Canada to host international summit to accelerate nature protection

News release

March 14, 2019 – Montréal, Quebec

Nature is our most precious resource. Across the globe, people are waking up to the fact that we need to do more to protect our nature and its biodiversity – the animals, plants, and wilderness that we value and rely on. Canada is taking action, making historic investments in conservation and doubling the amount of nature we protect across our lands and oceans. But this is a global problem that requires a global solution. By bringing global champions of nature together, we can find the innovative solutions that the world needs.

Today, the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna, announced that Canada will host a Nature Champions Summit in Montréal, from April 24 to 25, 2019, to ramp up global action to protect nature.

The Summit will bring together major philanthropists, business leaders, non-governmental organizations, United Nations agencies, Indigenous leaders and environment ministers from around the world to build a high-ambition coalition and drive global nature protection forward.

The Nature Champions Summit will focus on several key themes: identifying and overcoming barriers to nature protection; Indigenous partnerships and incorporating Indigenous wisdom in stewardship activities; the intersection of nature, oceans and climate change; and innovative financing for nature-based solutions. The Summit will also provide a platform for participants to showcase commitments and to develop new partnerships for advancing nature protection.

The Summit will kick off a series of multilateral meetings focused on building momentum towards 2020, when leaders representing 190 countries will come together for the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in China. The Summit occurs one week before environment ministers attend the G7 meetings in France, where nature protection will be a key theme.


“Canadians love and value nature. That’s why the Government of Canada is working hard to double the protection of our lands and oceans from coast to coast to coast. By hosting the Nature Champions Summit, Canada is seizing an urgent opportunity to work with international leaders to advance an equally ambitious agenda to protect the world’s nature.”

– Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change

“Canadians and coastal communities around the world rely on our oceans for food, jobs, clean air and so much more. Canada is proud to be an oceans leader, but we all have a shared responsibility to ensure our marine resources, aquatic species and ecosystems are preserved for future generations. The Nature Champions Summit is an opportunity to build on the momentum and international collaboration we achieved during Canada’s 2018 G7 Presidency and the Sustainable Blue Economy Conference we co-hosted in Kenya last fall. We must continue this crucial work together.”

– Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard

“Montréal is the ideal place to hold an international summit on biodiversity, as it has since 1996 been the seat of the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity, a fact of which we are very proud. We firmly believe in the importance of this kind of conference for its role in emulation, the power of information sharing, joint co-operation and creativity stimulation. This is an event where Québec will be able to show off its means of action and inspire other states and regions that are committed to the preservation of biodiversity.”

– Benoit Charette, Quebec Minister of the Environment and the Fight Against Climate Change

“The protection and preservation of Montreal's natural spaces are a source of wealth for all citizens and one of the means we have to fight climate change. For this reason, our administration has the ambition and responsibility to protect 10% of Montreal's natural territory and to increase the territory’s canopy to 25% in the coming years, figures that have been stagnating for far too long. To achieve these objectives, the federal government's commitment to nature and biodiversity is essential.”

– Valérie Plante, Mayor of Montréal

Quick facts

  • Canada is co-chair of the process leading to the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in China in 2020, which will bring together 190 countries to set nature goals for the next 10 years.

  • The world’s wildlife populations have declined 60% since 1970. In Canada, 500 species are at risk of extinction.

  • The Government of Canada is committed to doubling the protection of Canada’s lands and oceans. That means increasing the protection of land and freshwater to at least 17% of Canada’s total area, and increasing the protection of our oceans to at least 10%.

  • Budget 2018 announced the Government of Canada’s Nature Legacy initiative—a historic investment of $1.35 billion over five years to protect nature.

  • Canada is rich in natural resources and biodiversity and is home to one quarter of Earth’s boreal forests and wetlands.

  • Nature and biodiversity are at risk in Canada and around the world. In Canada alone, over 500 species are at risk.

  • The Government of Canada, in collaboration with the provinces and territories, has implemented a Pan-Canadian Approach to Transforming Species at Risk Conservation in Canada, which aims to shift focus from a single-species approach in conservation to a more multi-species and ecosystems-based approach in conservation efforts.

Associated links


Sabrina Kim
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change

Media Relations
Environment and Climate Change Canada
819-938-3338 or 1-844-836-7799 (toll-free)

Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Twitter page

Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Facebook page

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