in love with nature. That’s important because you protect what you love and that means more kids will grow up to protect nature too.”
Charlotte Dawe, Conservation and Policy Campaigner, Wilderness Committee:
“Big promises were made at COP 15, while the world watched hoping that this time it would be different. Showy speeches do nothing to change material conditions on the landscape, without implementing real measures to tackle the drivers of biodiversity loss. These recommendations must be implemented and the government must remember that in the end no one wins from the obliteration of biodiversity.”
Elizabeth Hendriks, VP Restoration and Regeneration, World Wildlife Fund Canada:
“This year’s climate-fuelled wildfires — and the widespread erosion and flooding that we know will follow — demonstrate the urgency for developing a biodiversity action plan for Canada that includes specific targets and actions for restoring these damaged ecosystems. Communities and wildlife are depending on it.”
Sarah Palmer, Government Relations and Policy Strategist, Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative:
“To achieve big goals, we need to think big and band together. This is an opportunity to put solutions in place and address the worst impacts of climate change and biodiversity loss on wildlife, ecosystems and waters across Canada. They exist. Inspirational models like the network of connected habitat and protected areas in the Yellowstone to Yukon region offer both hope and a roadmap for attaining the lofty aspirations set forth in the Global Biodiversity Framework. We hope Canada pulls every lever to address this crisis.”
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For more information or media interviews, please contact:
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- Heather Robison, Canadian Wildlife Federation, email@example.com, 613-599-9594 x 212
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- Scott Mullenix, Nature Canada, firstname.lastname@example.org, 613-562-3447 x230
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- Andrea Koehle Jones, The ChariTree Foundation, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Kelly Zenkewich, Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative, email@example.com, 403-609-2666 x 126
- Rebecca Spring, WWF- Canada, firstname.lastname@example.org, 647-338-6274