Readout: Meeting of federal-provincial-territorial Ministers responsible for conservation, wildlife, and biodiversity – Federal-provincial-territorial Ministers commit to collaborative approach on renewed National Biodiversity Strategy


May 26, 2023 – Ottawa, Ontario

Federal, provincial, and territorial (FPT) Ministers responsible for conservation, wildlife, and biodiversity met in Ottawa, Ontario today, reaffirming their commitment to collaborating on shared objectives for the conservation and sustainable use of Canada’s biodiversity, in accordance with each government’s priorities and jurisdiction. 1, 2

In the lead-up to the 15th Conference of the Parties (COP 15) to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity, Ministers met in June 2021 to discuss ways to enhance collaboration on area-based conservation, anticipated contributions to the pending adoption of a new Global Biodiversity Framework, and the ongoing work under the Pan-Canadian Approach to Transforming Species at Risk Conservation in Canada. Significant progress has been made over the last two years, including announcements at COP15. This important work will continue, recognizing that globally, up to one million species are threatened with extinction and natural ecosystems have declined by 47 percent on average, with North America alone having lost nearly three billion birds in the last 50 years.   

This week, Ministers discussed how the Kunming-Montréal Global Biodiversity Framework, with its targets to halt and reverse biodiversity loss globally and protect thirty percent of land and water globally, could be implemented in Canada. Ministers examined barriers to accelerating progress for nature in Canada and opportunities to overcome those barriers. Mark Carney, Former Bank of Canada Governor and United Nations Special Envoy on Climate Action and Finance, joined Ministers for a discussion on how lessons learned in climate finance could be applied to achieving nature-positive outcomes.

Ministers agreed that implementing the new biodiversity targets and objectives will require meaningful collaboration among all levels of governments, including federal, provincial, territorial, and Indigenous governments and organizations. Inclusive engagement with all sectors of society is also important. Following the launch of federal consultations on Canada’s 2030 National Biodiversity Strategy earlier this month, Ministers agreed to collaborate in the coming year to develop the Strategy, building on over 25 years of collaboration since they jointly endorsed Canada’s first Biodiversity Strategy in 1995. The mission of the Global Biodiversity Framework is to halt and reverse nature loss by 2030. Ministers discussed the critical roles that federal, provincial, territorial, Indigenous governments and organizations, industry, and civil society will play in achieving these objectives in Canada as a part of a national strategy.

Science is clearer than ever before: protecting nature and biodiversity is advanced through activities such as increased area-based conservation. Ministers have heard the evidence that policies and other mechanisms are needed to support the long-term resilience of biodiversity. Building on innovative work such as the pan-Canadian One with Nature vision, and acknowledging the diversity of provincial and territorial approaches, Ministers discussed collective efforts to contribute toward achieving the protection of 30 percent of Canada’s land and water by 2030, understanding that it is central to success in addressing the current level of biodiversity loss.

Ministers discussed the importance of considering species and habitat protection and restoration, especially by lifting barriers for more effective action. They recommitted to collaborative work on the recovery for species at risk through focused efforts on priority places, sectors, and species. In this light, some Ministers discussed working toward the restoration of degraded lands and ecosystems in their jurisdictions to ensure resilience for nature and the vital benefits that it provides to Canadians’ livelihoods and well-being.

Ministers agreed that engaging, partnering, and working with Indigenous governments and organizations is critical. Continuing to embrace Indigenous knowledge and science as part of decision-making, and supporting Indigenous leadership and meaningful participation in conservation actions are essential. Indigenous peoples across Canada are actively leading efforts to protect and conserve areas of importance, including through Indigenous customs and knowledge systems. Promoting the recognition of Indigenous peoples’ responsibilities and priorities for the land, including through Indigenous-led area-based conservation, is an important element for advancing conservation objectives in Canada.

Canada is known for its rich biodiversity and extraordinary natural beauty and takes pride in playing a leadership role toward global nature recovery. Ministers look forward to the journey ahead, committing to contribute toward halting and reversing biodiversity loss by 2030 and to put nature on a path to recovery by 2050.

Ministers plan to meet again next year to review progress on these collaborative efforts.

1: Due to its ongoing election, Alberta did not attend or take a position on any of the issues discussed at the meeting.

2: Quebec participates in meetings of federal, provincial, and territorial ministers responsible for conservation, wildlife, and biodiversity as an observer, as it considers these matters to be essentially within its jurisdiction and does not adhere to FPT initiatives, approaches, or mechanisms discussed at these meetings. Quebec determines its own objectives in terms of wildlife and biodiversity conservation on its territory. However, it shares many of the objectives and concerns on these matters with other governments. The Government of Quebec has declared itself bound by the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and is committed to implementing it with its own policies and tools. In response to the adoption of the Kunming-Montréal Global Biodiversity Framework in Montréal by Parties to the CBD in December 2022, Quebec is developing the Nature Plan 2030, which will contribute to achieve the next global targets, including the conservation target of 30 percent of Quebec's territory.

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