Halifax, NS – Conserving and restoring nature is vital in the fight against climate change; protecting biodiversity and species at risk; and maintaining a strong, sustainable economy. Canadians, including Indigenous Peoples, depend on nature to supply us with food, clean water, breathable air, and a livable climate.
The Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, the Honourable Steven Guilbeault, together with the Nova Scotia Minister of Environment and Climate Change, the Honourable Timothy Halman, and the Nova Scotia Minister of Natural Resources and Renewables, the Honourable Tory Rushton, marked Canada and Nova Scotia’s shared commitment to nature conservation at an event at Maskwa Aquatic Club, next to the Blue Mountain – Birch Cove Lakes wilderness area, the site of the first proposed national urban park in Nova Scotia.
At the event, the two governments agreed to work together to:
- advance negotiations on a funded Nature Agreement that will focus on a number of nature-related opportunities, including protecting more natural spaces in Nova Scotia and increasing habitat protection for species at risk and migratory birds, to be finalized by 2023;
- complete the pre-feasibility assessment and work toward the designation of the proposed national urban park at Blue Mountain – Birch Cove Lakes, together with other key partners, including the Halifax Regional Municipality, the Nova Scotia Nature Trust, and the Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq. The Government of Canada commits to making a foundational investment, such as land acquisition or infrastructure, by the end of 2023. This site has great potential to advance shared goals of protecting nature, enhancing access to nature for Nova Scotians and all Canadians, and advancing reconciliation;
- seek new opportunities for connecting key areas of protected and conserved lands, including by completing a pilot project in Nova Scotia under Parks Canada’s National Program for Ecological Corridors, by 2025, in collaboration with partners. In undertaking this pilot project, both governments commit to engaging Indigenous communities so that shared goals of connecting culturally and naturally significant areas can be achieved. The pilot will be the first project in Atlantic Canada under Parks Canada’s National Program for Ecological Corridors; and
- develop a funding agreement to conserve old-growth forests and address the hemlock woolly adelgid. Under the Nature Smart Climate Solutions Fund, Environment and Climate Change Canada has agreed to commit up to $10 million, which will contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing carbon sequestration, while also providing benefits for biodiversity and human wellbeing.
Nova Scotia’s goal to conserve at least 20 percent of land and water mass in the province by 2030 supports Canada’s goal of protecting 25 percent of lands and inland waters in Canada by 2025 and working toward 30 percent by 2030. The commitment to negotiate a nature agreement underscores the shared priority for nature conservation in Canada and Nova Scotia.
Canada’s push to protect more nature comes as we prepare to welcome the world to the 15th United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity in Montréal, Quebec, from December 7 to 19. This landmark conference is a chance for Canada to show its continued leadership and work with international partners and Indigenous Peoples to take action to conserve nature and halt biological diversity loss around the world.
By working together on a nature agreement, the governments of Canada and Nova Scotia are working to advance conservation goals, which helps tackle climate change and halt biodiversity loss. The future depends on everyone taking action now.