Canada joins High Ambition Coalition for Nature and People

From: Environment and Climate Change Canada

Conserving nature in Canada and across the globe is critical to halt biodiversity loss, tackle climate change, and help all of us live sustainably. Over a million species are threatened with extinction, with 75 percent of our land and 66 percent of the marine environment significantly altered by human actions. In Canada alone, populations of species assessed as at risk have declined on average 59 percent since 1970. That is why Canada pledged to join other countries today at the Leaders Event for Nature and People in a “high ambition coalition” to advocate for a target of conserving 30 percent of the world’s lands and oceans by 2030.

Today, the Prime Minister, the Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, along with the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, indicated that Canada has joined Costa Rica and France, as well as other countries, to continue to champion this important work for global biodiversity. The target would be adopted as a part of the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework at the 15th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in 2021. The framework will include targets to guide the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity around the world over the next 10 years.

Expanding conserved and protected natural areas around the world is one of the most important actions that countries can take to curb the ongoing loss of nature and biodiversity. This is needed to ensure that Canadians and all people around the world have access to food, and clean and abundant water.

Protecting natural ecosystems also helps us in our efforts to address climate change by safeguarding natural carbon stores and helping us to adapt to the impacts of climate change, as well as helping to prevent future pandemics. In fact, wildlife species under direct exploitation or habitat loss are more likely to come into contact with people, which increases the likelihood of disease transmission. Research has shown that outbreaks of animal-borne illness will likely become more frequent due to the accelerating destruction of nature.

The Government of Canada had already committed to protecting 25 percent of its lands and oceans by 2025 and 30 percent by 2030. Canada is uniquely positioned to contribute to this important goal at home and abroad. The country has the second-largest land mass, a fifth of the world’s fresh water, and the longest coastline in the world, which, together, are critical for biodiversity and for securing carbon in nature in the fight against climate change. Our forests, grasslands, and peatlands absorb enormous amounts of carbon pollution and are our best ally in protecting our climate.

In 2018, a historic $1.35 billion investment had been made to support work with other governments, Indigenous groups, and non-profit organizations toward doubling the amount of nature protected to create healthier habitats for species at risk and improve Canada’s natural environment.

Moving forward, Canada will continue to work with both the High Ambition Coalition and the Global Ocean Alliance to advocate internationally for conserving 30 percent of the world’s lands and oceans by 2030 and the conservation of biodiversity for now and for future generations.

Quotes

“Expanding the world’s conserved and protected areas is critical not just for stopping the loss of nature and biodiversity but also to fighting climate change and helping prevent future pandemics. Canada is proud to join the High Ambition Coalition and work with other countries to advocate for a common vision on land and ocean conservation.”

– The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Environment and Climate Change

“Canadians rely on healthy ecosystems to sustain our economy, our food supply, and our communities. Our oceans and lands are shared resources that require a global effort, backed by science, to ensure marine and biodiversity conservation. Canada looks forward to working with like-minded countries within the High Ambition Coalition for Nature and People to support and advocate for the adoption of a global target of 30 percent marine conservation by 2030, during the 15th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity.”

– The Honourable Bernadette Jordan, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard

Quick facts

  • The five direct drivers of change in nature with the largest relative global impacts so far include the following, in descending order: changes in land and sea use, direct exploitation of organisms, climate change, pollution, and invasive alien species. (IPBES, 2019)

  • In Canada, between 1970 and 2016, the population size of monitored mammal species decreased by 42 percent on average; and fish species, by 21. (Canadian Species Index)

  • In late 2019, Costa Rica and France announced their intention to assemble countries to form the High Ambition Coalition.

  • Thus far, more than 30 countries have joined the High Ambition Coalition.

  • In July 2020, Canada joined the United Kingdom as lead and other countries as a member of the Global Ocean Alliance, which is advocating to conserve at least 30 percent of the world’s oceans through the establishment of marine protected areas and other effective area-based marine-conservation measures by 2030.

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