Vancouver – The governments of Canada and British Columbia (B.C.), and the First Nations Leadership Council (FNLC) have signed a first-of-its-kind, tripartite framework agreement to protect and conserve biodiversity, habitats, and species at risk in the province. The Framework Agreement enables action rooted in recognition of First Nations’ title and rights to reach B.C. and Canada’s goal of protecting thirty percent of lands in B.C. by 2030.
To support the commitments in the Tripartite Framework Agreement on Nature Conservation (the Framework Agreement), the Government of Canada is investing up to $500 million over the life of the Framework Agreement, which matches commitments from the Government of British Columbia. Together, this is one of the most significant nature investment plans in the history of Canada. Support includes a federal investment of $50 million toward the identification and securement of up to13,000 square kilometres of old-growth forest areas, and $104 million from the 2 Billion Trees program that will be specifically focused on the restoration of species at risk habitat, wildfire mitigation and recovery, and watershed health.
The Framework Agreement enables Canada, BC, and First Nations to jointly identify tangible projects and investments that will help to halt or reverse biodiversity loss and create more resilient landscapes in the face of increasing risk of wildfire, flood and drought. The Framework Agreement commits to advance alignment with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in full collaboration with rights holders in its implementation.
The Framework Agreement will also create opportunities to enable the participation of other levels of government, non-governmental organizations, and industry consistent with the Agreement’s aims.
“Canada, B.C., and regional First Nation leaders are taking historic action together to protect more of B.C.’s cherished natural world and the rich biodiversity of species who live within. This is a major step forward in support of Canada’s goal to protect 30 per cent of lands and waters by 2030, which all provinces should get behind. Together, we are protecting more old growth forests, supporting the recovery of species at risk, and restoring ecosystems throughout British Columbia. Moving forward, the Tripartite Framework Agreement on Nature Conservation will serve as a model of collaboration with First Nations to halt and reverse the loss of nature.” – The Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Canada
“With the passing of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples provincially and federally, this trilateral Nature Agreement presents a foundation towards meaningful reconciliation amongst First Nations and the Crown in British Columbia. I uphold the Province of B.C. and Canada in their commitment to this collaborative partnership, which sets a precedent for co-developed conservation mechanisms that uphold First Nations rights, title and interests. With mutual recognition of First Nations as the original stewards and title holders to our lands and waters, we have reached a jointly developed framework with sustained funding to achieve our collective goals for biodiversity protection, restoration and stewardship.” – Terry Teegee, BC Assembly of First Nations Regional Chief
- Since 2016, the Government of Canada has made historic investments to protect lands, species, and biodiversity in Canada, including more than $1 billion for the Nature Legacy initiative, and $2.3 billion in Budget 2021. These investments support work to protect and conserve 25 per cent of land and waters by 2025 and 30 per cent by 2030; advance Indigenous-led conservation; protect and recover species at risk and their habitats; and advance natural climate solutions.
- Prime Minister Trudeau announced Canada’s commitment of up to $800 million in new federal funding in December 2022, including the Great Bear Sea Project Finance for Permanence (PFP), one of up to four Indigenous-led conservation initiatives. Once completed, these projects could protect an additional up to one million square kilometres.
- Canada and B.C. are aligning existing funding in new ways and adding new funding sources, including the significant commitment made by B.C. last week of $150 million for conservation financing. This financial commitment will further support leveraging from third-party funders.
- B.C. is supporting the implementation of the Framework Agreement with matching investments through existing programs and conservation initiatives that are advancing the province’s commitment to protect at least 30 per cent of terrestrial areas in B.C. by 2030, ecosystem health and biodiversity, and better outcomes for wildlife and species at risk including Modernized Land Use Planning, Forest Landscape Planning, Old Growth Strategic Review, Species at Risk Recovery, Together for Wildlife, Collaborative Indigenous Stewardship Framework, Indigenous Guardian programs, and the Province’s creation of a new Conservation Financing Mechanism.
- Canada, B.C., and the FNLC will publish joint annual reports to ensure transparency and accountability, and to share progress toward the conservation outcomes of the Framework Agreement.
- Canada and B.C. will work with First Nations throughout B.C. and other partners to restore or enhance at least 140,000 hectares of wildlife habitat by 2024/25, beyond regulatory requirements.
- Canada, B.C., and the FNLC will work with philanthropic organizations to encourage third-party investments in nature conservation and restoration efforts in British Columbia.
- The Framework Agreement establishes an interim Tripartite Nature Committee (the Committee). The Committee’s membership will be comprised of representatives from Canada, B.C., and FNLC whose roles will be to coordinate activities under this Agreement.
- Complementary to the role of the Committee, Canada and B.C. will consult and cooperate with First Nations to establish agreements, understandings, or other constructive arrangements to co-create additional mechanisms to ensure First Nations involvement in the implementation of, and benefits from, this Agreement in their respective territories.
- Canada and B.C. will explore mechanisms complementary to the Committee that enable the involvement of local governments, stakeholders, and citizens.
- Actions supported by the Framework Agreement, together, will help protect and recover iconic species such as boreal caribou and spotted owls.