Statement by Steven Guilbeault on the opening of COP15
December 6, 2022 – Montréal, Quebec
“The fight to protect nature has never been more important than it is right now. With a million species at risk of extinction around the world, COP15 is a generational opportunity to work together to halt and reverse biodiversity loss and create a nature-positive world.
“Our own human success as a species depends on it. All life on Earth does.
“In short, the scale of the biodiversity crisis facing us demands the same global focus and action as the climate crisis. And we have no time to lose.
“When we conserve or restore forests and wetlands, we help nature, and we help nature help us, by sequestering carbon, cleaning our water and air, and providing rich ecosystems for life.
“This is why Canada stepped in to host COP15 when the UN called—this conference is just too important to delay, and the clock is running.
“Canada also stepped up because we know Canada matters, and has an important contribution to make.
“Globally, Canada is home to 20 percent of the world’s fresh water, 24 percent of wetlands, 25 percent of temperate rainforest area, and 28 percent of the remaining boreal forest.
“We’re a big country, with big ambitions, and our Government has been taking big actions:
- more than $5 billion committed to nature action, with the two largest budgetary commitments in Canada’s history coming since 2018
- we’ve committed as a country to protect 30 percent of land and water by 2030
- we’re working in full partnership with our Indigenous peoples
“We also recognize our privilege, and our responsibility, as a country. That is why we have committed 20 percent of our $5.3 billion for international climate finance to supporting nature-based solutions abroad; it is why we committed to address harmful subsidies; and it’s why we continue to push for additional international nature finance.
“Through COP15, we will share Canada’s nature ambitions with the world. What does that mean?
“First, let’s all commit to halting and reversing the loss of nature.
“Second, we’re seeking a global commitment to conserve 30 percent of the world’s land and oceans by 2030, which scientific research shows is the minimum necessary to address the biodiversity and climate crises. More than 100 parties have already agreed, so let’s get the world on board.
“Third, we need to mobilize resources to achieve this from the government, the private sector, philanthropy, and multilateral institutions.
“And we must do all this in full partnership with Indigenous peoples.
“The next two weeks will not be easy. The road to success is long, and we have many views and opinions to hear and reconcile.
“But our common dependence on nature unites us all.
“We are all united by our deep connection with nature which guarantees our survival on this planet.
“Canada is committed to bringing all of our good faith, our continued commitment to action and progress, and our spirit of generosity and conciliation to these historic negotiations toward a Global Biodiversity Framework.”
Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change
Environment and Climate Change Canada
819-938-3338 or 1-844-836-7799 (toll-free)
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