Yesterday, federal, provincial, and territorial environment ministers, responsible for parks, protected areas, conservation, wildlife, and biodiversity, met to advance cooperation on shared priorities to protect nature and biodiversity.

The ministers agreed to a Natural Legacy Declaration to 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 per cent of land and freshwater 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.

“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,” said federal Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna. “I am proud of the historic investments the Government of Canada is making to protect nature and wildlife.”

 

Federal spending on conservation as announced in Budget 2018 will contribute to promotion, protection, and recovery of natural spaces and species at risk. Investment includes a federal contribution of $500 million through the 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 Government of Alberta is proud to co-lead a pan-Canadian initiative to conserve our nation’s land and freshwater in collaboration with our federal, provincial, and territorial partners,” said Shannon Phillips, Alberta’s Minister of Environment and Parks and Minister responsible for the Climate Change Office. “We all have a responsibility to ensure strong stewardship of our land and water and preserve our country’s natural beauty for future generations.”

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Under the Canada Nature Fund, a call for proposals will be launched 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. 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.

Minister McKenna will also establish a national advisory committee on nature to inform and advise her work on external partnerships, leveraging opportunities, and long-term directions for the Canada Nature Fund. The appointment of a special ministerial representative and other members of the nature advisory committee will be announced in the coming months.

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