Canada invests $11.3 million to increase biodiversity conservation in UNESCO biosphere reserves

News release

June 10, 2022 – Toronto, Ontario

All Canadians depend on nature for clean water to drink and air to breathe, food to eat, and quality spaces to enjoy outdoors. The rapid decline of biodiversity undermines the foundations of the Canadian economy, food security, health, and quality of life. Stopping biodiversity loss is vital in its own right, but it is also vital to protect species at risk; combat climate change; and rebuild a strong, sustainable economy.

Today, Julie Dabrusin, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources and to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, on behalf of the Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, announced that the Government of Canada will invest $11.3 million over three years from Canada’s Enhanced Nature Legacy to increase biodiversity conservation efforts in nineteen UNESCO biosphere reserves across Canada. These biosphere reserves range from Clayoquot Sound in British Columbia to Riding Mountain in Manitoba, Ontario’s Niagara Escarpment, the Manicouagan-Uapishka Biosphere Reserve in the Baie-Comeau region of Quebec, and New Brunswick’s Fundy Biosphere Reserve.

Over the next three years, partners will work together to restore, maintain, and enhance biodiversity conservation in the buffer zones—the areas surrounding the core protected areas—of each biosphere reserve. This investment will help the biosphere reserves continue their conservation work, which could include biodiversity research, documentation, and land management practices, as well as stakeholder engagement to increase awareness around other effective area-based conservation measures (OECMs) and Canada’s conservation goals. Ideally, they will achieve positive biodiversity outcomes equal to those of a protected area, and if they are successfully recognized as OECMs, they could be counted toward Canada’s conservation goals.

Moving forward, the Government of Canada will continue to work with conservation partners to identify additional opportunities to support biodiversity conservation. Investing in biosphere reserves is an example of bringing people and communities together to address the biodiversity crisis, support sustainable economic development, and foster healthy relationships with nature.


“Biosphere reserves are a model for how communities can connect with nature in healthier and more sustainable ways. They inspire and empower Canadians to work together to address global challenges such as biodiversity loss and climate change. By investing in Canadian biosphere reserves, we are advancing important conservation work in areas rich with cultural and biological diversity.”

– The Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change

“Today’s announcement is an example of the great things that can happen when the community comes together to support the environment. Biosphere reserves represent a deep dedication to sustainable development and nature conservation, and they set a standard for how people and nature can thrive together.”

– Julie Dabrusin, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources and to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change 

“This funding from Environment and Climate Change Canada demonstrates a pivotal chapter in the history of the network and of the Canadian Biosphere Reserves Association. To use the words from the biosphere reserves themselves, this is a chance to renew partnerships, enhance capacity within the organization, and create more biodiversity outcomes in Canada’s nineteen UNESCO biospheres.”

– Kate Potter, Executive Director, Canadian Biosphere Reserves Association

Quick facts

  • Biodiversity encompasses the interconnection between all living things, including human beings, and their relationships with each other.

  • Biosphere reserves are internationally designated areas that bring people together with nature in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way. They support the conservation of biodiversity and encourage people to learn about and take stewardship actions for sustainable development. 

  • Canada’s biosphere reserves are recognized by the UNESCO Man and the Biosphere Programme.

  • Each of the biosphere reserves in Canada has a variety of funding sources, including federal, provincial/territorial, and municipal government grants and donations from private foundations and individuals. 

  • There are currently 727 biosphere reserves in 131 countries that belong to the World Network of Biosphere Reserves. There are about 257 million people living in biosphere reserves worldwide. In Canada, over 2.5 million people live in biosphere reserves.

  • Buffer zones are the areas surrounding or adjoining the core area(s) that encourage activities compatible with sound ecological practices and can reinforce scientific research, monitoring, training, and education.

  • The Government of Canada has committed to conserving 25 percent of lands and inland waters in Canada by 2025, working toward 30 percent of each by 2030. Canada is also committed to working to halt and reverse nature loss by 2030 [in Canada] and to achieve a full recovery for nature by 2050. 

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Kaitlin Power
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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