Milestone document

About this Milestone document

This document is not the final version of Canada’s 2030 National Biodiversity Strategy. It is an interim version that lays out how the 2030 Strategy will be framed and reflects only existing programming and investments. The final 2030 Strategy will be available in 2024, prior to the sixteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity. The Government of Canada welcomes your feedback on this Milestone Document, including suggestions for tools, actions, and critical paths to include—broadly and/or for specific targets—to halt and reverse biodiversity loss and put nature on the path to recovery. Comments can be sent to nature2030@ec.gc.ca until February 9, 2024.

Executive summary

Nature is core to Canada’s national identity, is a source of pride, and is the foundation of our daily lives. Our economy, our health, and our ability to fight and adapt to climate change all rely on a healthy environment. First Nations, Inuit, and Métis cultures and spirituality are deeply rooted in relationship to all beings, and Indigenous Peoples have stewarded the lands, waters, and ice across Canada since time immemorial.

But the science is clear: nature is in trouble. Biodiversity is declining faster than at any time in human history. When we lose nature, we jeopardize the things we rely on and often take for granted: clean air and water, flood regulation, food security, pollination, and the foundation for much of our economy. Replacing the services nature provides with engineered solutions is often impossible or prohibitively expensive. Biodiversity loss also threatens the ability of Indigenous Peoples to exercise their constitutionally protected rights, including the rights to hunt, fish, and carry out traditional practices and ceremonies.

Urgent action is needed to halt and reverse biodiversity loss. The Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (KMGBF) provides an ambitious path forward for doing so at the global level. Canada’s 2030 National Biodiversity Strategy will chart a path for how Canada will implement the KMGBF.

The 2030 Strategy will build on existing initiatives in all regions and sectors across the country, recognizing that these efforts have not been and will not be enough, as biodiversity continues to decline in Canada. Harnessing the transformative change needed to halt and reverse biodiversity loss will require a whole-of-government, whole-of-society approach built on partnership and collaboration. It will require us to address the challenges that have held us back, rethink the paradigms and systems that led us to this crisis, and find new ways of doing things, of working together, and of financing our efforts. We will also need to embrace uncertainty, learning and adapting as we go.

A vision to 2050 will guide the transformative change we need: “Nature is healthy, thriving, and sustaining and enriching the lives of current and future generations, and all Canadians have re-established their relationship with and are honouring their responsibilities to nature.” Seven pillars will ensure our path to 2030 is transformative, inclusive, and evidence-based:

The 2030 Strategy will take a holistic approach, as each target is critical to the success of the whole. It will also outline how each target will be achieved in 23 implementation plans. To ensure accountability, progress will be measured through Canada’s Domestic Biodiversity Monitoring Framework.

It’s in our nature

Canadians care deeply about and are part of nature. Nature is integral to our identity, is a source of pride, has shaped our values, and sustains our way of living. We understand its importance: 96% of Canadians believe nature is important to their personal well-being (PDF). Indigenous Peoples have sustainably stewarded the lands, waters, and ice since time immemorial and are the first biodiversity protectors of this country.

“We” means all of us

The Milestone Document uses “we” and “our” to represent the full breadth of Canadian society (e.g., individuals, Indigenous Peoples, governments, other institutions and organizations, academia, the private sector, etc.), given that halting and reversing biodiversity loss demands a whole-of-government, whole-of-society approach.

Healthy, biodiverse ecosystems are vital in every facet of our daily lives and livelihoods. They provide us with food, clothing, shelter, clean air and water, and healthy soil; help protect us from floods, droughts, and heatwaves; sequester and store carbon; provide us with opportunities for recreation; support our health and well-being; form the cornerstone of important economic sectors (e.g., farming and ranching, forestry, fisheries, ecotourism); and much more. Nature also has inherent value in and of itself. Connection to the lands, waters, ice, plants, and animals is deeply rooted in First Nations, Inuit, and Métis cultures, spirituality, and knowledge systems that have been passed down for generations.

Our lives and well-being depend on nature physically, economically, culturally, and spiritually, and our interconnection and balance with the land, water, and all they sustain must be restored.

Canada is the second-largest country in the world. We are one of just five countries that together contain more than 70% of the world’s remaining wilderness. In addition, Canada is home to 20% of the world’s total freshwater, 25% of the world’s wetlands, 24% of the world’s boreal forests, the world’s longest coastline, and one of the world’s largest marine territories. Ecosystems in Canada are globally significant and include vast areas of wilderness. These ecosystems provide essential habitat for approximately 80,000 species.

The importance of biodiversity in Canada extends well beyond our borders, for example, helping to regulate the global climate, serving as a globally significant carbon sink, and providing important habitat for migratory birds. Similarly, the devastation of natural ecosystems in Canada (e.g., the record-setting 2023 wildfire season) can have significant impacts beyond our borders. And Canadians depend on goods and services provided by ecosystems outside of Canada. While Canada is home to significant biodiversity and natural areas, the vast majority of the world’s biodiversity is housed outside of our borders, including in developing countries. Action is needed in all parts of the world to address biodiversity loss.

Biodiversity: The variety of life on Earth

Biodiversity is the variety of all living things on Earth. It includes terrestrial and aquatic animals, plants, fungi, and bacteria, and the genetic diversity within them. These species interact with each other and the physical world around them to create ecosystems. All levels of biodiversity—genes, species, and ecosystems—create intricate webs of life that support life on Earth.

The privilege of living in a country endowed with such natural wealth comes with a responsibility to care for nature in a way that safeguards our collective well-being now and into the future. In delivering on our global responsibility, we have much to learn from First Nations, Inuit, and Métis about how to steward and maintain reciprocal relationships with and responsibilities to nature.

Canada matters, our biodiversity matters, and the commitments and actions in Canada’s 2030 National Biodiversity Strategy will be designed to be ambitious and make a difference both here at home and on the global scale.

Nature and health

Nature is a source of clean air and water, nutritious and diverse foods, opportunities for physical activity, protection from heatwaves and floods, among many other things. Our mental, physical, and spiritual health depend on a healthy environment. People who live in areas with access to green space tend to have better respiratory and mental health and lower risk of death from respiratory and cardiovascular diseases and cancer. The healthcare sector has come to recognize the important link between nature and human health, and across the country doctors are now able to prescribe time in nature (PaRx) to their patients. The current pace of extinctions, the encroachment of human activity in natural spaces, and the release of pollutants, emissions, and hazardous waste can affect everything from antimicrobial resistance to food safety and security, novel medicines research and development, increased pandemic risk, and overall health resilience.

Indigenous physical, mental, cultural, and spiritual health, livelihoods, and well-being are particularly hard hit by the loss of nature, as access to the land, cultural practices, and traditional foods and medicines are all important factors that influence health. Indigenous food systems are already being affected by biodiversity loss, with declining availability, accessibility, quantity, and quality of traditionally harvested foods, which play an important role in community and individual health and well-being. For example, Inuit living on Baffin Island have higher than average levels of mercury due to intake of traditional foods, such as ringed seal, caribou, and kelp.

A critical moment for nature

The widespread and increasingly rapid erosion of biodiversity happening around the world means that the course of action we follow now will have long-lasting implications for the health, diversity, and resilience of species and ecosystems, and by extension, our well-being. Future generations are at risk of inheriting an environment degraded by biodiversity loss, climate change, and pollution, jeopardizing their well-being. We have a small and quickly closing window of opportunity to undertake the urgent and transformative action needed to ensure a world where people and nature respectfully co-exist and thrive.

Aquatic species at risk

Canadian marine and freshwater environments are home to a diversity of aquatic species. The long-term stability, adaptability, and resilience of these species rely on healthy aquatic ecosystems. However, aquatic species at risk and their ecosystems continue to face threats. These include climate change, pollution, loss and degradation of habitat and spawning areas, eutrophication, invasive alien species, and adverse effects from some fisheries interactions (e.g., bycatch of non-target species, or entanglement and entrapment of whale, marine mammal, seabirds, or sea turtle species), as well as physical and acoustic disturbance generated by commercial and recreational vessels and vehicles and industrial activities. Continued and strengthened federal leadership, Indigenous-led conservation, and collaboration amongst all partners and stakeholders, including the public, are needed to ensure the greatest positive impact for biodiversity, including aquatic species at risk and those who depend on them.

Up to 1,000,000 species globally are threatened with extinction, and the condition and extent of natural ecosystems have declined by an average of 47% relative to their earliest estimated states. Canada is no exception to these trends. For instance, we have lost 80% of original wetlands in and around urban areas, and one-fifth of assessed species are at some level of risk of extinction in Canada.

Grasslands

Grasslands are one of the most threatened ecosystems in the world. Approximately 80% of Canada’s native prairie grasslands has been cultivated (PDF), primarily to produce annual crops such as wheat and canola. While a significant portion of the remaining native prairie is managed as provincial crown lands leased for grazing and haying purposes, much is on privately owned lands and conversion of remaining grasslands continues. This complex ecosystem provides important wildlife habitat, including for grassland birds, whose populations have declined in Canada by 57% since 1970 (PDF). Grasslands also store vast amounts of carbon. Grazing on native prairie grasslands is essential for their conservation, as grasslands require disturbances—including from properly managed ranching—to maintain ecosystem function. Initiatives currently underway to conserve grasslands include the Nature Conservancy of Canada’s Prairie Grasslands Action Plan; provincial efforts in Alberta and Saskatchewan to work with ranchers; efforts by governments, Indigenous and environmental groups to reintroduce bison to the landscape; the Strategic Conservation Framework for Species at Risk – Agricultural Sector (under the Pan-Canadian Approach to Transforming Species at Risk Conservation); Alderville First Nation’s efforts to restore the tallgrass prairie; and programs such as the federal Natural Climate Solutions Fund and the federal-provincial-territorial Resilient Agricultural Landscapes Program.

Multiple human drivers are significantly altering nature across the globe at an unprecedented rate. The 2019 Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) identified the five largest direct drivers of global biodiversity loss, which also impact biodiversity across Canada. In order of greatest to least impact, these are: land-use and sea-use change, invasive alien species, climate change, overexploitation of organisms, and pollution. The same report also shows that nature is declining less rapidly in Indigenous lands globally.

The triple crises of biodiversity loss, climate change, and pollution are intrinsically connected. Pollution, including chemicals and waste, can exacerbate the effects of climate change and other drivers of biodiversity loss. Many types of pollution are increasing (e.g., chemicals, plastics), as are their negative impacts on nature. For its part, climate change is projected to become an increasingly important driver of biodiversity loss, making climate change mitigation efforts crucial. But nature can be a powerful ally in the fight against climate change, both in terms of mitigation and adaptation. This could include using nature-based climate solutions (including natural infrastructure) or protecting high-integrity, carbon-rich ecosystems to benefit both nature and the climate.

There are also several indirect drivers, or underlying causes, of biodiversity loss that influence the direct drivers. These are underpinned by societal values and behaviours that include unsustainable production and consumption, subsidies that are harmful to biodiversity, and economic systems that do not reflect the true values of nature or respect a reciprocal and responsible relationship toward nature. The current structures and systems in place (e.g., colonial institutions, markets, global trade) often represent these indirect drivers of biodiversity loss, making fundamental, structural change—transformative change—essential.

Biodiversity loss threatens the many benefits that nature provides to people. These benefits are often mistakenly viewed as free, but many of them are prohibitively expensive or impossible to replace, such as with engineered solutions (e.g., water treatment facilities, sea walls, flood barriers). For example, a 250-metre naturalized channel in Oakville, Ontario, provides $1.24-$1.44 million in stormwater conveyance and storage annually (PDF). The loss of biodiversity also compromises the health and integrity of ecosystems and decreases species’ resilience in the face of growing threats, further jeopardizing their long-term survival and putting them at risk of extinction.

Wetlands and peatlands

Wetlands are some of the planet’s most vital ecosystems. They provide habitat for fish and wildlife, improve water quality by filtering pollutants, protect against floods, and store vast amounts of carbon. Peatlands in Canada store approximately 150 gigatonnes of carbon, making them the world’s largest peatland carbon stock and critical to mitigating climate change. But wetlands, including peatlands, are under threat from, for example, land-use change, urbanization, and climate change. Actions to conserve, restore, and enhance wetlands and peatlands are underway internationally and across Canada. For example, Canada has been a Party to the international Ramsar Convention on Wetlands since 1981 National efforts include the Nature Smart Climate Solutions Fund, work to conserve and restore wetlands and peatlands in places such as Canada’s national parks, and the North American Waterfowl Management Plan, which has secured over 9.5 million hectares of wetland and upland habitat across Canada. Others taking action include municipalities (e.g., the Wetland Replacement Program and goal of no net-loss in Strathcona County, Alberta), non-governmental organizations (e.g., Wildlife Conservation Society Canada’s peatland research), and Indigenous Peoples (e.g., Mushkegowuk Council’s peatland protection efforts), among others.

The costs of inaction are significant. For example, biodiversity loss can have a negative economic impact on industries that rely on nature, including through the reduction in biological resources, the spread of pests and diseases, wildland fires, and the loss of pollinators, which can lead to a decrease in harvests. By contrast, investing in conservation can result in economic benefits and innovation, such as local employment opportunities from protected and conserved areas.

There are also important consequences for human and animal health, such as reduced food security, new emerging diseases associated with wildlife and domesticated species, the loss of options for potential medicinal compounds, and mental health impacts. From a One Health perspective—the global consideration of human, animal, and environmental health—biodiversity loss will have a significant impact on the health of each component of this system.

The negative impacts associated with biodiversity loss are not distributed evenly across the country. Furthermore, certain groups of people are disproportionately impacted by the effects of biodiversity loss (e.g., rural communities, low-income communities), which can exacerbate existing inequity. Indigenous Peoples are more likely to experience the adverse effects of biodiversity loss, despite contributing least to the human drivers previously mentioned.

Halting and reversing biodiversity loss

The biodiversity crisis we are facing is a direct result of the many choices we make as individuals, as institutions, and as a society, such as how we plan and build our cities, produce our food, transport ourselves and our goods, extract resources, heat and power our homes and buildings, and more. There are signs of positive change in all sectors and regions across Canada; however, biodiversity loss continues. We must collectively do more, do it faster, and do it in new ways that challenge the status quo.

The Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (KMGBF – see Figure 1) provides an ambitious path forward for halting and reversing biodiversity loss by 2030. This landmark framework was adopted in December 2022 at the fifteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP15) to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). Canada served as the host location for this important event, which was the largest CBD COP to date, and played an integral role in the adoption of the KMGBF.

The United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)

The UN CBD entered into force in 1993 and has 196 Parties, including Canada. As an international legally binding treaty, the CBD commits the Parties to conserve biodiversity, use its components sustainably, and share the benefits arising from the use of genetic resources in a fair and equitable manner. Under the CBD, Parties are required to have a National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP) that outlines domestic efforts to advance the measures set out in the CBD.

Canada was the first industrialized country to ratify the CBD, acknowledging it as an important instrument for promoting and guiding efforts to conserve biodiversity and use biological resources sustainably. As further recognition of the importance of the CBD, Canada has hosted its Secretariat in Montreal since 1996.

Halting and reversing biodiversity loss means bending the curve on the freefall of nature and turning the tide toward recovery. It means the extent and health of our ecosystems are no longer declining, it means we are no longer losing species and their genetic diversity, and it means confronting the direct and indirect threats to biodiversity head-on and striving first to do no harm in decisions that affect nature. When we halt and reverse biodiversity loss, the bare minimum is no net loss of biodiversity, moving towards achieving net gain overall.

We have less than a decade to achieve the ambitious task of halting and reversing biodiversity loss, and Canada’s 2030 National Biodiversity Strategy will lay out a plan for how Canada will do that.

Figure 1 (See long description below)
Figure 1 – Overview of the 23 targets of the KMGBF (full target wording can be found in Annex 1)
Long description for Figure 1

This figure provides a high-level visual overview of the KMGBF’s three themes and the targets that fall under each of those themes. It consists of a circle divided into three parts, each part representing one of the three themes, which are then subdivided into the relevant targets (23 total) that fall under the theme in question. The breakdown is as follows: Theme 1 - Reducing threats to biodiversity. Targets 1 to 8 fall under this theme: 1) Reducing land- and sea-use change, 2) Restoration of degraded ecosystems, 3) Protect and conserve areas, 4) Halting species extinctions and reducing extinction risk, 5) Harvesting and trade of wild species, 6) Managing invasive alien species, 7) Reducing negative impacts of pollution on biodiversity, 8) Minimize impacts of climate change. Theme 2 - Meeting people’s needs through sustainable use and benefit-sharing. Targets 9 to 13 fall under this theme: 9) Management of wild species, 10) Agriculture, aquaculture, fisheries, and forests are sustainably managed, 11) Restore, maintain, and enhance nature’s contributions to people, including ecosystem functions and services, 12) Urban blue and green spaces, and 13) Fair and equitable sharing of genetic resources and Digital Sequence Information. Theme 3 - Tools and solutions for implementation and mainstreaming. Targets 14 to 23 fall under this theme: 14) Integrate biodiversity and its multiple values into policies, regulations, planning, and development, processes, and environmental assessments, 15) Integrate legal, administrative, or policy measures (e.g., disclosures) within business and financial institutions, 16) Encourage and enable sustainable consumption choices, 17) Establish, strengthen capacity for, and implement biosafety measures as set out in Article 8(g), 18) Identify, and eliminate, phase out or reform incentives, including subsidies, 19) Substantially and progressively increase the level of financial resources, 20) Strengthen capacity-building and technical and scientific cooperation, 21) Ensure data, information, and knowledge are accessible to decision makers, practitioners and the public, 22) Indigenous Peoples, and 23) Ensure gender equality.

Getting everyone involved

Managing biodiversity is a shared responsibility in Canada, and each jurisdiction and sector of society has its own unique values, priorities, geography, demographics, and economic realities that shape its conservation actions. Each one is well positioned to act independently or in collaboration in several key areas. The list below provides a snapshot of these areas, but is not meant to be exhaustive.

Provincial and territorial biodiversity strategies and commitments

Provinces and territories have their own strategies, legislation, and commitments to protect, conserve, and sustainably manage biodiversity within their jurisdictions. At COP15, Quebec announced its new Nature Plan 2030, backed by a historic $650 million investment, and the new Blue Fund backed by a $650 million budget associated with royalties on water usage to fund actions to protect water and aquatic ecosystems. Other provinces and territories are committed to developing a biodiversity strategy in the coming years or have a strategy currently in development that is intended to align with Canada’s 2030 National Biodiversity Strategy (i.e., Alberta, British Columbia, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia).

Provinces and territories are also integrating biodiversity considerations into other strategies, such as those focused on climate change and sustainable development. For example, Alberta’s Emissions Reduction and Energy Development Plan (2023) includes initiatives to support nature-based solutions, conservation outcomes, protected and conserved areas, and working landscapes. Prince Edward Island’s Climate Adaptation Plan (2022) includes actions related to surface water resources, coastal development and habitat, coastal hazards and nature-based solutions, climate-vulnerable species and habitats, and enhancements for trees and forests.

Provinces and territories are also working to conserve large tracts of land and water and contributing to Canada’s target to conserve 30% of land and waters by 2030. Several provinces and territories, such as British Columbia, Quebec, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Manitoba, have committed to conserving 30% of land by 2030. Nova Scotia was the first province to enact legislation on climate change and biodiversity targets: the Environmental Goals and Climate Change Reduction Act (2021) commits Nova Scotia to conserve 20% of land by 2030. Other notable initiatives include the Nunavut Land Use Plan, which is currently under development and has the potential to contribute up to 4% of Canada’s terrestrial area and 1% of marine area as conserved.

The Government of Canada is also in the process of working with provinces and territories to establish Nature Agreements that identify, advance, and support shared biodiversity priorities. The first Nature Agreement was signed with the Government of Yukon and announced at COP15. Since then, a Nature Agreement has been signed with Nova Scotia, and a tripartite Nature Agreement has been signed with British Columbia and the First Nations Leadership Council.

Provincial and territorial biodiversity strategies and commitments

Provinces and territories have their own strategies, legislation, and commitments to protect, conserve, and sustainably manage biodiversity within their jurisdictions. At COP15, Quebec announced its new Nature Plan 2030, backed by a historic $650 million investment, and the new Blue Fund backed by a $650 million budget associated with royalties on water usage to fund actions to protect water and aquatic ecosystems. Other provinces and territories are committed to developing a biodiversity strategy in the coming years or have a strategy currently in development that is intended to align with Canada’s 2030 National Biodiversity Strategy (i.e., Alberta, British Columbia, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia).

Provinces and territories are also integrating biodiversity considerations into other strategies, such as those focused on climate change and sustainable development. For example, Alberta’s Emissions Reduction and Energy Development Plan (2023) includes initiatives to support nature-based solutions, conservation outcomes, protected and conserved areas, and working landscapes. Prince Edward Island’s Climate Adaptation Plan (2022) includes actions related to surface water resources, coastal development and habitat, coastal hazards and nature-based solutions, climate-vulnerable species and habitats, and enhancements for trees and forests.

Provinces and territories are also working to conserve large tracts of land and water and contributing to Canada’s target to conserve 30% of land and waters by 2030. Several provinces and territories, such as British Columbia, Quebec, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Manitoba, have committed to conserving 30% of land by 2030. Nova Scotia was the first province to enact legislation on climate change and biodiversity targets: the Environmental Goals and Climate Change Reduction Act (2021) commits Nova Scotia to conserve 20% of land by 2030. Other notable initiatives include the Nunavut Land Use Plan, which is currently under development and has the potential to contribute up to 4% of Canada’s terrestrial area and 1% of marine area as conserved.

The Government of Canada is also in the process of working with provinces and territories to establish Nature Agreements that identify, advance, and support shared biodiversity priorities. The first Nature Agreement was signed with the Government of Yukon and announced at COP15. Since then, a Nature Agreement has been signed with Nova Scotia, and a tripartite Nature Agreement has been signed with British Columbia and the First Nations Leadership Council.

Partnerships and collaboration across jurisdictions and among all actors will be crucial to making progress. In addition, action to halt and reverse biodiversity loss must embrace a broad range of perspectives and values. Different communities see and value nature differently, and incorporating these different perspectives will ensure our efforts are robust, respectful, equitable, reflect the full diversity of Canadian society, and respect the rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Building on our successes and addressing outstanding challenges

We are not starting from scratch with the 2030 Strategy. It will build on previous initiatives developed to guide our domestic biodiversity efforts, including the 1995 Canadian Biodiversity Strategy, the 2006 Biodiversity Outcomes Framework, and the 2020 Biodiversity Goals and Targets for Canada. Our success in achieving the 2020 targets was mixed (see table at the end of Annex 1), and the 2030 targets raise the bar across the board, so even the 2020 targets we met will still require continued and even additional effort, while other areas will require an even greater effort.

We have a wide range of existing initiatives, strategies, tools (including legislation), and knowledge available, but these have been insufficient in halting and reversing biodiversity loss to date. Developing the 2030 Strategy is an opportunity to re-examine and reprioritize our existing efforts and fill gaps where new tools, approaches, and information are needed. While we must use our existing tools to their full extent, build on them, amplify and scale them up, refine them, and/or apply them in new ways, we must also be willing to let go of tools that are no longer serving us. And it is crucial that we develop new and innovative tools and approaches that we can use in driving transformative change, recognizing that we are in uncharted territory and cannot fully know what approaches we will need, and must therefore be willing to learn, adapt, and innovate as we go. We will need to pair our renewed and expanding suite of approaches with new knowledge and robust monitoring efforts so that we can understand how effective our actions are and what areas may need greater attention.

Federal investments in nature conservation in recent years will make an important contribution to halting and reversing biodiversity loss, including progress toward our goal of conserving 30% of our lands and oceans by 2030 (aka 30x30); species at risk identification, protection, and recovery; Indigenous leadership in stewardship and conservation; and efforts at the intersection of climate change mitigation and nature. Across the country, in all sectors and at all levels of government, there are numerous examples of successful or promising tools to build on and inspire new, innovative efforts. While it is impossible to list all of these tools and initiatives, some examples include:

Municipal leadership on halting and reversing biodiversity loss

While cities represent a relatively small portion of Canada’s total area, they are often located adjacent to places rich in biodiversity, such as coasts, river valleys, and lakeshores. Cities are under high development pressure, tending to grow into the surrounding areas, and their environmental impact can extend beyond their borders, contributing to air and water pollution, water diversion, and waste generation. As such, their impact on habitat can be significant and solutions to addressing these multiple threats must be holistic. Action is not only needed in large urban centres: many biodiversity reserves are located within or close to small municipalities, and enhanced planning to protect biodiversity in rural areas is crucial.

Many municipalities across Canada have made commitments to halt and reverse nature loss. For example, at COP15, Montreal invited cities to commit to taking tangible action to protect biodiversity. Over 61 cities from around the globe have signed the Montreal Pledge, including 23 Canadian cities. Several international cities, including Montreal, Vancouver, and Quebec City, also endorsed the Edinburgh Declaration, which recognizes the important role that local and subnational governments play and commits to implementing the KMGBF at the local level.

Municipalities are also demonstrating action through natural assets management (e.g., Grindstone Creek Watershed Natural Assets Management Project), innovative tools and financing (e.g., the Municipality Fund for Biodiversity, which more than 50 Quebec municipalities have joined), and certification schemes, such as Nature Canada’s Bird Friendly Cities. In addition, many municipalities have set urban tree cover goals (e.g., Toronto’s target to achieve 40% tree canopy cover by 2050, Montreal’s goal to plant 500,000 trees by 2030) and are making efforts to support action (e.g., Vancouver’s City Park Stewards program, Ottawa’s Urban Forest Management Plan). Many of these actions also contribute to mitigating and adapting to climate change, such as tree cover that reduces urban heat islands, protects against flooding caused by extreme downpours, shades buildings thereby reducing their energy consumption, and sequesters and stores carbon.

Despite all the good work underway, we have yet to turn the tide on biodiversity loss. To do that we will need to address several key challenges that have, to date, hampered our best efforts. These include:

The task ahead of us is complex and, in many cases, it will take time to see results. Science, information, monitoring, and knowledge sharing—including both western and Indigenous science—will allow us to understand the challenge, target our efforts, develop solutions, and track our progress.

Connections to other efforts

The 2030 Strategy will not be a standalone effort. It will both complement and be complemented by numerous other federal strategies and initiatives, such as those focused on climate change, waste and pollution, sustainable development, and reconciliation and Indigenous rights, among many others.

The 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan highlights nature-based solutions as one area of action that will help draw down emissions. The National Adaptation Strategy also includes nature and biodiversity as a key system for focusing efforts and embeds the notion of halting and reversing biodiversity loss in the overarching goal for nature and biodiversity. Furthermore, efforts to reduce pollution, including Canada’s comprehensive efforts to reduce plastic pollution and move towards a circular plastics economy, contribute to our nature goals.

Canada’s 2030 Agenda National Strategy seeks to create a shared vision of how Canada will implement the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and identify actions to accelerate the achievement of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at home and abroad. Each target in the KMGBF (and the eventual 2030 National Biodiversity Strategy) connects directly to at least one SDG, and many new targets align with the need to address social- and economic-driven impacts on equity and biodiversity. Similarly, the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy (FSDS) sets targets and performance measurements to further federal actions toward the achievement of the SDGs. The targets, implementation strategies, and short-term milestones from the 2022-2026 FSDS will strengthen the implementation of Canada’s 2030 National Biodiversity Strategy.

The Quality of Life (QoL) Framework for Canada outlines a rationale and approach for adopting a quality-of-life approach to government decision-making in Canada, and highlights that the natural environment is the foundation of human existence and impacts to nature pose a risk to livelihoods and well-being. The QoL Framework is supported by the cross-cutting lenses of sustainability and resilience and fairness and inclusion.

The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act Action Plan outlines a roadmap of actions Canada needs to take in partnership with Indigenous Peoples to implement the principles and rights set out in the UN Declaration, and to further advance reconciliation in a tangible way. The Action Plan includes measures specific to lands, territories, and resources, as well as to the environment, with the recognition that these measures are intertwined with others, such as self-determination, participation in decision-making, and economic and social rights.

The Sustainable Agriculture Strategy, currently in development, will complement the 2030 Strategy through its long-term vision and approach to agri-environmental issues aiming at advancing the sector’s sustainability.

Indigenous leadership in conservation

Indigenous Peoples have deep relationships and cultural connections with the lands, waters, and ice. They have successfully stewarded their environments since time immemorial and are leaders and experts in conservation, and have specific rights and capacity to determine how best to conserve biodiversity on their lands. In Canada, lands and waters that are stewarded or co-managed by First Nations, Inuit, and Métis have higher levels of biodiversity than protected lands without Indigenous co-management (PDF). Indigenous Peoples have an abundance of valuable knowledge and expertise related to biodiversity, conservation, and stewardship that has been accumulated and adapted over time.

Indigenous science

Indigenous science is a distinct, time-tested, and methodological knowledge system that can enhance and complement western science. Indigenous science is about the knowledge of the environment and of the ecosystem that Indigenous Peoples have. It is the knowledge of survival since time immemorial and includes multiple systems of knowledges, such as the knowledge of plants, the weather, animal behaviour and patterns, birds, and water, among others. Indigenous science represents the modern continuation of Traditional Knowledge, building on Traditional Knowledge in a modern context when applied to land stewardship, wildlife protection, species at risk, climate change impacts and adaptations, and prevention of wildfires, for example. The application of Indigenous science is crucial to guiding and informing the most effective methods to build the relationships that bridge, braid, and weave Indigenous and western science and knowledge systems to inform and enhance decision-making.

Indigenous worldviews typically do not consider humans as separate from nature, and Indigenous customary laws often include respect for the natural world and a sacred duty to maintain balance. Indigenous Peoples’ close connection to and interactions with the land, water, and ice create a biocultural landscape. However, conservation efforts in Canada in the not-so-distant past removed Indigenous Peoples from the lands and/or restricted their ability to carry out cultural practices, which caused harm to both Indigenous Peoples and the land. Other harmful systems and actions, including the residential school system, undermined Indigenous Peoples’ connections to the land and the transfer of knowledge over multiple generations. Under the 2030 Strategy, continuing efforts will be needed to address these harms and ensure that land and marine management activities—including those to establish and manage protected and conserved areas—enable the leadership, active participation, and self-determination of Indigenous Peoples. Doing so would have several benefits, including ensuring that cultural and traditional practices can be carried out and the rights of Indigenous Peoples are respected.

Healthy environments, clean air and water, and biodiversity allow Indigenous Peoples to continue practicing their social, cultural, land-use, self-government, and self-determination rights. Yet Indigenous Peoples are on the frontlines of biodiversity loss, climate change, and pollution, feeling their impacts both earlier than and disproportionately to many other Canadians. These impacts, such as the loss of species, negatively affect culture, language, and knowledge sharing, and disrupt traditional livelihoods, food security, and physical and mental health.

Indigenous Guardians

Indigenous Guardians are the eyes and ears on the ground in Indigenous territories. They monitor ecological health, maintain cultural sites, and protect sensitive areas and species. Guardians initiatives support Indigenous Peoples in protecting land, water, and ice in their traditional territories through on-the-ground, community-based, stewardship initiatives. Indigenous Guardians also promote social and community well-being through connections to the land and water, culture, language, intergenerational knowledge sharing, as well as through the development and maintenance of sustainable economies.

The First Nations National Guardians Network offers a First Nations-led mechanism to streamline funding for Guardians over time, and a way for Guardians to connect with one another to share best practices and accelerate capacity building. It will ensure that the number of successful Guardians initiatives continues to grow at a national scale, protecting ecosystems, species, and cultures for future generations and the benefit of all Canadians.

There is no path to achieving our 2030 targets without the expertise and leadership of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis, and transformative change must centre bold, Indigenous-led measures. Indigenous science—including creation stories, lived experience, and practices on the land—must be respected and honoured, must be bridged, braided, and woven with western science where appropriate and guided by Knowledge Holders, and ultimately must be respected in decision-making, policies, and land and marine management. In addition, there is a need to transform how research is done on Indigenous lands, moving past colonial approaches and advancing Indigenous self-determination in research to inform biodiversity decision-making (e.g., the National Inuit Strategy on Research).

Increased partnerships with Indigenous Peoples that respect land and water relationships are an opportunity to halt and reverse biodiversity loss in Canada, advance reconciliation, increase economic participation of Indigenous Peoples, and improve the quality of life and intergenerational transfer of knowledge for Indigenous Peoples. To that end, there is an opportunity for all levels of government to build on existing commitments and co-develop policies, programs, and land and marine management and decision-making processes with Indigenous Peoples that could impact Aboriginal and treaty rights, advancing reconciliation at the same time.

There are several successful models and programs that will play a central role in achieving these objectives, including:

Finally, it is important to recognize that while urgent action is needed to address biodiversity loss, we cannot ignore the fact that the social conditions and quality of life of most Indigenous communities are below national averages. Colonialism has led to (among other things) the deterioration of Indigenous Peoples’ relationship with nature and their lands, culture, and traditional practices. It is also responsible for socio-economic marginalization, displacement from lands and traditional territories, systematic discrimination, and intergenerational trauma. As such, meeting basic needs in Indigenous communities (e.g., housing, food security, clean drinking water) and addressing the ongoing effects of colonization must happen in parallel with addressing biodiversity loss. Recognizing these inequalities, Indigenous Peoples may need additional supports (e.g., funding, capacity) to participate in biodiversity initiatives.

The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (the UN Declaration) provides a roadmap to advance reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples by taking further steps to respect, recognize, and protect the human rights of Indigenous Peoples and address the wrongs of the past. Article 29.1 of the UN Declaration states that “Indigenous Peoples have the right to the conservation and protection of the environment and the productive capacity of their lands or territories and resources. States shall establish and implement assistance programmes for Indigenous Peoples for such conservation and protection, without discrimination.” The UN Declaration also has references to “free, prior, and informed consent” (FPIC) throughout, emphasizing the importance of recognizing and upholding the rights of Indigenous Peoples and ensuring their effective and meaningful participation in decisions that affect them, their communities, and territories.

In Canada, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act (UN Declaration Act) creates a framework to advance federal implementation of the UN Declaration in collaboration with Indigenous Peoples. The UN Declaration Act Action Plan (2023-2028), which will be periodically reviewed and updated, includes 181 measures that will play an important role in combatting systemic racism and discrimination, closing socio-economic gaps, and promoting greater equality for Indigenous Peoples. While several of the measures will be important to achieving our 2030 targets, some specific examples include measures related to continued support for Indigenous leadership in conservation (Measure 47) and in marine IPCAs (Measure 42), Indigenous science and knowledge in decision making (Measures 40, 48, 51, 97), Indigenous fishing rights and fisheries management (Measures 36-39), and management, governance, and decision-making about and activities in heritage places (Measures 35, 95, 96).

Developing the 2030 Strategy to date

To date, the federal government has undertaken a series of engagement activities to ensure that the 2030 Strategy will reflect the diversity of Canadian perspectives and that all Canadians will be able to take ownership of it and work collectively toward meeting our 2030 targets. Engagement efforts have taken the form of:

Several main themes emerged during the engagement period. These included the importance of integrated biodiversity and climate change action; Indigenous science and leadership; improved coherence across legislation, regulations, and policies; and the importance of a whole-of-government, whole-of-society approach. Other ideas that were highlighted included the importance of public education, communication, and ongoing engagement; the integration of the multiple values of nature in decision-making; accountability measures; incentives for sustainable practices in key productive sectors; new, creative funding mechanisms; and improved data collection, access, monitoring, and science. Some notable challenges that were raised included resolving the perceived trade-offs between sustaining biodiversity and economic development, addressing the impacts of climate change on biodiversity, establishing a whole-of-government approach, and ensuring adequate resources for implementation (financial, data, etc.). Additional details about the outcomes of the engagement sessions can be found in Annex 3.

It is important to note that engagement is not yet complete. The Government of Canada expects to conduct additional conversations in the first quarter of 2024, including with a broader group of Indigenous representatives. The government welcomes your views on this Milestone Document, particularly tools, actions, and critical paths to include—broadly and/or for specific targets—to halt and reverse biodiversity loss and put nature on the path to recovery. You can submit your input to nature2030@ec.gc.ca. The deadline for comments is February 9, 2024.

From vision to action: Achieving the 2030 targets

The 2030 Strategy will be a promise and a map: a promise to current and future Canadians, Indigenous Peoples, and the world, that we will ensure a just, nature-positive Canada, and a map for how we will collectively get there. However, we know the work does not stop in 2030. Achieving our 2030 targets is just a first step in reaching Canada’s long-term vision for 2050, which will serve as a guide for our actions:

Vision: Nature is healthy, thriving, and sustaining and enriching the lives of current and future generations, and all Canadians have re-established their relationship with and are honouring their responsibilities to nature.

This long-term vision is paired with a Canadian mission to 2030:

Mission: Working together to halt and reverse biodiversity loss and put nature on a path to recovery by taking urgent action to bring about transformative change for the benefit of all living things, including people.

While what we achieve is critically important, how we achieve it is just as fundamental. The pillars below will help ensure we do so in a way that is transformative, inclusive, and evidence based.

Figure 2 (See long description below)
Figure 2 – Elements of Canada’s 2030 National Biodiversity Strategy
Long description for Figure 2

This figure provides a high-level overview of the main elements of Canada’s 2030 National Biodiversity Strategy: the vision, mission, pillars, and areas of work (which are equivalent to the three themes of the KMGBF). The 2050 vision and 2030 mission span the diagram along the top. The vision is “Nature is healthy, thriving, and sustaining and enriching the lives of current and future generations, and all Canadians have re-established their relationship with and are honouring their responsibilities to nature.” The mission is “Working together to halt and reverse biodiversity loss and put nature on a path to recovery by taking urgent action to bring about transformative change for the benefit of all living things, including people.” Along the left side, the seven pillars are listed: 1) Recognizing, upholding, and implementing the rights of Indigenous Peoples and advancing reconciliation; 2) Committing to urgent, ambitious, and transformative action; 3) Ensuring a whole-of-government approach; 4) Fostering a whole-of-society approach; 5) Empowering on-the-ground action; 6) Using the best available science and knowledge; and 7) Applying an ecosystem approach and holistic perspectives. To the right of the pillars, the three themes of the KMGBF are listed, with sample federal initiatives for each one. Sample federal initiatives for reducing threats to biodiversity (targets 1-8): Commitment to 30x30, Bonn Challenge pledge, Pan-Canadian Approach to Transforming Species at Risk Conservation, Natural Climate Solutions Fund. Sample federal initiatives for meeting people’s needs through sustainable use and benefit-sharing (targets 9-13): Sustainable Agriculture Strategy, National Urban Parks program, One Health initiatives. Sample federal initiatives for tools and solutions for implementation and mainstreaming (targets 14-23): Census of Environment, Greening Government Strategy, National Framework for Environmental Literacy, Effects Management Framework.

Laying the groundwork for transformative change

Reaching our 2030 targets and working toward our 2050 vision will require transformative change, meaning we cannot simply rely on what we are already doing. While the work underway provides a good and promising starting point, transformative change will require a deep examination of our values, norms, and systems, including how nature is valued, how it is used and for what purposes, and how these decisions are made. It must also respect and centre the leadership of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis across Canada. Transformative change will inevitably have implications for the ways we live and work; however, the 2030 Strategy will be implemented in a way that ensures everyone benefits from these changes and nobody gets left behind.

“The transformative change needed in choosing the sustainable path requires the sustained commitment of actors at all levels. It also involves hard choices. Standard economic models view our choices as self-centred. There is growing evidence, however, that our preferences are affected by the choices of others – they are ‘socially embedded’. Since we look to others when acting, the necessary changes are not only possible, but are likely to be less costly and less difficult than often imagined.”
The Economics of Biodiversity: The Dasgupta Review

The 2030 Strategy will lay the groundwork for the transformative change needed, and one of the key measures will be to introduce a bill that would set out a statutory framework of accountability and transparency to deliver on KMGBF commitments. The statutory framework would be an important step toward implementing meaningful measures to stay on track, evaluate progress towards commitments and, where necessary, course correct through clear and accessible reporting. As noted previously, transformative change will require a truly whole-of-government approach that reconciles environmental, economic, and social mandates and that integrates biodiversity considerations into decision-making, where protecting and enhancing nature is not a nice-to-have but a must-have. The federal government can and must model leadership on this front, and is already starting to move the needle through the whole-of-government development of the 2030 Strategy.

An inclusive 2030 Strategy

Diversity is one of the foundations of Canadian culture and identity. Everyone has different perspectives on and relationships with nature. Everyone also benefits from its conservation—and, conversely, is impacted by its degradation or loss—in different ways. Diversity, equity, and inclusion are cross-cutting across the KMGBF, as meeting our 2030 targets will be impossible without the broad representation of different communities and Indigenous rights holders taking part in developing and implementing solutions. This is truly a whole-of-society challenge and it is crucial that people living in Canada see themselves reflected in the 2030 Strategy and feel welcomed and motivated to contribute their own unique skills, knowledge, and perspectives to its implementation. It will be important to ensure the full, effective, and equitable participation of those who have been underrepresented or traditionally not involved in biodiversity-related activities, including by working to remove systemic barriers to their participation. This includes Indigenous Peoples, women, 2SLGBTQI+ people, youth, people of colour, persons with disabilities, rural communities, and new Canadians, among others. These efforts must also extend to ensuring fairness and respect in decision-making so that no one voice or worldview drives decisions about biodiversity conservation and sustainable use.

It is important that the benefits from implementing the 2030 Strategy are distributed equitably and do not reinforce existing inequalities (e.g., urban greening initiatives should not ignore lower-income communities). Likewise, any trade-offs must not consistently and disproportionately impact one community. To this end, all new federal initiatives under the 2030 Strategy will undergo a Gender-Based Analysis (GBA) Plus—as has been done with all existing federal initiatives since 1995—to evaluate how women, men, and gender-diverse people may experience those programs and policies. GBA Plus assessments are also intersectional, considering how other identity factors like age, race and ethnicity, sexual orientation, income, geography, and disability come into play. There will be a challenge in terms of monitoring and reporting on our progress, as existing data will need to be broken down, or new data gathered, to better reflect and report on those who are underrepresented or not traditionally involved in biodiversity-related activities.

Actions to reach our 2030 targets

The 2030 Strategy will implement all 23 of the KMGBF targets, matching the level of ambition of the KMGBF for all targets. It will lay out specific, practical actions to get us to 2030. The 2030 Strategy will be organized along the three themes of the KMGBF:

  1. Reducing threats to biodiversity (Targets 1-8) – efforts to address the direct drivers of biodiversity loss, including efforts to reach our 30x30 target.
  2. Meeting people’s needs through sustainable use and benefit-sharing (Target 9-13) – actions to ensure Canadians and Indigenous Peoples continue to benefit from the goods and services nature provides and that the benefits from the use of genetic resources are fairly and equitably shared.
  3. Tools and solutions for implementation and mainstreaming (Targets 14-23) – cross-cutting efforts to ensure we have the tools, knowledge, resources, and participation needed to succeed across all targets.

While the 2030 Strategy will take into consideration the important work already underway, enhanced action across all levels of government and all segments of society, including new approaches, will be needed to ensure our broad success, as relying solely on existing measures would not fulfill the promise of ambitious and transformative action. Areas to focus on for enhanced action include:

The KMGBF targets represent an integrated package where each target is critical to the success of the whole. Addressing targets in isolation will be inefficient and ineffective; rather, a holistic approach that advances multiple priorities in parallel, maximizes co-benefits, and navigates any trade-offs, is required. Several factors will help us achieve a holistic approach to implementation. Clear governance mechanisms can help ensure a coordinated approach across the federal government and more broadly. In addition, fully integrating biodiversity into decision-making within and across all levels of government and across all sectors of society (Target 14) will also be critical. And targeting actions that will advance multiple targets simultaneously will contribute to an integrated approach.

To chart a path to success across all 23 targets, draft target-specific implementation plans have been developed (Annex 1). These plans cover what success will look like for each target, the importance of each target in a Canadian context, and a preliminary outline of how the target will be achieved, including notable existing initiatives and key gaps to address.

The implementation plans note where a particular target’s success is tied to progress on other targets, or where there are trade-offs to consider. For example, action on Targets 1 (spatial planning), 2 (restoration), and 3 (protected and conserved areas) will support and enhance one another. Integrating biodiversity into spatial planning processes creates opportunities for habitat protection, enhanced connectivity, and the restoration of degraded land, which in turn supports wildlife recovery (Target 4). In terms of trade-offs, examples include using pesticides to manage invasive alien species (IAS – Target 6), which could undermine action on pollution reduction (Target 7); balancing the need to improve ecosystem connectivity (Targets 1-3) while also preventing the spread of IAS; and achieving our 30x30 target (Target 3) while also ensuring economic sectors are sustainable, competitive, and productive (Target 10).

Additional information regarding specific measures will be included in the final 2030 Strategy when it is released in 2024.

Measuring our progress

Monitoring holds us responsible and accountable for our actions. It allows us to know what actions are helping halt and reverse biodiversity loss and where we need to adjust. Measuring the state of biodiversity supports evidence-based decision-making, and it allows for more transparent accounting and reporting of the time, funds, and effort invested in biodiversity conservation against the benefits achieved.

All parties to the CBD must report on their progress toward the four goals and 23 targets of the KMGBF in 2026 and 2029, using the KMGBF monitoring framework’s indicators. The KMGBF monitoring framework includes 26 headline indicators that are part of the minimum that must be reported on by each country. Some headline indicators are still under development at the international level, as are additional international indicators that will be incorporated into the Domestic Biodiversity Monitoring Framework (DBMF) once developed. This is the first time the CBD has established and required standardized indicators.

What is an indicator?

Biodiversity indicators are used to measure and monitor a particular aspect of the state of biodiversity. They provide us with a signal when what we are looking at is too large or complex to fully measure. For example, bird populations that rely on grassland habitats can tell us about the extent and health of the grasslands themselves. Indicators are an important tool in evaluating whether actions taken to conserve biodiversity are achieving their desired results and whether sufficient progress is being made.

It is important to note that indicators outlined in the KMGBF monitoring framework are not intended to tell the full story about a target. Canada has identified additional domestic indicators to help measure our progress in meeting the key aspects of each target, some of which will be relevant to several targets given the integrated nature of the 2030 Strategy.

Currently, the DBMF is composed primarily of federal monitoring initiatives. However, monitoring frameworks and programs from all levels of government in Canada, as well as civil society, are necessary to complement and reinforce federal monitoring actions. This will allow a fuller understanding of the state of biodiversity and the effectiveness of our actions across the wide range and scales of biodiversity in Canada.

Domestic Biodiversity Monitoring Framework (DBMF)

The DBMF is Canada’s monitoring framework that will be used to determine whether Canada is on track to meet the goals and targets of the KMGBF. It outlines a list of indicators for each target, drawn from the Monitoring Framework for the KMGBF and complemented by domestic indicators. See Annex 2 for the full DBMF.

The current indicators are based on western science. Indigenous science provides an equally valid and important way to understand and report on nature, and will be part of how we monitor biodiversity in Canada. Incorporating Indigenous science will require listening to and following the lead of groups and individuals, including National Indigenous Organizations, Elders, and Knowledge Holders, among others, recognizing that Indigenous science is place-based and distinctions-based, with First Nations, Inuit, and Métis each having their own unique protocols, teachings, cultures, and perspectives.

All the indicators, methodologies, and types and sources of required information and data will be contained in the DBMF (see a high-level version in Annex 2). The framework is intended to be feasible to implement, to stand up to examination against the best available knowledge, and to hold Canada accountable at the domestic and international levels.

Finalizing Canada’s 2030 National Biodiversity Strategy

As work continues to finalize the 2030 Strategy and the preliminary implementation plans laid out in this Milestone Document, the federal government would appreciate your feedback on how the 2030 Strategy is shaping up so far, such as on how it is being framed, whether anything is missing, and whether there are any gaps to fill or opportunities to seize to ensure our collective success. Your ideas for tools, actions, and critical paths to include—broadly and/or for specific targets—to halt and reverse biodiversity loss and put nature on the path to recovery are also appreciated.

Comments can be sent to nature2030@ec.gc.ca until February 9, 2024. The federal government will be continuing targeted engagement efforts in the first quarter of 2024, and will use the results of this engagement, along with the written feedback received, to finalize the 2030 Strategy for release prior to COP16.

Annex 1: Preliminary individual target implementation plans

Preliminary target-specific implementation plans have been developed to begin laying out a map to successful implementation of all 23 targets of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (KMGBF). For each target, these plans describe a vision of success, why the target matters, and a preliminary outline of how the target will be achieved. These preliminary implementation plans capture only existing programs and policies, with additional details to follow in the final version in 2024. The alignment of each target with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, as well as with the previous 2020 Biodiversity Goals and Targets for Canada, is laid out in two summary tables at the end of this annex.

Canada will be largely adopting each target as-is from the KMGBF, recognizing that the suite of targets represents a holistic package, with each one being critical to the overall goal of halting and reversing biodiversity loss. In some cases (for example, the collective resource mobilization goals of Target 19), targets do not have a direct Canadian equivalent, only a global number, which Canada will contribute to. But in all cases, the targets will be adopted with the full ambition of the KMGBF.

There is an important consideration to note regarding the target language in the KMGBF for the purposes of Canada’s 2030 Strategy. While “indigenous peoples and local communities” is used throughout the CBD and the KMGBF to account for regional differences, in the Canadian context, “Indigenous Peoples” have specific and distinct rights as recognized and affirmed in Section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982. The Government of Canada further recognizes that Indigenous Peoples have distinct rights as set out in the UN Declaration, which states that “respect for Indigenous Knowledge, cultures and traditional practices contributes to sustainable and equitable development and proper management of the environment.” The UN Declaration Act affirms the UN Declaration as a universal human rights instrument with application in Canadian law and provides a framework for its implementation by the Government of Canada. In Canada, “local communities” does not exist as a formal or legal term, and local communities do not have rights comparable to those of Indigenous Peoples. As such, Canada’s 2030 Strategy will highlight Indigenous Peoples.

Additional implementation plan details will be included in the final version of the 2030 Strategy to be released in 2024, and will be informed by written submissions and targeted engagement taking place in the first quarter of 2024.

Target 1: Spatial planning and effective management

Target 1: “Ensure that all areas are under participatory integrated biodiversity inclusive spatial planning and/or effective management processes addressing land and sea use change, to bring the loss of areas of high biodiversity importance, including ecosystems of high ecological integrity, close to zero by 2030, while respecting the rights of indigenous peoplesFootnote 1  and local communities.”

Note: In the Canadian context, “Indigenous Peoples” have specific and distinct rights, whereas “local communities” does not exist as a formal or legal term. As such, Canada’s 2030 Strategy highlights Indigenous Peoples. For a more in-depth explanation, please refer to the Annex 1 introductory text.

What we are aiming for by 2030

For Canada, meeting Target 1 will mean applying spatial planning—a term used broadly here, to include land-use planning, marine spatial planning (MSP), and other effective management processes—to our entire territory by 2030, to avoid the loss of biodiversity, and achieve other social, economic, and ecological outcomes. Spatial planning must be participatory, integrate biodiversity considerations, and respect the rights of Indigenous Peoples. Target 1 supports, and benefits from, the actions and efforts for many of the KMGBF targets, including protected and conserved areas (Target 3), which provide an important contribution to Target 1.

Why this target matters

Participatory, integrated biodiversity-inclusive spatial planning offers a way to consider land- and sea-use change at appropriate geographic scales, while respecting the rights of Indigenous Peoples. It supports management decisions that can benefit wildlife and people as it considers a range of human activities, including potential conflicts among different uses, to ensure the diversity of species and ecosystems can persist and thrive. Target 1 addresses “all” areas, recognizing that biodiversity outcomes cannot be achieved through protected and conserved areas alone. Canada has an important role at the global scale to preserve ecosystems of high ecological integrity, including our arctic ecosystems and vast intact forests. Integrating biodiversity into spatial planning will support success on other targets (e.g., 2, 3, 4, 6) and provide an opportunity to further advance Canada’s actions to respect the rights of Indigenous Peoples. It also provides greater certainty to support sustainable use and the development of sustainable economies.

How we will achieve the 2030 target

Spatial planning processes are underway in many terrestrial and marine areas across Canada. Examples include the Nunavut Land Use Plan, regional land-use plans in Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Yukon, and British Columbia and other jurisdictions, as well as Canada’s advancement of MSP in five marine areas. These provide a solid foundation, yet they also often reflect decades of effort. Participatory spatial planning has proven to take time and may be ineffective if rushed.

Advancing spatial planning in “all areas” in just six years presents a considerable challenge and will mean:

The 2023 Recommended Nunavut Land Use Plan (NLUP), if approved, will provide a significant contribution to Target 1 (Nunavut represents 21% of Canada’s terrestrial area and about 26% of its marine area) and serves as a positive example. The NLUP has been collaborative, deeply participatory, and protects traditional uses. The plan covers the entire territory of Nunavut, including marine and coastal regions.Footnote 2  Its five goals address both development and biodiversity needs and it explicitly takes into account the needs of a number of culturally important species.

A first step in the retention of areas of high biodiversity importance is their identification. Monitoring can tell us if changes occur and we need the ability to respond quickly to threats to limit losses and initiate restoration when necessary.

Target 2: Ecosystem restoration

Target 2: “Ensure that by 2030 at least 30% of areas of degraded terrestrial, inland water, and marine and coastal ecosystems are under effective restoration, in order to enhance biodiversity and ecosystem functions and services, ecological integrity and connectivity.”

What we are aiming for by 2030

By achieving Target 2, degraded ecosystems on both public and private lands will be improved, with at least 30% of degraded areas under effective restoration, putting nature on the path to recovery. Restored areas will support better connectivity and the provision of ecosystem services. Restoration efforts and considerations will be incorporated in land-use planning and resource management decisions. Stronger restoration-focused partnerships and strengthened collaboration will create a greater sense of collective ownership and responsibility. Research and innovation will play a pivotal role, with adaptive management continuously improving restoration strategies and outcomes.

Why this target matters

Canada represents a vast area (land, freshwater, sea), with large natural ecosystems. However, there are areas that are heavily affected by human activities and are experiencing increasing development pressure. While avoiding land conversion and preventing degradation is more effective and cost efficient for biodiversity conservation, restoration is the mechanism to improve ecosystems once they have been degraded. Ecosystem restoration is a powerful nature-based approach to improve degraded areas, reverse impairment of ecosystem functions by halting and reversing degradation, create conditions more favourable to native species and species at risk, support adapting to and mitigating climate change impacts, and improve the resilience of ecosystems. Restoration can enhance ecosystem services, and protect and improve the livelihoods of people who depend on local ecosystems. Restoration can assist in meeting several other targets, including but not limited to Targets 1, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 11, 12, and 22.

How we will achieve the 2030 target

Canada is a global leader in ecosystem restoration and an active advocate for restoration in the international community. For example, Canada was the first country to develop principles and guidelines for ecological restoration in its protected natural areas, which later formed the basis for the first global guidelines on restoration. Efforts to achieve Target 2 will build on past successes and current efforts and commitments, such as Canada’s pledge to bring 19 million hectares of degraded and deforested landscapes under restoration by 2030 under the Bonn Challenge. Some of the Government of Canada’s funding programs that will contribute to Target 2 implementation include the Aquatic Ecosystems Restoration Fund to help restore aquatic ecosystems and mitigate human impacts on Canadian coastal and marine environments and the Natural Climate Solutions Fund to reduce the effects of climate change through conserving, restoring, and enhancing terrestrial ecosystems. The North American Waterfowl Management Plan to restore and protect waterfowl populations and associated habitats across North America through regional, national, and international partnerships between the USA, Mexico, and Canada will also be key.

Achieving Target 2 will require an approach that focuses on:

Restoration required by legislation to counterbalance degradation will not be included as contributing to the Target 2 indicator, as it does not advance biodiversity conservation but attempts to maintain a zero net loss of biodiversity.

Target 3: Protected and conserved areas (30x30)

 

Target 3: “Ensure and enable that by 2030 at least 30 percent of terrestrial and inland water, and of coastal and marine areas, especially areas of particular importance for biodiversity and ecosystem functions and services, are effectively conserved and managed through ecologically representative, well-connected and equitably governed systems of protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures, recognizing indigenous and traditional territories, where applicable, and integrated into wider landscapes, seascapes and the ocean, while ensuring that any sustainable use, where appropriate in such areas, is fully consistent with conservation outcomes, recognizing and respecting the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities, including over their traditional territories.”

Note: In the Canadian context, “Indigenous Peoples” have specific and distinct rights, whereas “local communities” does not exist as a formal or legal term. As such, Canada’s 2030 Strategy highlights Indigenous Peoples. For a more in-depth explanation, please refer to the Annex 1 introductory text.

What we are aiming for by 2030

By 2030, Canada will have well-connected, equitably governed, ecologically representative protected and conserved areas covering at least 30% of its terrestrial and marine areas. These places will be effectively managed through various conservation approaches, management planning, monitoring, reporting, and risk-based enforcement, and will integrate ecological connectivity and corridors. This work will advance reconciliation through Indigenous leadership in conservation and will support the implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act and Action Plan, supporting and advancing Indigenous-led conservation and Indigenous co-management of areas.

Why this target matters

As the steward of large amounts of ecologically important areas, Canada has an opportunity to show global leadership in protecting and conserving nature. Conserving natural areas helps safeguard the species in a particular area, and their genetic diversity and ability to adapt in turn provides resilience to environmental changes. The ecological benefits from effectively managed and well-connected networks of protected and conserved areas include enhanced ecosystem composition, structure, and function; increased biodiversity; and greater ecosystem resilience to human and climatic stressors. Protecting our oceans supports the climate resilience of sensitive ocean habitats and provides a safe haven for biodiversity, including at-risk species. Addressing declines in ocean health and loss of marine biodiversity will require an ecosystem approach that promotes conservation and sustainable use to support healthy and resilient Indigenous and coastal communities.

Protected and conserved areas provide economic benefits, such as tourism opportunities, local employment, and infrastructure in Indigenous communities. Socio-cultural benefits include the preservation of cultural and historical sites; protection of resources for food, medicines, and social and ceremonial harvesting; maintenance of Indigenous stewardship roles and responsibilities; and strengthened community awareness, relationships, and connection to nature. Restoring Indigenous stewardship practices can re-establish ecological balance and improve ecosystem resilience.

Target 3 will contribute 30% to the achievement of Target 1. The connectivity and integration of protected networks with the wider landscape and seascape will be supported through planning under Target 1. Opportunities also exist to contribute to achieving Targets 2, 4, 12, and 22.

How we will achieve the 2030 target

As of December 2022, 13.6% of Canada’s terrestrial land and freshwater, and 14.7% of its marine and coastal areas, had been conserved. To reach 30%, Canada will continue to leverage existing programs to identify, establish, and manage a diverse portfolio of protected and conserved areas. Multiple additional areas are being advanced for protection under existing federal programs (e.g., Enhanced Nature Legacy, Marine Conservation Targets), as well as through provincial and territorial initiatives.

By identifying Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs) and other important areas, and promoting their consideration in planning, we are collectively building knowledge to support conservation decision-making. Tools are also being advanced to leverage conservation co-benefits and support connectivity, and continued actions will be needed to support connectivity and corridors between protected and other areas of core habitat.

The qualitative elements of this target include effective management, which is critical for long-term nature conservation and climate change adaptation (e.g., by supporting healthy populations and ecosystems) and mitigation (e.g., by restoring and/or protecting systems that contribute to carbon storage). Effective management includes management planning, resource management and restoration activities, monitoring, compliance and enforcement, and reporting. It requires appropriate consideration of western and Indigenous science, only when the latter is authorized by Indigenous Knowledge Holders. It must also consider climate change and ecological connectivity.

Recognizing Other Effective Area-based Conservation Measures (OECMs) will be key to achieving this target. These areas are a form of conservation in action and are places that are achieving outcomes for the conservation of biodiversity, while also being used for other purposes. Indigenous-led conservation, including IPCAs, is also at the forefront of efforts to advance self-determination and reconciliation, while making important contributions to conservation.

Under the Pathway initiative for terrestrial protected and conserved areas, federal, provincial, territorial, Indigenous, parks, and municipal partners and beyond will continue to advance efforts outlined in the One with Nature report. The Pathway initiative continues to provide a model of how partners can work together. In addition, the establishment of Nature Agreements with provinces and territories represents a continued opportunity to remove barriers, find shared nature conservation goals, and help to align and coordinate approaches and priorities, with a strong focus on Target 3. These agreements also require the full support and/or participation of Indigenous partners.

Decisions about which sites to pursue for conservation, and which tools to use, will continue to be made in consultation with partners and stakeholders, and will be based on western and Indigenous science, and strong socio-economic analysis. Establishment and effective management processes will continue to recognize the rights and roles of Indigenous Peoples. Canada is a world leader in promoting Indigenous-led conservation as a tool to meet conservation objectives.

Target 4: Species recovery 

Target 4: “Ensure urgent management actions to halt human induced extinction of known threatened species and for the recovery and conservation of species, in particular threatened species, to significantly reduce extinction risk, as well as to maintain and restore the genetic diversity within and between populations of native, wild and domesticated species to maintain their adaptive potential, including through in situ and ex situ conservation and sustainable management practices, and effectively manage human-wildlife interactions to minimize human-wildlife conflict for coexistence.”

What we are aiming for by 2030  

By 2030, Canada will have implemented decisive measures to halt species loss and drive progress for the recovery of species at risk (SAR). Canada will reduce threats to SAR listed under federal law and their habitat, towards achieving their recovery and conservation. Additionally, the genetic diversity of wild and domesticated species found in Canada will be characterized and protected by in situ and ex situ conservation. These efforts will also include the effective management of human-wildlife interactions to minimize conflicts and foster coexistence. Coordinated local-level solutions and actions will be grounded in western and Indigenous science, and in perspectives across all jurisdictions, industry sectors, and private landowners, and will support timely and effective decision-making.

Why this target matters 

The long-term stability, adaptability, and resilience of ecosystems—and the benefits they provide to people—rely on healthy and stable populations of species. In addition, food security and sustainable agriculture depend on genetic diversity of domesticated animals, plants, and their wild relatives. Effectively minimizing and avoiding human-wildlife conflicts ensures wildlife and people can co-exist sustainably. Many species have strong cultural and spiritual values for Indigenous Peoples, and Canadians in general. Globally, about one million species are currently threatened with extinction. At the national level, of the 24,483 species ranked by the Wild Species 2020 report, one in five faces some level of risk in Canada. In addition to losing species through extinction, the resilience and adaptability of species are put at risk by decreasing genetic diversity. The conservation and sustainable use of native genetic resources is impossible if they are lost. Target 4 intersects with other targets, including 2, 3, 5, 6, 8-14, 18, and 21.  

How we will achieve the 2030 target 

While progress is being made, further efforts for the conservation and recovery of species (including SAR) in Canada will be required to reach our objectives. Species recovery is complex and is impacted by many factors, including habitat degradation, environmental contamination, invasive alien species, over-harvesting, and climate change. Species recovery takes time and requires innovation, sustained effort, and mobilization and coordination across the landscape/seascape for true success.

The establishment of Nature Agreements with provinces and territories is one of the key mechanisms to increase shared ambitions on conservation outcomes, including contributing to protection and recovery goals for SAR and migratory birds. These agreements will provide an opportunity to integrate and coordinate approaches to species recovery while aligning provincial, territorial, and federal priorities, with full participation of Indigenous partners.

The continued implementation of legislative tools related to SAR by all levels of government, as well as activities to conserve migratory birds, whales, and fish, will be foundational to achieving Target 4. The Government of Canada will continue to assess and list SAR to ensure that they can benefit from the regulatory instruments and obligations offered under SARA. The identification and listing of SAR allows for recovery planning and implementation by outlining the species’ habitat needs, threats, and recovery objectives, allowing for more focused management and conservation actions. It also affords automatic protections for individuals and their residences, and ensures that activities affecting listed SAR are governed through a national SARA authorization program that is consistent with conservation and recovery objectives. The focus on regulatory compliance by implementing SARA within Canada sets the stage for more focused management actions through regulatory, stewardship, and funding initiatives supporting the future of Canada’s biodiversity.

Integrated multi-species initiatives such as the Pan-Canadian Approach to Transforming Species at Risk Conservation in Canada, the Framework for Aquatic Species at Risk Conservation, and the Enhanced Nature Legacy initiative foster collaboration between partners, supporting recovery actions beyond what would be possible by any single government, community, or stakeholder.

Complementary initiatives under the Fisheries Act, the Oceans Act, the Canada National Parks Act, and the Migratory Birds Convention Act, including the Oceans Protection Plan, the Whales Initiative, and the Pacific Salmon Strategy Initiative are also supporting wildlife conservation and species recovery. They represent concrete actions to halt human-induced extinctions and reduce the extinction risk to species.

Maintaining and restoring genetic diversity of wild and domesticated species will be supported by ex situ conservation, including through various gene banks, as well as efforts further described in Target 13. Human-Wildlife Co-existence Programming initiatives are also being used to manage human-wildlife interactions and minimize conflict.

More broadly, achieving this target will require efforts across several areas:

Target 5: Exploitation of species / wild species harvesting, use, and trade 

Target 5: “Ensure that the use, harvesting and trade of wild species is sustainable, safe and legal, preventing overexploitation, minimizing impacts on non-target species and ecosystems, and reducing the risk of pathogen spillover, applying the ecosystem approach, while respecting and protecting customary sustainable use by indigenous peoples and local communities.”

Note: In the Canadian context, “Indigenous Peoples” have specific and distinct rights, whereas “local communities” does not exist as a formal or legal term. As such, Canada’s 2030 Strategy highlights Indigenous Peoples. For a more in-depth explanation, please refer to the Annex 1 introductory text.

What we are aiming for by 2030

By 2030, collective efforts will have ensured that the use, harvesting, and trade of Canadian wild species is sustainable, safe, and legal, preventing overexploitation and minimizing impacts on non-target species. They will also have ensured an adaptive management framework that applies the ecosystem approach is in use, and that customary use by Indigenous Peoples is respected and protected.

Why this target matters

The significant impacts of historic, unsustainable harvest on some wild species in Canada have prompted the development of, or updates to, modern conservation and management legislation, including federal legislation such as the amended Fisheries Act (2019) and Migratory Birds Convention Act. While the harvesting of wild species has been part of Indigenous Peoples’ ways of living for millennia, it has been (and continues to be) sustainable and has not contributed to overexploitation. Approximately one-third of First Nations (living off reserve) and Métis, and two-thirds of Inuit, participated in hunting, fishing, or trapping activities in recent years. Similarly, between one-quarter and one-half of Indigenous Peoples reported gathering wild plants or berries, demonstrating the importance of wild species in meeting nutritional needs and food security. The customary use of wild species is protected by Aboriginal and Treaty rights, which are recognized and affirmed by Section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982. Modern treaties, comprehensive land claims, and final agreements also recognize the rights of Indigenous Peoples to harvest wild species. Canada’s coastal communities also depend substantially on fishing and the ecosystems that support fish stocks, whether the fish are harvested for commercial, recreational, food, social, or ceremonial purposes. Progress towards this target will directly contribute to Targets 4, 6, 9, 10, and 11.

How we will achieve the 2030 target

Robust management practices by federal, provincial, and territorial governments, including regulations and enforcement, have proven to be effective in addressing overharvesting, but continued actions to mitigate the risks associated with overexploitation are required. Going forward, in consultation and collaboration with Indigenous Peoples, actions to achieve Target 5 will build on existing initiatives, and more details are available in the Target 9 implementation plan.

Fisheries: Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) implements the Sustainable Fisheries Framework (SFF), a set of policies that aims to ensure that Canada’s federally managed fisheries are sustainable, support economic prosperity in coastal areas and fishing communities, promote sustainable harvesting critical to the livelihoods of Indigenous Peoples, and apply a precautionary approach to fisheries management. DFO continues to implement the SFF in more fisheries and on more key fish stocks. DFO is also committed to increasingly employ an Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries Management (EAFM), which promotes a sustainable, economically viable, internationally competitive fishing industry that is responsive to climate change and other ecosystem-level changes on fish stocks. DFO is currently developing an implementation plan to support the application of EAFM. While EAFM has been and remains a departmental direction, it has yet to be undertaken comprehensively or systematically across federally managed fisheries. Changes in fish stock status are often dependant on many factors, such as on the biology of the stock, prevailing environmental conditions, and the extent of management actions.

Migratory bird populations: Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) is responsible for the conservation of migratory birds in Canada and the management and risk-based enforcement of the sustainable hunting of migratory game birds. On a regular basis, ECCC assesses the population status of migratory game birds, and reviews and amends the hunting regulations for migratory game birds, with input from provinces and territories, rights holders, and stakeholders.

Forests: Canada is home to 9% of the world’s forests, and publicly owned forests account for approximately 94% of all Canada’s forested land. Canada will continue to apply sustainable forest management principles across all publicly owned forests. Forest companies seeking to harvest timber on public lands must obtain approval of sustainable forest management plans that comply with provincial and territorial forest laws and policies. Canada has the largest area of independent third-party certified forests in the world, which provide added assurance that forest companies are operating legally and complying with international standards.  

Management of terrestrial wildlife: Harvest activities in Canada occur under programs established for game species, and management decisions are guided by planning processes, policy, and legislation, trends in historical and recent use, and western and Indigenous science. In some instances, management of species is a shared responsibility among federal, provincial, and territorial governments, wildlife management boards or advisory councils, land claim organizations representing Indigenous rights holders, and other countries as appropriate. The federal government has been working in partnership with provincial and territorial governments to conserve biodiversity through the Pan-Canadian Approach to Transforming Species at Risk Conservation in Canada. Provinces and territories monitor and regulate the harvest of their game species. To account for the risks associated with the spread of disease and pathogen spillover and spillback, especially in light of recent threats that zoonoses have posed (e.g., SARS-CoV-2, avian influenza), a collaborative One Health approach between sectors could be used. A One Health approach would clarify and address the linkages between the health of people, animals, plants, and ecosystems.

Target 6: Invasive alien species

Target 6: “Eliminate, minimize, reduce and or mitigate the impacts of invasive alien species on biodiversity and ecosystem services by identifying and managing pathways of the introduction of alien species, preventing the introduction and establishment of priority invasive alien species, reducing the rates of introduction and establishment of other known or potential invasive alien species by at least 50 per cent by 2030, and eradicating or controlling invasive alien species, especially in priority sites, such as islands.”

What we are aiming for by 2030

By 2030, effective policies and tools and strong partnerships will be preventing the entry and spread of invasive alien species (IAS). These measures include surveillance systems, collaboratively developed response plans and associated efficient administrative processes, resources and funding, and long-term management plans for priority IAS using a common framework. Strong collaboration will help raise awareness, enable action, and implement effective and timely interventions.

Why this target matters

IAS are non-native plants, animals (including fish and other aquatic species), invertebrates, pathogens, and/or other organisms introduced to an ecosystem outside their natural range that have spread and cause harm to nature, nature’s contribution to people (see Target 11), and good quality of life. IAS cost an estimated US$423 billion per year globally, and 3,500 IAS have been recorded worldwide. In Canada, a survey undertaken in 2021 estimated that Canadian municipalities spend an average of $247.9 million per year on IAS management. In Ontario alone, it costs $75-$91 million annually to manage a single species, the Zebra mussel. IAS have contributed to a steady decline and impact on native species in Canada since the 1970s and there is no sign that new introductions are slowing down. Once introduced and established, IAS pose risks to the environment, economy, health, food security (directly and indirectly), and everyday lives of Canadians. They compete with native species for ecosystem resources (e.g., nutrients), have negative impacts on wildlife habitat, change ecosystem processes (e.g., by altering wildfire frequency and intensity), and can carry pathogenic microorganisms. IAS also impact many sectors in Canada; for example, agricultural and forestry yields can be affected by pests and/or diseases, vectors can carry diseases that can spread to animals and humans, and invasive mussels can damage critical infrastructure such as drinking water intakes and food irrigation systems. They can also have an impact on Indigenous Peoples’ traditional medicines, foods, and artisanal products, or iconic plants and animals. The damage caused by IAS will be further aggravated and facilitated by climate change, pollution, habitat loss, and human-induced disturbance. Preventing introductions is the least costly and most effective way to reduce the impact of IAS and requires addressing the main drivers/pathways that enable IAS to enter the Canadian environment (e.g., release, escape, contaminant).

Target 6 intersects with and affects other targets (e.g., 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 11) by IAS acting as stressors and threats. Eradication/removal of an IAS from a degraded area may be one of many measures taken to restore habitat (Target 2). Target 7 can be impacted by the achievement of Target 6 as there may be a trade-off between reducing pesticide risk and managing IAS, as pesticides are at times the best tool to respond to IAS introductions or establishments. Furthermore, improving ecological connectivity (e.g., Targets 2, 3, 4, and 12) may inadvertently facilitate the spread of IAS, though overall the benefits of corridors outweigh the impacts of IAS. Ecosystems degraded by habitat loss, climate change, or pollution (e.g., Targets 2, 3, 7, 8, 10) may be more vulnerable to invasions when a non-native species is introduced compared to healthy ecosystems that are more resilient.

How we will achieve the 2030 target

There are opportunities to enhance actions to prevent the introduction of IAS and to effectively eradicate, control, and manage them. The federal government has a mandate to prevent the introduction and establishment of IAS by managing key pathways of introductions into Canada. It will continue to collaborate internationally through multilateral and bilateral fora to enhance the development and implementation of measures that will diminish the risk to transport IAS, such as phytosanitary measures. Furthermore, the federal government will continue to implement legislation and regulations to this effect, as well as others related to IAS.

The federal government also works together with the provinces and territories to enhance preparedness for emerging IAS threats to Canada’s ecosystems, such as through the Invasive Alien Species National Committee and the National Aquatic Invasive Species Committee. The 2004 IAS Strategy for Canada and the 2017 Federal-Provincial-Territorial Task Force Recommendations, which provide a hierarchical approach to IAS management that first prioritizes introduction prevention, also continue to be relevant.  

Achieving Target 6 will require continued collaboration between jurisdictions to enhance preparedness to address emerging IAS threats, as well as to help expand the knowledge base on IAS risks, ecological and socio-economic impacts, and monitoring and response tools. The involvement of other levels of government, Indigenous Peoples and organizations, non-governmental organizations, and industry is also important in education campaigns and on-the-ground prevention, detection, and management actions. Initiatives such as Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s expanded Aquatic Invasive Species National Core Program will increase detection and response to imminent aquatic invasive species threats, and create new partnerships to facilitate on-the ground preventative action against aquatic invasive species. There is also an opportunity to develop and test new technologies to better prevent and manage IAS.

Moving forward, achieving Target 6 will require an approach that:

Target 7: Pollution and biodiversity

Target 7: “Reduce pollution risks and the negative impact of pollution from all sources, by 2030, to levels that are not harmful to biodiversity and ecosystem functions and services, considering cumulative effects, including: reducing excess nutrients lost to the environment by at least half including through more efficient nutrient cycling and use; reducing the overall risk from pesticides and highly hazardous chemicals by at least half including through integrated pest management, based on science, taking into account food security and livelihoods; and also preventing, reducing, and working towards eliminating plastic pollution.”

What we are aiming for by 2030

The Government of Canada will work with other levels of government, partners and stakeholders to protect biodiversity from the negative impacts of pollution from all sources, including by reducing by at least half the overall risks from pesticides and highly hazardous chemicals, as well as reducing plastic pollution and excess nutrients lost to the environment. Work will be done to identify baselines and measures to reduce these risks consistent with the KMGBF commitment.

Why this target matters

Pollution is one of the five largest direct drivers of global biodiversity loss. It impacts biodiversity by disrupting ecosystem functions and reducing the resilience of the systems and the living organisms within them. The triple crises of biodiversity loss, climate change, and pollution are intrinsically connected. Pollution, including from chemicals and waste, is a driver of both biodiversity loss and climate change. Minimizing biodiversity loss by addressing key sources of pollution is crucial to sustainably maintaining ecosystem functions and services. This becomes increasingly important as market demands and consumption grow, potentially exacerbating current sources of pollution, including agriculture, consumer and commercial products, natural resource extraction and processing, industrial activity, transportation, and waste. Target 7 intersects with several other targets, such as through initiatives that restore ecosystems (Target 2) and advance species recovery (Target 4) while also reducing pollution, the use of pesticides to mitigate invasive alien species (Target 6), and the use of nutrients and pesticides in the sustainable management of key productive sectors (Target 10).

How we will achieve the 2030 target

The federal government will continue to develop, administer, and enforce a variety of regulatory and non-regulatory measures to prevent pollution, working with provinces, territories, other levels of government, and Indigenous Peoples, as appropriate. Work with international partners will also continue to address risks and reduce pollution from beyond our borders; for example, for a number of air pollutants, plastics, pesticides, and hazardous chemicals. The broad and ambitious scope of Target 7 represents a significant challenge for Canada, as well as globally.

Reaching this target in Canada will require more information and data on the sources, fates, and impacts of pollutants, and would benefit from an approach that focuses on:

Target 8: Climate change and biodiversity

Target 8: “Minimize the impact of climate change and ocean acidification on biodiversity and increase its resilience through mitigation, adaptation, and disaster risk reduction actions, including through nature-based solutions and/or ecosystem-based approaches, while minimizing negative and fostering positive impacts of climate action on biodiversity.”

What we are aiming for by 2030

Successful implementation of Target 8 will result in minimizing the impact of climate change and ocean acidification on biodiversity, reducing land-based greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, adapting to climate change, and reducing disaster risk, including through natural climate solutions and ecosystem-based approaches. Actions to mitigate and adapt to climate change will minimize any negative effects on biodiversity, while fostering positive effects. Knowledge and information will be generated and shared, and will inform action, building on recent successes.

Why this target matters

Ecosystem conversion and degradation are continuing to drive biodiversity loss and climate change both domestically and internationally. Mitigating the impacts of climate change will contribute to the reduction of ecosystem loss and degradation while also reducing GHG emissions; maintain and restore the composition, structure, and function of ecosystems in Canada; enhance their resilience; and ensure they can provide the ecosystem goods and services upon which we rely. The size and scope of Canada’s resource base means that its actions to halt biodiversity loss and mitigate and adapt to climate change through more sustainable land, ocean, and freshwater use can make a significant global contribution. Target 8 will contribute to meeting Targets 2 and 11 on ecosystem restoration and ecosystem services and functions, as well as Targets 3, 4, 10, 11, and 12.

How we will achieve the 2030 target

There are opportunities to enhance action on minimizing the impacts of climate change and ocean acidification on biodiversity, and advancing climate change mitigation, adaptation, and disaster risk reduction as they relate to nature. In particular, continuing to develop and implement natural climate solutions and ecosystem-based approaches will be key, as will advancing our knowledge base. The federal Natural Climate Solutions Fund supports projects that conserve, restore, and enhance wetlands, peatlands, grasslands, forests, and farmland to reduce land-based GHG emissions and increase carbon sequestration while providing co-benefits to communities and ecosystems. This horizontal initiative includes three separate but related programs: Natural Resources Canada’s 2 Billion Trees program, Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Nature Smart Climate Solutions Fund (NSCSF), and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Agricultural Climate Solutions Program. The NSCSF further includes a dedicated Indigenous-led Natural Climate Solutions stream that supports community-based initiatives to engage First Nations, Inuit, and Métis partners in developing and advancing GHG emission reduction activities. The federal government is partnering with First Nations, Inuit and Métis governments and organizations to set an agenda for climate action and a framework for collaboration that supports Indigenous Climate Leadership. The goal is to implement a model of partnership that empowers self-determined climate action; leverages the transition to a net-zero economy to support overarching efforts towards self-determination; supports the inclusion of Indigenous science in national climate policy; and supports the implementation of national, regional and local Indigenous climate strategies, including the Assembly of First Nations National Climate Strategy (2023), the National Inuit Climate Change Strategy (2019), and the Métis Nation Climate Strategy (under development).

Programs such as the Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund (DMAF) and Natural Infrastructure Fund (NIF) will help support efforts to increase resilience to the impacts of climate change, with co-benefits for nature. The DMAF supports built and natural infrastructure projects designed to mitigate current and future climate-related risks and disasters triggered by natural hazards, while the NIF supports natural and hybrid infrastructure projects to deliver services, such as climate change resilience, improved access to nature, or enhanced biodiversity and habitats. This aspect of Target 8 will also be supported through some disaster risk reduction efforts under Canada’s Emergency Management Strategy. In addition, whole-of-society action to advance the Nature and Biodiversity system under Canada’s National Adaptation Strategy will support climate change adaptation aspects of Target 8. Federal programming to advance the Nature and Biodiversity system is described in the Government of Canada Adaptation Action Plan.

There is an urgent need to move quickly to mitigate climate change, but these efforts must also seek to minimize negative impacts on biodiversity (e.g., from critical minerals development, hydro projects, wind farms). Climate change mitigation decisions that include biodiversity considerations should be based on the best-available evidence and should incorporate activities to mitigate and restore where appropriate, which could include avoiding areas important for biodiversity when siting projects. A Biodiversity Effects Management Framework is being developed to enable transparent and predictable assessment and management of the effects of human activities (like critical minerals development) on migratory birds, species at risk, and wetlands to reduce direct and cumulative effects to these important ecosystem components. Additionally, the Canadian Critical Minerals Strategy is taking a “nature forward” approach that incorporates practices that work to prevent biodiversity loss, protect species at risk, and support nature protection.

Advancing efforts under Target 8 provides an opportunity to advance transformative outcomes at the intersection of climate change adaptation and nature. It is critical that ecosystem resilience, or adaptation-for-nature, is better understood, and that active management approaches and techniques to enhance ecosystem resilience are identified to climate-proof the significant investments in conservation and biodiversity being made domestically at all levels. This includes, for example, understanding potential changes to wildlife habitat or species ranges due to a changing climate and factoring those into the planning of protected and conserved areas, ecological corridors, and species recovery strategies. Target 8 also provides an opportunity to continue to improve the integration of climate and nature programming and maximize outcomes in each domain in a complementary and mutually reinforcing manner.

Target 9: Sustainable use and management of wild species

Target 9: “Ensure that the management and use of wild species are sustainable, thereby providing social, economic and environmental benefits for people, especially those in vulnerable situations and those most dependent on biodiversity, including through sustainable biodiversity-based activities, products and services that enhance biodiversity, and protecting and encouraging customary sustainable use by indigenous peoples and local communities."

Note: In the Canadian context, “Indigenous Peoples” have specific and distinct rights, whereas “local communities” does not exist as a formal or legal term. As such, Canada’s 2030 Strategy highlights Indigenous Peoples. For a more in-depth explanation, please refer to the Annex 1 introductory text.

What we are aiming for by 2030

By 2030, governments will work in partnership to co-develop, co-implement, and contribute to robust monitoring and management systems that promote the customary use of wild species by Indigenous Peoples. Environmental conditions and human uses, such as fishing and hunting, affect the abundance and health of wild species at national and global levels. Robust management regimes for these species, which track the status and trends of stocks and enable adjustments of management measures (such as harvest rates and limits), will help to protect and sustain biodiversity. Successful implementation will reduce barriers to ensure full participation by Indigenous Peoples, promote knowledge sharing (where appropriate) and capacity building, and ensure management decisions are informed by various knowledge systems.

Why this target matters

Wild species contribute to human well-being by providing nutrition, food security, medicines, commodities, and livelihoods. The harvesting of wild species, including hunting, fishing, trapping, and gathering wild plants, has been a part of Indigenous Peoples’ ways of living for millennia. The customary use of wild species in Canada is protected as existing Aboriginal and Treaty rights, which are recognized and affirmed by Section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982. As constitutionally protected documents, modern treaties carry the force of law, and are fundamental elements of Canada’s constitutional fabric, through which Indigenous Peoples may exercise their right to harvest wild species. In addition, Indigenous harvesters have a right to fish for food, social, and ceremonial purposes, and in some cases, courts have also affirmed economic harvesting rights, such as the right to fish in pursuit of a moderate livelihood in certain parts of eastern Canada. Many Indigenous Peoples have commercial access to fish stocks, and Canada’s coastal communities depend substantially on the socio-economic benefits derived from commercial fishing and the aquatic ecosystems that support various fish stocks. Access to resources on and in lands and waters is critical to support the full participation of Indigenous Peoples in the economy in line with their constitutionally protected rights and to advance economic reconciliation. Cultural, social, economic, and environmental benefits can be facilitated through sustainable management of fish stocks in support of continued customary use of biological resources by Indigenous Peoples.

How we will achieve the 2030 target

Actions will build on the ongoing programs and policies related to sustainable management. The federal government has been working in partnership with provincial and territorial (PT) governments to conserve Canada’s biodiversity through the implementation of the Pan-Canadian Approach to Transforming Species at Risk Conservation in Canada. Many legislative tools, regulations, programs, and initiatives for wild species management and the ecosystems on which they depend are already in place (e.g., Species at Risk Act, Migratory Birds Convention Act, Fisheries Act, Oceans Act, Sustainable Fisheries Framework, Sustainability Survey for Fisheries, migratory birds hunting regulations and migratory birds program, North American Waterfowl Management Plan). In addition, programs exist to support Indigenous management of fishing for food, social, and ceremonial purposes, as well as the harvesting and hunting of animals and plants (e.g., Harvesters Support Grant and Community Food Programs Fund, and Powley Program).

As described under Target 5, efforts are underway to broaden and accelerate the implementation of an Ecosystems Approach for Fisheries Management for federally managed fisheries, including an engagement and outreach plan for stakeholders and Indigenous organizations. The federal government is also advancing a whole-of-government Blue Economy Strategy that will outline Canada’s vision for a sustainable blue economy. This strategy will highlight key strategic objectives to guide future actions and investments and address regulatory gaps within the blue economy.

The Arctic and Northern Policy Framework was co-developed with Inuit, northern First Nations, and Métis, the territorial governments of the Northwest Territories, Nunavut, and Yukon, and the provincial governments of Manitoba, Quebec, and Newfoundland and Labrador. The Framework contains a co-developed goal of ensuring conservation of biodiversity and the safeguarding and restoration of ecosystems through corresponding objectives related to partnership with territories, provinces and Indigenous Peoples, the support for sustainable use of species by Indigenous Peoples, and inclusion of science, knowledge and research that is meaningful for communities and for decision-making.

The federal government works with PT governments on programs and initiatives for sustainable management and use of wild species, according to each jurisdiction’s responsibilities. For example, PT governments have existing legislation and regulations on sustainable forest management and timber harvest (e.g., Old Growth Strategic Review in British Columbia). Other relevant PT-led programs include Together for Wildlife in British Columbia, the Land Stewardship Program in Alberta, and Quebec’s 2030 Plan for a Green Economy.

Key barriers related to this target include: regulatory gaps (e.g., harvest or take of some wild plants), knowledge gaps, climate change, balancing conservation goals with socio-economic goals of implicated communities, legal barriers, or challenges linked to declining resources and/or accessibility to resources (e.g., declines in availability of wild species for all interested users or limited access to traditional foods/areas with continued habitat degradation or declines in biodiversity).

Target 9 has dependencies on Target 5, regarding the sustainable management of wild stocks. Helping to ensure the availability of socio-economic benefits for people requires effective resource stewardship. As well, actions to achieve Target 9 would help meet some of the objectives of Target 5, and contribute to Targets 4, 8, 10, and 11. Additionally, addressing customary use by Indigenous rights holders under Target 9 directly supports Targets 21 and 22.

Target 10: Sustainable management in key productive sectors

Target 10: “Ensure that areas under agriculture, aquaculture, fisheries and forestry are managed sustainably, in particular through the sustainable use of biodiversity, including through a substantial increase of the application of biodiversity friendly practices, such as sustainable intensification, agroecological and other innovative approaches, contributing to the resilience and long-term efficiency and productivity of these production systems, and to food security, conserving and restoring biodiversity and maintaining nature’s contributions to people, including ecosystem functions and services.”

What we are aiming for by 2030

Success by 2030 will include resilient and productive agricultural systems that support food security and the provision of ecosystem services through sustainable and innovative management approaches. It will also include the management of aquaculture through a science-based approach that promotes the sustainable use of aquatic resources in ways that conserve biodiversity. Furthermore, fisheries science will be complemented with socio-economic analyses in decision making. Finally, forest management will contribute to conserving biodiversity and its benefits for future generations through the implementation and continued innovation of sustainable practices.

Why this target matters

Agriculture, aquaculture, fisheries, and forestry are critical natural resource sectors that drive the Canadian economy and provide substantial domestic and international socio-economic benefits, food security, employment, essential commodities, and support for livelihoods. At the same time, if not managed appropriately, they can have a negative impact on biodiversity. The success of these sectors depends on highly interconnected and healthy ecosystems and their provision of services. In addition, their sustainability can be constrained not only by their direct practices, but also by the indirect impacts of various global phenomena (e.g., climate change, diseases, fires, ocean acidification). The impacts of extreme weather and climate change on our ecosystems are predicted to grow and make sustainable production increasingly difficult over time. Sustainable management of Canada’s ecosystems can also contribute to efforts to combat climate change (e.g., healthy forests can help mitigate climate change). Given the multiple pressures and opportunities facing biodiversity in the Canadian agriculture, aquaculture, fisheries, and forestry sectors, action is needed to ensure that sustainable management and practices continue to evolve and facilitate conservation and protection of Canada’s ecosystems and prosperity for generations to come.

There are clear overlaps between Target 10 and other targets, such as the restoration of ecosystems and adoption of nature-based approaches within productive sectors (Targets 2, 5, 8, 9, 11), the promotion of genetic and species diversity (Target 4), and efforts to reduce pollution risks (Target 7), and their success is linked. However, actions undertaken to achieve other targets could impact the balance between productivity and nature conservation objectives. This makes Target 10 key to ensuring sustainable management and use of biological resources, as well as the responsible productivity of these sectors and their contribution to environmental and economic resilience and food security.

How we will achieve the 2030 target

Agriculture: Successive agricultural policy frameworks, including the ongoing Sustainable Canadian Agriculture Partnership, have been supporting the sustainable growth of the sector since 2003, including by providing cost-shared funding for practices that directly or indirectly support protecting biodiversity on agricultural lands. Efforts are underway to develop a Sustainable Agriculture Strategy (SAS) that would establish a long-term approach to advance the sustainability, competitiveness, and vitality of the agri-environmental sector, including halting and reversing biodiversity loss. The SAS, as well as other programs such as the Agricultural Climate Solutions program will build on progress achieved to date, leverage opportunities to increase market focus on sustainable food products, and focus resources to support an environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable sector. Furthermore, continued efforts to manage agro-ecosystems through a variety of biodiversity-friendly production systems, supporting diverse agricultural landscapes, and scaling these up where appropriate through public and private initiatives, will be essential to halting biodiversity loss.

Aquaculture: Developing aquaculture in a sustainable manner will protect aquatic ecosystems and conserve wild fish populations. Fisheries and Oceans Canada operates the British Columbia Aquaculture Regulatory Program to manage the sector in British Columbia and it operates the Sustainable Aquaculture Program nationally by working with provinces and territories to ensure that aquaculture is sustainably managed and protects biodiversity across Canada.

Fisheries: Actions proposed under Targets 5 and 9 will directly support Target 10, including activities centred on the implementation of an ecosystem approach to wild stock management, as well as the strengthened integration of socio-economic considerations in decision making to ensure benefits are available to those who depend on the ecosystems supporting wild stocks.

Forestry: Canada’s forests will continue to benefit from strict and extensive legislation and regulations that govern the practices of the forest sector on public lands, which account for about 90% of Canada’s forests. These laws and regulations are based on the principles of sustainable forest management that help conserve biodiversity. Forest planning is required by provincial and territorial law on public lands managed for forestry before harvesting can occur. Additionally, each province or territory determines its annual allowable cut (the volume of wood that can be sustainably harvested), legally restricting harvest, while third-party certification attests to the integrity of forest management practices, including the protection of biodiversity. Emerging science from all levels of government, academia, industry, NGOs, and others is used to inform the development of sustainable forest management legislation and policy that support biodiversity. Continued improvements to our national forest monitoring and reporting activities will help ensure that data and knowledge products are available to meet the task of managing the vast forest landscapes in our country. Continued progress towards sustainable forest management must also consider reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples. Natural Resources Canada is supporting Indigenous economic reconciliation in the natural resource sectors by building meaningful partnerships with Indigenous organizations and communities through programs like the Indigenous Forestry Initiative and the Forest Full Value Initiative. The Indigenous Forestry Initiative also supports Indigenous leadership in the forest sector including forest stewardship and knowledge development to support inclusion of Indigenous knowledge in forest management.

Target 11: Ecosystem services and functions

Target 11: “Restore, maintain and enhance nature’s contributions to people, including ecosystem functions and services, such as regulation of air, water, and climate, soil health, pollination and reduction of disease risk, as well as protection from natural hazards and disasters, through nature-based solutions and/or ecosystem-based approaches for the benefit of all people and nature.”

What we are aiming for by 2030

In achieving Target 11 by 2030, nature’s contributions to people, including ecosystem functions and services, will be maintained, enhanced, and restored, including through the application of effective nature-based solutions and ecosystem-based approaches in Canada, supported by policy, monitoring and assessment.

Why this target matters

Ecosystem services are vital for human existence. They are the benefits that ecosystems provide to humans, measured or assessed in biophysical, human health, economic, and socio-cultural terms. They are at the basis of society, as they support our primary needs, economies, security, and an improved quality of life. Biodiversity is essential because it underpins ecosystem resilience, integrity, and function.

However, human activity has caused major declines in biodiversity worldwide and significant degradation of ecosystems’ ability to produce and provide their services. This has measurable costs to public health, security, well-being, and ways of living, and the full suite of ecosystem services cannot be duplicated with human-made alternatives and technologies.

How we will achieve the 2030 target

Many actions are in progress across Canada that contribute to Target 11. These actions range in scale of investment, geography, and scope of action from vast national initiatives to small local projects. At the national scale, recent actions include the National Adaptation Strategy and Government of Canada Adaptation Action Plan, as well as Natural Climate Solutions Fund. Extensive efforts are also underway to determine, monitor, and report on the condition of Canadian ecosystems by different orders of government, non-government organizations, Indigenous communities, and academia, among others. Important initiatives led by the Government of Canada include the Canadian Biodiversity Ecosystem Status and Trends (2010), Census of Environment (ongoing), and the Ecosystem Services Toolkit (2017).

While actions under other targets will help to achieve Target 11, success would also require an approach that focuses on:

Target 12: Urban green and blue spaces

Target 12: “Significantly increase the area and quality, and connectivity of, access to, and benefits from green and blue spaces in urban and densely populated areas sustainably, by mainstreaming the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, and ensure biodiversity-inclusive urban planning, enhancing native biodiversity, ecological connectivity and integrity, and improving human health and well-being and connection to nature, and contributing to inclusive and sustainable urbanization and to the provision of ecosystem functions and services.”

What we are aiming for by 2030

In 2030, Canada’s green spaces will be accessible, available, and inclusive so that everyone can enjoy the benefits of nature in urban settings. Species and ecosystems will be able to thrive in and around urban and urbanizing areas, providing habitat for species and ecosystem services. It will also be common to have urban plans, land-use plans, and associated strategies and polices that are nature-positive, advance multiple goals, and are developed through inclusive and collaborative processes.

Why this target matters

The establishment and growth of cities contributes to habitat degradation and fragmentation, declines in species populations, and the loss of associated ecosystem services. In addition, Canada’s cities are situated in many of the country’s most biodiverse areas, resulting in these locations being heavily degraded and fragmented, with high concentrations of species at risk. Protecting and restoring urban green and blue spaces, and employing nature-based solutions, can restore species populations, reduce the impacts of climate change, lower surface temperatures, mitigate flooding, and improve water availability during droughts. Initiatives contributing to Target 12 can also contribute to Targets 1, 2, 3, 4, 8, 11, 21, 22, and 23.

Access to nature is also becoming increasingly important to Canadians: as seen with the COVID-19 pandemic, we know how important access to nature is for physical, mental, and spiritual health. Access to nature and land in urban areas is also important for Indigenous Peoples living in urban areas to engage and reconnect with their cultural, social, and spiritual practices. Reclaiming urban natural areas for Indigenous Peoples can be an act of reconciliation in the areas where most of Canada’s population resides. Urban areas should be inclusive spaces where diversity is welcomed, diverse narratives are shared, histories and cultures are brought to light, and where equity is intentionally advanced through policies, programs, and the built environment. Urban and land-use planning should consider multiple values and multiple land uses, including the protection and enhancement of biodiversity, the use of nature-based solutions, and the reduction of impacts on biodiversity.

How we will achieve the 2030 target

There are several initiatives underway across Canada to improve availability of, and access to, urban green and blue spaces and to support species needs in urban areas. The federal government designates places for Canadians to experience Canada’s natural and cultural heritage, including through Canada’s network of national parks, national wildlife areas, migratory bird sanctuaries, national historic sites, and other protected areas. Canada is also supporting Indigenous-led conservation and access to nature (e.g., Indigenous Guardians programs, establishment of Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas, the Back to the Land initiative, and Mental Health Innovation Network’s Going Off, Growing Strong program), which help further a connection between Indigenous communities and their traditional territories and lands. In addition, a number of municipalities already have a biodiversity strategy, are developing one, or have biodiversity objectives embedded in other environmental plans. Canada is working to address species loss in and around urban areas through the Pan-Canadian Approach to Transforming Species at Risk Conservation in the Urban Development Sector where Canada is developing an Action Framework that identifies opportunities, threats, and enabling conditions to enhance the recovery of species and ecosystems at risk within urban and urbanizing communities. However, more can be done.

Achieving the 2030 target will require an approach that focuses on:

Target 13 / 15(c): Access and benefit-sharing from the utilization of genetic resources

Target 13: “Take effective legal, policy, administrative, and capacity-building measures at all levels, as appropriate, to ensure the fair and equitable sharing of benefits that arise from the utilization of genetic resources and from digital sequence information on genetic resources, as well as traditional knowledge associated with genetic resources, and facilitating appropriate access to genetic resources, and by 2030 facilitating a significant increase of the benefits shared, in accordance with applicable international access and benefit-sharing instruments.”

What we are aiming for by 2030

Target 13 reinforces the third objective of the CBD, which is “fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources, including by appropriate access to genetic resources and by appropriate transfer of relevant technologies, taking into account all rights over those resources and to technologies, and by appropriate funding” (known in short hand as access and benefit-sharing, or “ABS”). Target 13 is connected with efforts to achieve Targets 15c (business reporting on access and benefit-sharing measures) and 19 (innovative schemes for resource mobilization).

Genetic resources are defined in the CBD as material of plant, animal, microbial, or other origin containing functional units of heredity, of actual or potential value. In practice, this term covers organisms, specimens, and samples containing DNA, but human genetic resources are excluded.

While awareness of ABS in Canada is low, across jurisdictions, Canada has a range of ABS-related laws that indirectly or directly address access to specific biological resources. However, there is currently no available policy or guidance document on Canadian ABS-relevant measures. As such, for Canada, success towards this target could include developing a framework scoping the range of Canada’s ABS-relevant laws and policy measures regarding access to genetic resources, Digital Sequence Information (DSI) (which refers broadly to genetic sequence data) and Indigenous Knowledge associated with genetic resources. This framework could include complementary efforts to enable businesses to report on compliance with ABS regulations and measures.

Why this target matters

Specific properties of genetic resources are used in a wide range of scientific, environmental, and commercial applications, such as developing new medicines and vaccines, improving crop yields and resilience in view of climate change, biological pest control, and modifying industrial processes. In this regard, they touch the lives and well-being of every Canadian. Research and development on genetic resources has the potential to contribute to conservation and sustainable use, as well as to generating a diverse range of non-monetary and monetary benefits.  

Canada is both a user and provider of genetic resources, associated Indigenous Knowledge, and DSI. While other Parties to the CBD have developed laws, policies, and pathways to specifically address the ABS provisions of the Convention, Canada’s approach to ABS makes use of existing laws and policies, which largely address access to biological resources but not benefit-sharing. To support research and innovation, Canadian researchers and companies need legal certainty around the conditions of use and benefit-sharing.

On the provider side, Canada shares genetic resources via ex situ collections including Plant Gene Resources of Canada, the National Tree Seed Centre, and the Animal Genetic Resources of Canada gene banks. Canada is a leading supplier of DSI from genetic resources in Canada to global databases. Canada is home to marine and Arctic extremophiles with valuable genetic characteristics. Indigenous Knowledge is sometimes sought to direct genetic research. Addressing this target will reinforce Canada’s commitment to ABS aspects of the CBD and support our role as a user and provider of genetic resources.

How we will achieve the 2030 target

Existing ABS measures in Canada function through general legal provisions, with few federal or provincial legal or policy measures designed specifically to address benefit-sharing. Benefit-sharing is addressed via active federal participation in the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) and its Multilateral System (MLS) for ABS, where facilitated access is a key benefit, and the 2010 Tri-Council Policy Statement on Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans. Canada will continue to engage in ongoing enhancements of the MLS and will also consider the DSI aspects relevant in this context.

A range of effective access and benefit-sharing-related measures have also been developed by territories, Indigenous groups, and research stakeholders, considering aspects such as prior informed consent, mutually agreed terms, and guidelines on access, protection, use, and sharing of data.

Ongoing discussions on a DSI multilateral mechanism are expected to contribute to the DSI part of Target 13, supported by appropriate domestic measures. Additionally, Canada’s actions under certain non-CBD ABS-related instruments may also contribute to achieving this target domestically (e.g., Pandemic Influenza Preparedness Framework, ITPGRFA). Conducting a landscape analysis of existing ABS frameworks in Canada, including compliance reporting measures, could support consideration of policy options to build a clearer national approach to ABS, such as through the development of a national ABS framework.

Target 14: Mainstreaming of biodiversity values 

Target 14: “Ensure the full integration of biodiversity and its multiple values into policies, regulations, planning and development processes, poverty eradication strategies, strategic environmental assessments, environmental impact assessments and, as appropriate, national accounting, within and across all levels of government and across all sectors, in particular those with significant impacts on biodiversity, progressively aligning all relevant public and private activities, and fiscal and financial flows with the goals and targets of this framework.”

What we are aiming for by 2030

Successful implementation of Target 14 in Canada should result in the consistent inclusion of biodiversity considerations and its values into all relevant decision-making. It would be the norm to understand the full impact of decisions and activities on biodiversity, increasing the ability to avoid, minimize, and offset adverse impacts, while supporting positive impacts within and across all levels of government and economic sectors. Applying the appropriate knowledge, legislative mechanisms, policies, and tools can enable consideration of the multifaceted intrinsic and extrinsic values of nature.

Why this target matters

Taking biodiversity and its values into account when planning activities and processes that may affect it is essential to meeting our collective goal to halt and reverse biodiversity loss by 2030. Policy decisions around the world continue to underrepresent and underestimate biodiversity’s vital social and economic contributions and its intrinsic value. In particular, the cultural, spiritual, physical, and mental well-being of Indigenous Peoples is inherently linked to the state of the lands, waters, ice, plants and animals of their traditional territories. Ensuring meaningful engagement and securing free, prior, and informed consent on matters impacting Indigenous Peoples and their lands and waters contributes to reconciliation. Indigenous science must also be respected and considered in identifying the values attributed to biodiversity. Mainstreaming the consideration of biodiversity in all relevant activities, while ensuring meaningful engagement with Indigenous Peoples, can help to ensure biodiversity is appropriately valued, conserved, and sustainably used.

Target 14 is cross-cutting and has a close and reciprocal relationship with many targets. For example, as biodiversity becomes more comprehensively integrated into major domains of society, more resources, effective management practices, and conservation practices can be supported, thus contributing to several targets. As contributions are made to other targets through research, best management practices, relationship-building, and other undertakings, Canada will be better equipped to ensure the full integration of biodiversity and its multiple values across all levels of government and across all sectors.

How we will achieve the 2030 target

In Canada, substantial progress has been made on integrating biodiversity and its values into many activities and processes. Our national system of accounts now includes data and analytical products pertaining to ecological assets, services, and benefits for several key ecosystems, with new releases in production for additional ecosystems. Quantitative analyses of the benefits society draws from ecosystem services are also regularly released, with more on the way. Many other levels of government, the private sector, and other organizations are also taking action to align activities with biodiversity considerations, such as Canadian municipalities integrating biodiversity considerations in their planning and the international Taskforce on Nature-related Disclosures working to shift organizations’ financial flows toward nature-positive outcomes (see Target 15). These ongoing initiatives will contribute to successful implementation of Target 14.

Progress on biodiversity mainstreaming has been varied across governments and sectors, and there is still much potential in this area. Target 14 would benefit from an approach that focuses on:

Target 15(a): Business’ role

Target 15: “Take legal, administrative or policy measures to encourage and enable business, and in particular to ensure that large and transnational companies and financial institutions:

  1. Regularly monitor, assess, and transparently disclose their risks, dependencies and impacts on biodiversity, including with requirements for all large as well as transnational companies and financial institutions along their operations, supply and value chains and portfolios;
  2. Provide information needed to consumers to promote sustainable consumption patterns;
  3. Report on compliance with access and benefit-sharing regulations and measures, as applicable;

in order to progressively reduce negative impacts on biodiversity, increase positive impacts, reduce biodiversity-related risks to business and financial institutions, and promote actions to ensure sustainable patterns of production.”

Note: for 15(b) refer to Target 16, and for 15(c) refer to Target 13.

What we are aiming for by 2030

By implementing Target 15(a), Canada will help advance business efforts to reduce negative impacts on biodiversity, increase positive impacts, and reduce biodiversity-related risks. Action will include leveraging the work of international bodies developing frameworks and standards for environmental disclosure, and engaging Canadian businesses and regulators on how best the federal government can encourage, enable, and prepare businesses for biodiversity-related disclosure.

Why this target matters

More than half of the world’s economic output is moderately or highly dependent on nature and, according to the World Economic Forum, biodiversity loss is estimated to be among the top ten risks to the global economy. However, financial institutions and companies do not have the information needed to understand the risks and opportunities of both nature and nature loss that arise from, or are related to, their operations, supply and value chains, and portfolios. By assessing and monitoring their impacts on biodiversity, businesses can better understand their relationship with biodiversity and the risks posed by biodiversity loss to their operations and supply chains. Once these relationships, impacts, and risks have been assessed and disclosed, it becomes easier to take concrete steps to address them. In particular, biodiversity-related financial disclosures can enable investors to shift financial flows away from nature-negative outcomes and toward nature-positive outcomes. The Government of Canada has an important role to play in this respect as it can put in place measures to promote and facilitate these assessments, ensuring they take place in a consistent and equitable manner.

Progress toward implementing Targets 15(a) and 21 will be complementary, as both will aim to improve the availability of biodiversity-related data. Over time, biodiversity-related disclosures may enable the provision of transparent, consistent, and comparable data about the financial risks and opportunities associated with biodiversity. Work on Target 14 to ensure the full integration of biodiversity and its multiple values into policies, regulations, and environmental assessments will also support progress on implementing Target 15(a). Advancing implementation of Target 15(a) is also expected to lay the foundation for the private sector to invest in nature, thereby contributing to achieving Target 19.  

How we will achieve the 2030 target 

The Taskforce on Nature-related Disclosures (TNFD) is building on the work of the previous Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), with the general objective of shifting financial flows away from nature-negative outcomes toward nature-positive outcomes. The federal government is moving towards mandatory reporting of climate-related financial risks for federally regulated financial institutions based on the TCFD framework; however, an equivalent commitment to nature-related disclosures is not currently in place.

The International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) has indicated that it will consider the TNFD’s work and may explore opportunities to complement its standard on climate-related disclosures to address disclosures related to natural ecosystems. An ISSB standard could set a global baseline for biodiversity-related disclosures. 

Meeting Target 15(a) will require an approach that: 

In addition, the implementation of Target 15(a) will require an approach that considers:  

Canada’s approach to implementing any potential future biodiversity-related disclosure requirements will likely be informed by the work of the TNFD and other key organizations developing global baselines for environmental disclosures. The federal government will seek advice from partners such as federal and provincial regulators, the private sector, Indigenous partners, and biodiversity experts on actions it could take to encourage and enable biodiversity-related disclosures and to address existing barriers to measuring biodiversity-related risks, impacts, and dependencies. Capacity building for assessing and disclosing biodiversity-related risks, impacts, and dependencies will also be essential.  

Target 16 / 15(b): Sustainable consumption

Target 16: “Ensure that people are encouraged and enabled to make sustainable consumption choices including by establishing supportive policy, legislative or regulatory frameworks, improving education and access to relevant and accurate information and alternatives, and by 2030 reduce the global footprint of consumption in an equitable manner, including through halving global food waste, significantly reducing overconsumption and substantially reducing waste generation, in order for all people to live well in harmony with Mother Earth."

Target 15(b): "Take legal, administrative or policy measures to encourage and enable business, and in particular to ensure that large and transnational companies and financial institutions: (b) Provide information needed to consumers to promote sustainable consumption patterns"

What we are aiming for by 2030

Achieving Targets 16 and 15(b) will contribute to the societal and cultural transition needed for all peoples to live well in harmony with nature. The diverse population of Canadians and Indigenous Peoples will have access to information from large companies to promote sustainable consumption choices and greater access to repair services. A circular economy transition will reduce overconsumption and waste, reducing demand for primary resources, keeping products and materials in use for as long as possible, or returning bio-based materials to nature. Success requires action by businesses and all levels of government.

Why this target matters

The economy is already exceeding the Earth’s regenerative capacity, with negative impacts for people and nature. It is estimated that 1.6 Earths are required to sustain current human consumption and production patterns, and this is projected to increase to 2 Earths by 2050. This growth largely comes at the expense of biodiversity, with benefits inequitably distributed between countries and communities. With the highest per-capita rates of consumption and waste (PDF) among the developed world, Canada has a responsibility to address inequitable and unsustainable consumption, as well as an opportunity to lead by example. Key interventions are needed to encourage and enable people to avoid or reduce overconsumption and to shift away from harmful products and practices to more sustainable options (PDF). Increasing consumer awareness can help Canadians make more sustainable choices, including through communication, education, and more accessible information on the environmental impacts of consumer products, noting that affordability and cultural shifts are also part of the solution. Circular innovation in the design and production of consumer goods can also help reduce resource demand and empower consumers with cost- and performance-competitive, more sustainable options. Other targets that will support action towards sustainable consumption include those related to sustainability policy and governance (Target 14), sustainable disclosure by business (Target 15), prevention of overexploitation of wild species (Target 5), pollution reduction (Target 7), sustainable management and use of biodiversity (Targets 9 and 10), and elimination of incentives harmful to biodiversity (Target 18).

How we will achieve the 2030 target

Sustainable consumption touches every facet of our lives and the economy. Achieving the 2030 target will require an approach that focuses on:

Beyond the provision of information to consumers, other key considerations for influencing consumer attitudes include differences in consumer priorities among diverse socio-economic, cultural, and geographic contexts, the affordability of sustainable products and services, and the rising cost of living. Research also indicates that how and when consumers are engaged matters, such as during key transition points (e.g., graduating, moving, or having kids) when there may be an opportunity to make lifestyle changes, and through encouraging gradual shifts toward more sustainable lifestyles and habits.

Target 17: Biosafety/biotechnology

Target 17: “Establish, strengthen capacity for, and implement in all countries, biosafety measures as set out in Article 8(g) of the Convention on Biological Diversity and measures for the handling of biotechnology and distribution of its benefits as set out in Article 19 of the Convention.”

What we are aiming for by 2030

Canada will focus on the biosafety-related provisions of Article 19 of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), with the access and benefit-sharing and technology transfer provisions being developed as part of Targets 13 and 20. The biosafety aspect of Article 19 seeks to ensure that processes and approaches to ensuring biosafety are made available and shared equitably. In addition to sharing information and developing consistent approaches to biosafety in international fora (CBD and OECD), Canada makes this information available through the Biosafety Clearing House.

Why this target matters

Biosafety measures are strategic and integrated approaches to regulate, manage, or control the risks associated with the use and release of living modified organisms (LMOs) resulting from biotechnology. Biosafety measures also aim to ensure fair and equitable access to information and approaches to implement biosafety procedures, especially in developing countries.

Biosafety measures are indispensable for ensuring that LMOs resulting from biotechnology are as safe as their conventional counterparts, and that any necessary environmental stewardship measures are implemented. While LMOs resulting from biotechnology provide benefits for Canadians in a variety of sectors (e.g., industrial, agricultural, medical, environmental applications), their use and/or release requires oversight, regulation, management, and control of any potential associated risks. New biotechnological developments (e.g., microbial production of biofuels, the development of resistant seeds via directed genetic modification, engineered biological carbon capture systems) are providing ever more promising opportunities. Given how rapidly the technologies and products are developing, it will be crucial to establish biosafety approaches grounded in solid science in order to benefit from these opportunities while evaluating and managing the risks.

How we will achieve the 2030 target

Canada will continue to implement the comprehensive, robust biosafety regulations it has in place, which evaluate the effects of products of biotechnology, including LMOs, on the environment and human health.

Canadian regulations governing products of biotechnology provide a robust, science-based safety net that helps to ensure products of biotechnology are safe for both the environment and human health. Canada’s sectoral approach where specific government departments oversee specific regulatory acts aligned with their mandate is reflected in regulations covering agriculture and food (Feeds Act, Seeds Act, Fertilizers Act, Health of Animals Act, and the Food and Drug Act), pest management (Pest Control Products Act), public health, biosafety, and biosecurity (Human Pathogens and Toxins Act), and the environment as a whole (Canadian Environmental Protection Act [CEPA]). The federal organizations tasked with enforcing the regulations derived from these acts proactively review and update these measures, helping to ensure they evolve and are strengthened to meet the new challenges posed by this rapidly evolving domain. Canada has responded by modernizing regulatory guidance for novel foods (in 2022) and plants with novel traits (in 2023), providing additional clarity for plant breeders using new technologies. Moreover, the update to CEPA and the ongoing amendment of the New Substances Notification Regulations (Organisms) will integrate more open public engagement in this process, increase transparency, reduce redundancies, and align these regulations with the current state of modern biotechnology.

Canada is an active participant in international fora (CBD, OECD) related to issues of biosafety, supporting a number of ongoing activities. These include the development of a coherent international approach to cellular agriculture, consideration of approaches to “safe by design,” and contributions to consensus documents on organisms relevant to biotechnology (e.g., microalgae). Moreover, Canada proactively engages in information sharing of its biosafety approaches (frameworks, testing protocols) and regulatory decisions through both publicly accessible websites and the Biosafety Clearing House.

Consistent and jurisdiction-specific application of biosafety measures by Parties to the CBD, especially developing countries, will help ensure we mitigate and reverse negative impacts on biodiversity. Access by Parties, in particular developing countries, to the information and protocols addressing biosafety as they are developed and validated will help ensure consistent application of validated approaches.

Target 17: “Establish, strengthen capacity for, and implement in all countries, biosafety measures as set out in Article 8(g) of the Convention on Biological Diversity and measures for the handling of biotechnology and distribution of its benefits as set out in Article 19 of the Convention.”

Target 18: Negative and positive incentives

Target 18: “Identify by 2025, and eliminate, phase out or reform incentives, including subsidies, harmful for biodiversity, in a proportionate, just, fair, effective and equitable way, while substantially and progressively reducing them by at least $500 billion per year by 2030, starting with the most harmful incentives, and scale up positive incentives for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity.”

What we are aiming for by 2030

By implementing Target 18, Canada will help reduce the negative impacts of incentives on biodiversity loss and contribute to achieving the overall global goal of closing the $700 billion per year global biodiversity finance gap to halt and reverse biodiversity loss. By 2025, Canada intends to have identified federal incentives with an impact on biodiversity, and by 2030 to be well into the process of eliminating, phasing out, reforming, and/or mitigating incentives that are harmful to biodiversity, as well as facilitating the scaling-up of positive incentives consistent with Canada’s international obligations.

Why this target matters

Incentives can significantly impact biodiversity and contribute to biodiversity loss, including by encouraging behaviours that are harmful to nature rather than facilitating nature-positive investments. This can lead to the over-exploitation of natural resources, reduced soil fertility, greater levels of pollution, and a lack of environmental protection. These negative impacts are often borne by the public rather than by those responsible for inflicting harm on biodiversity. Conversely, well designed incentives can lead to positive nature outcomes while supporting sustainable economic growth for all of society. Eliminating harmful incentives and encouraging positive incentives that benefit biodiversity can contribute to Canada investing public funds into initiatives that promote more sustainable practices and lifestyles and the transition toward a nature-positive economy. This work can also have positive impacts on advancing other targets, such as Targets 10, 14, 15, and 19.

How we will achieve the 2030 target

The federal government will first conduct analysis to establish a working definition of incentives that are both positive and negative for biodiversity, as well as a working definition of harm. Based on the development of the definition, an inventory of incentives will be compiled. Finally, an assessment framework will be developed to assess incentives that may be harmful to biodiversity and inform a work plan to eliminate, phase out, reform, and/or mitigate these incentives. These activities will be completed by 2025, with work plan implementation occurring over the 2025-2030 period. Throughout the process, Canada will work with its international partners to share information and learn lessons from respective efforts.

Target 19: Resource mobilization – financial resources

Target 19: “Substantially and progressively increase the level of financial resources from all sources, in an effective, timely and easily accessible manner, including domestic, international, public and private resources, in accordance with Article 20 of the Convention, to implement national biodiversity strategies and action plans, by 2030 mobilizing at least 200 billion United States dollars per year, including by:

  1. Increasing total biodiversity related international financial resources from developed countries, including official development assistance, and from countries that voluntarily assume obligations of developed country Parties, to developing countries, in particular the least developed countries and small island developing States, as well as countries with economies in transition, to at least US$ 20 billion per year by 2025, and to at least US$ 30 billion per year by 2030;
  2. Significantly increasing domestic resource mobilization, facilitated by the preparation and implementation of national biodiversity finance plans or similar instruments according to national needs, priorities and circumstances;
  3. Leveraging private finance, promoting blended finance, implementing strategies for raising new and additional resources, and encouraging the private sector to invest in biodiversity, including through impact funds and other instruments;
  4. Stimulating innovative schemes such as payment for ecosystem services, green bonds, biodiversity offsets and credits, benefit-sharing mechanisms, with environmental and social safeguards;
  5. Optimizing co-benefits and synergies of finance targeting the biodiversity and climate crises,
  6. Enhancing the role of collective actions, including by indigenous peoples and local communities, Mother Earth centric actions and non-market-based approaches including community based natural resource management and civil society cooperation and solidarity aimed at the conservation of biodiversity;
  7. Enhancing the effectiveness, efficiency and transparency of resource provision and use.”

Note: In the Canadian context, “Indigenous Peoples” have specific and distinct rights, whereas “local communities” does not exist as a formal or legal term. As such, Canada’s 2030 Strategy highlights Indigenous Peoples. For a more in-depth explanation, please refer to the Annex 1 introductory text.

What we are aiming for by 2030

The successful implementation of Target 19 will mobilize resources at a level that aligns with the level of ambition of the KMGBF. This means all relevant international and domestic actors, including governments at all levels, the financial industry, philanthropists, and the private and non-profit sectors, work collaboratively to scale up investments in biodiversity and advance innovative ways to mobilize resources to support biodiversity outcomes.

Why this target matters

Resource mobilization action must be taken at home and abroad if biodiversity loss is to be halted and reversed. Support from developed countries like Canada is essential to making conservation efforts possible in developing countries. This aligns with Canada’s existing approach to official development assistance and recognizes that the poorest and most vulnerable countries require support to meet our collective environmental goals.

While there is clear acknowledgement from donor countries (i.e., members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Development Assistance Committee (DAC)) that a rapid scale-up of biodiversity funding to developing countries is required, official development assistance alone cannot support all financial needs required to fill the biodiversity financing gap. Substantially and progressively increasing resources from all sources—both internationally and in Canada—is essential for fully implementing the KMGBF.

How we will achieve the 2030 target

Halting and reversing biodiversity loss is a long-term endeavour, which will require the international community to keep scaling-up its ambitions, including increased support from the private and philanthropic sectors.

On the international front, from 2015 to 2020, donor countries provided an annual average of $10 billion in official development assistance (ODA) for biodiversity, meeting the earlier CBD Aichi target for finance. Meeting the new financial goals of Target 19 will require a collective doubling by 2025 and tripling by 2030 of annual contributions by all actors in the international public finance space. In addition, increased support from all other sources, including from the private and philanthropic sectors, will be essential to meet the KMGBF targets.

Canada was one of the few donor countries to step forward at COP15 with a new contribution specific to biodiversity support for developing countries. There, Canada announced $350 million in international biodiversity funding that will support developing countries in implementing the KMGBF. As part of this envelope, Canada was also the first country to announce a contribution to the Global Biodiversity Framework Fund (GBFF) established at the seventh Global Environment Facility (GEF) Assembly ($200 million). This builds on the 20% funding target (approximately $1 billion) under the $5.3 billion International Climate Finance Program for projects that deliver nature-based solutions and biodiversity co-benefits.

Domestically, the federal government has made many recent investments that are enabling progress toward Target 19. Since 2018, Canada has invested approximately $12.5 billion for work related to nature and / or nature-based climate solutions. This includes: $1.3 billion for the Nature Legacy initiative, $2.3 billion for Canada’s Enhanced Nature Legacy, $976.8 million for work related to Marine Conservation, and over $5 billion for the Natural Climate Solutions Fund. At COP15, Canada announced up to $800 million for Project Finance for Permanence (four Indigenous-led conservation initiatives), which will be complemented by contributions from philanthropic foundations.

Work to advance innovative mechanisms includes the use of green bonds to support environmental infrastructure development in Canada, exploring the development of a policy for offsetting biodiversity impacts, and consideration of incentives similar to the Ecological Gifts Program, which offers significant tax benefits to landowners who donate land or a partial interest in land to a qualified recipient. Other examples of work to enhance the role of collective action includes the Thaidene Nëné National Park Reserve (2019) for which a $30 million trust fund was created with matching funds from the federal government and philanthropic support, raised by the community in partnership with Nature United. The continued development and implementation of initiatives such as these will support Canada’s efforts to meet Target 19.

Progress in the implementation of certain other targets will also support progress on Target 19. For example, implementing Target 14 (Mainstreaming) will help create the enabling conditions for resource mobilization. Implementing Target 15 (Business’ Role) would help businesses better understand their relationship with nature and hence raise awareness about opportunities for the private sector to invest in biodiversity. Finally, implementing Target 18 (Negative and Positive Incentives) could help stimulate incentives or redirect funding in support of nature.

Target 20: Capacity building – Other resources for implementation

Target 20: “Strengthen capacity-building and development, access to and transfer of technology, and promote development of and access to innovation and technical and scientific cooperation, including through South‑South, North-South and triangular cooperation, to meet the needs for effective implementation, particularly in developing countries, fostering joint technology development and joint scientific research programmes for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and strengthening scientific research and monitoring capacities, commensurate with the ambition of the goals and targets of the Framework.” 

What we are aiming for by 2030

Canada will support developing country partners to help close gaps in scientific and technological capacity and identify opportunities in technical and scientific cooperation for KMGBF implementation. Canada aims to ensure the new International Biodiversity Program and the Global Biodiversity Framework Fund (GBFF) under the Global Environment Facility (GEF) address capacity-related needs in developing countries, in particular for Small Island Developing States (SIDS), Least Developed Countries (LDCs), and countries with economies in transition.

Why this target matters 

Many developing countries in the global south, in particular LDCs and SIDS, as well as countries with economies in transition, have high levels of biodiversity. There are gaps in scientific and technological resources in developing countries, and these countries also face internal challenges in advancing and applying scientific knowledge and technology, which slows the rate at which they can conserve biodiversity. Developed countries such as Canada can help support action through enabling activities such as institutional capacity building, knowledge and information sharing, and support for implementation strategies such as developing National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans (NBSAPs), and they can also learn from developing countries.  

How we will achieve the 2030 target 

Developing countries, in particular LDCs and SIDS, as well as countries with economies in transition, are seeking increased international assistance for capacity building to support the implementation of the KMGBF, including for the transfer of technology and technical and scientific cooperation, the development of NBSAPs and national finance plans, and better understanding of how to access funds like the GEF and the new GBFF.  

Canada will continue to identify gaps and opportunities in current nature-related technical and scientific cooperation efforts. As the 2023 co-chair of the GEF Council, Canada is working with developing countries to understand how the Secretariat can address their needs and improve access to the GEF. Canada is identifying opportunities through the International Biodiversity Program to address capacity concerns, and will continue to advocate at the GEF Council for capacity building support for LDCs and SIDS.

Recognizing the importance of Indigenous environmental leadership and the unique knowledge, practices, and experiences of Indigenous Peoples around the world, the new GBFF will allocate a 20% aspirational target for Indigenous-led initiatives in developing countries to protect and conserve biodiversity. Also, the Indigenous Peoples Partnering for Climate initiative aims to foster partnerships between Indigenous Peoples in Canada with Indigenous Peoples in developing countries to build the latter’s climate resilience. The initiative emphasizes the importance of Indigenous leadership for climate change adaptation and the protection of biodiversity.

Many of the programs, tools, and knowledge we have developed for conserving nature in Canada are transferable. There are many strong programs and organizations within Canada devoted to biodiversity studies and conservation in developing countries, as well as those dedicated to overall capacity building. Canada can pursue opportunities to maintain and increase support to projects and programs that contribute to capacity building and close identified gaps. Examples include exploring opportunities for cross-learning and data sharing, as well as ongoing collaboration in the Americas, for example related to monitoring and management of migratory birds and other shared species.

Funding will be an important part of the implementation of all targets, including Target 20. Short-term actions include implementing Canada’s commitment of $241.8 million to the eighth replenishment of the GEF and the new $350 million International Biodiversity Program. This will aid in increasing capacity to develop biodiversity policy and institutional frameworks (e.g., NBSAPs), as well as enhanced gender-responsive policy making, planning, and non-state actions in alignment with the goals and targets of the KMGBF. Other projects currently supported address both climate and biodiversity. For instance, Canada’s $10 million contribution to the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) Biodiversity Finance Initiative (BIOFIN) supports 16 developing countries to design and implement biodiversity finance plans. Canada’s support will emphasize the integration of climate and gender goals. It is expected to lead to increased mobilization of funds for vulnerable groups to address biodiversity loss, restored and diversified protected area revenue and budgets, and improved results-based budgeting and advocacy for biodiversity budgets. 

Target 21: Knowledge sharing

Target 21: “Ensure that the best available data, information and knowledge, are accessible to decision makers, practitioners and the public to guide effective and equitable governance, integrated and participatory management of biodiversity, and to strengthen communication, awareness-raising, education, monitoring, research and knowledge management and, also in this context, traditional knowledge, innovations, practices and technologies of indigenous peoples and local communities should only be accessed with their free, prior and informed consent, in accordance with national legislation.”

Note: In the Canadian context, “Indigenous Peoples” have specific and distinct rights, whereas “local communities” does not exist as a formal or legal term. As such, Canada’s 2030 Strategy highlights Indigenous Peoples. For a more in-depth explanation, please refer to the Annex 1 introductory text.

What we are aiming for by 2030

By 2030, Canadians, including stakeholders and Indigenous rights holders, will be active users and contributors to the body of knowledge on Canada’s ecosystems and species, resulting in conservation actions informed by evidence and diverse ways of knowing. Successful implementation would result in the development of an inclusive, equitable, and advanced Open Data and Science Ecosystem with timely access to the best available western and Indigenous science. In addition, any sharing of Indigenous science must be authorized by Indigenous Knowledge Holders and there will be recognition and support for Indigenous biodiversity data sovereignty.

Why this target matters 

Target 21 is foundational to inclusive, evidence-based decision making and implementation of policy and actions, as well as understanding and supporting Canada’s progress towards all the 2030 targets. The best available data, information, and knowledge need to be accessible to decision makers across all jurisdictions, Indigenous rights holders, industry sectors, and land, water and ice managers and stewards, while recognizing that authority remains with Indigenous Knowledge Holders on determining how, when, and with whom Indigenous data is shared. In addition, effective education and citizen science programs can empower Canadians to understand and value biodiversity, deliver on conservation, and support well-being and mental health (e.g., helping address eco-anxiety). As biodiversity loss accelerates, efforts to advance open data initiatives while supporting Indigenous biodiversity data sovereignty, and developing baselines to understand population changes are increasingly important. Given the complex and interwoven underlying causes of biodiversity loss, there is a need for interdisciplinary approaches. Indigenous science, which is diverse, dynamic, and cumulative, needs to be considered equally alongside other knowledge, including western science.

How we will achieve the 2030 target

Canada has a strong and growing biodiversity knowledge base. There are many biodiversity data and reporting initiatives across Canada that gather and share knowledge related to biodiversity, some of which engage citizen scientists with increasingly sophisticated interfaces and data dissemination processes. However, many geographic and taxonomic gaps remain, partly due to a historic reliance on western science. Data, information, and knowledge are concentrated in southern, more densely populated regions, and largely focused on well-known groups (e.g., vertebrates, butterflies, flowering plants). And while substantial amounts of biodiversity data have been gathered over the past century, much of it is not readily accessible to Canadians (e.g., many records from natural science collections are currently not digitized, while other data may be behind publication paywalls). To achieve the 2030 target, we will need an approach that focuses on: 

Target 22: Inclusion of Indigenous Peoples, women, and youth in decision-making

Target 22: “Ensure the full, equitable, inclusive, effective and gender-responsive representation and participation in decision-making, and access to justice and information related to biodiversity by indigenous peoples and local communities, respecting their cultures and their rights over lands, territories, resources, and traditional knowledge, as well as by women and girls, children and youth, and persons with disabilities and ensure the full protection of environmental human rights defenders.”

Notes:

  • In the Canadian context, Indigenous Peoples have specific and distinct rights, whereas “local communities” does not exist as a formal or legal term. As such, Canada’s 2030 Strategy highlights Indigenous Peoples. For a more in-depth explanation, please refer to the Annex 1 introductory text
  • Recognizing the distinct and specific rights of Indigenous Peoples in Canada, this target will focus primarily on Indigenous Peoples, and content related to gender (i.e., women and girls) will be covered in the implementation plan for Target 23.

What we are aiming for by 2030

Indigenous Peoples: By 2030, Indigenous Peoples and their governments will have a central role in biodiversity decision-making through co-management and co-development processes. In addition, the role of Indigenous Peoples and Knowledge Holders as leaders and experts in conservation will be broadly recognized and backed by sufficient long-term funding to support their capacity for self-determined involvement in biodiversity decision-making and stewardship.

Children and youth, and persons with disabilities: By 2030, the unique and important contributions made by children and youth, and persons with disabilities will be integrated in decision-making processes for biodiversity conservation.  

Why this target matters

Indigenous Peoples: Indigenous Peoples have been custodians of biodiversity since time immemorial and hold invaluable knowledge for its use and management. In Canada, the lands, waters, and ice managed by Indigenous Peoples has higher levels of biodiversity than protected areas. In addition, the health, livelihoods, culture, and well-being of Indigenous Peoples is intrinsically linked to the state of nature. Indigenous Peoples have fundamental rights when it comes to participating in decision-making processes on matters affecting them. In particular, the rights of Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQI+ people have been heavily impacted by colonialism. A particular focus is therefore needed on these groups to ensure the full respect and recognition of rights.

Children and youth, and persons with disabilities: Children, youth and persons with disabilities are also important stakeholders. Children and youth are the future of this planet, and it is important that their wishes, visions and ideas are taken into account when conserving biodiversity. Persons with disabilities often face multiple forms of discrimination, and more work is needed to ensure their full, equal, and meaningful participation.

How we will achieve the 2030 target

Indigenous Peoples: Achieving Target 22 would contribute to advancing Canada’s commitment to renewed nation-to-nation, Crown-to-Inuit, government-to-government relationships with Indigenous Peoples. The federal implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act (UN Declaration Act), including the review of federal laws and policies to ensure their consistency with the UN Declaration in consultation and cooperation with Indigenous Peoples, and implementation of the UN Declaration Act Action Plan (2023-2028), will help to ensure that the rights of Indigenous Peoples are upheld. Canada is supportive of renewing and expanding the role of the Article 8(j) working group including consideration of a permanent CBD body to better include Indigenous perspectives in the implementation of the CBD. Canada will also continue to engage Indigenous representatives in preparations for and as part of the Canadian Delegation at future COPs and intersessional CBD discussions, recognizing the importance of including Indigenous Peoples in international biodiversity fora and decision-making processes.

In addition, consideration should be given to increasing Indigenous Peoples’ involvement in decision-making processes; improving access to land; bridging, braiding, and weaving Indigenous and western science and supporting Indigenous data sovereignty (see Target 21); respecting the role of Indigenous Peoples as leaders and experts in conservation (e.g., through support for Indigenous-Led Area-Based Conservation); and moving towards a co-developed, distinctions-based, and gender-responsive approach to biodiversity policies and programs. For example, establishing distinctions-based Nature Tables will provide an opportunity for the Government of Canada to collaborate with First Nations, Inuit, and Métis in exploring appropriate mechanisms and approaches to engaging with communities, Knowledge Holders, and Elders to develop and implement the 2030 Strategy, and to co-develop biodiversity policies and programs. In addition, progress on Targets 21 and 23 will also contribute to meeting this target.

Children and youth, and persons with disabilities: Canada has made strides over the years, with a growing focus on developing legislation, policies, and programs that aim to ensure diverse communities are considered in decision-making processes. There are existing mechanisms to engage with youth on nature priorities and to incorporate consideration of youth impacts in policy-making (e.g., Youth Impact Analysis Tool, youth councils to advise on environmental issues), and the Canadian Youth Biodiversity Network elevates youth participation in biodiversity preservation. In addition, the Government of Canada implements Gender-based Analysis (GBA) Plus in the development of responsive and inclusive policies, programs, and other initiatives. GBA Plus is an intersectional analysis that goes beyond biological (sex) and socio-cultural (gender) differences to consider other factors, such as age, disability, education, ethnicity, economic status, geography (including rurality), language, race, religion, and sexual orientation. Despite these advances and ongoing work, efforts are needed across all levels of government and sectors of society to continually identify systemic barriers and establish approaches to ensure that diverse groups and perspectives are considered respectfully and accurately.

Target 23: Gender equality

Target 23: "Ensure gender equality in the implementation of the framework through a gender-responsive approach where all women and girls have equal opportunity and capacity to contribute to the three objectives of the Convention, including by recognizing their equal rights and access to land and natural resources and their full, equitable, meaningful and informed participation and leadership at all levels of action, engagement, policy and decision-making related to biodiversity.”

What we are aiming for by 2030

Success on this target means that we will continue to make advances in gender equality in Canada broadly, including concrete actions at all levels of government and in all sectors of society to ensure women, girls, and 2SLGBTQI+ people are able to fully, equitably, and meaningfully able to participate in biodiversity decision making. The approach to Target 23 will aim to go beyond gender-responsive actions and implement gender-transformative approaches, where possible.

Why this target matters

Building a more equitable, just, and inclusive country is fundamental to achieving success across the board on our 2030 targets. When everyone has equal rights, access to opportunities, and the ability to fulfill their full potential, everyone benefits. Without dedicated action on Target 23, women and girls would be inhibited from full, equal, and meaningful participation in decision-making related to biodiversity. Canada would risk not meeting its domestic and international commitments to support gender equality and gender-responsive policy and decision-making. Moreover, it is essential to ensure the inclusion of Indigenous women and 2SLGBTQI+ people in leadership and decisions related to biodiversity, to account for their connections to nature and the ways in which biodiversity loss impacts them. Canada is well positioned to act as a leader in advancing gender equality through the implementation of all targets, not just Targets 22 and 23.

How we will achieve the 2030 target

There are many existing initiatives on which we can build in advancing Target 23. The Government of Canada is committed to ensuring that public policies are informed through an intersectional lens, including by applying tools and frameworks such as Gender-based Analysis Plus (GBA Plus) and the Quality of Life indicators in decision-making. For nearly 30 years, the Government of Canada has implemented gender-based analysis as a key priority in decision making and in the development of policies, programs, initiatives, and legislation, and will continue to apply GBA Plus for the development and implementation of Canada’s 2030 National Biodiversity Strategy.

The Government of Canada has demonstrated leadership in advancing gender equality both at home and internationally. For example, the Gender Results Framework (GRF) represents the Government Canada’s vision for gender equality, and provides a framework to track progress. Canada also advocates for stronger language and action on gender equality in multilateral resolutions and by providing international assistance programming to close the gender gap and support the empowerment of women and girls (e.g. Canada’s Feminist Foreign Policy and Feminist International Assistance Policy [FIAP]). Under the FIAP, Canada commits to ensuring 80% of international assistance projects, including those under its climate finance and biodiversity investments, integrate gender equality. This applies to commitments such as the international climate finance commitment of $5.3 billion over 5 years, including over $2 billion for climate adaptation projects, of which $1 billion will be for projects that leverage nature-based solutions and contribute to biodiversity co-benefits. It would also apply to the $350 million for developing countries to implement the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, and the additional $200 million contribution to the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework Fund (GBFF). Each year since 2020, Canada has ranked as the top OECD donor for share of aid supporting gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.Footnote 3

Overall, Canada is on track to meet this target compared to many other CBD Parties and has been recognized as a leader in advancing gender equality and a feminist approach throughout its partnerships and investments globally. However, continuing to make progress on gender equality will require awareness raising, stakeholder engagement, and monitoring and evaluation.

Target alignment with United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

A table summarizing the intersection of our 2030 targets and the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Target alignment with United Nations Sustainable Development Goals
SDG Intersections with 2030 targets
1 – No poverty 11, 19, 22
2 – Zero hunger 4, 7, 8, 9, 10, 13, 16, 17, 18
3 – Good health and well-being 7, 13
4 – Quality education 16
5 – Gender equality 19, 22, 23
6 – Clean water and sanitation 2, 3, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21
7 – Affordable and clean energy No intersections
8 – Decent work and economic growth 16
9 – Industry, innovation, and infrastructure 11, 15, 16
10 – Reduced inequalities 19, 20, 22, 23
11 – Sustainable cities and communities 3, 7, 12, 19
12 – Responsible consumption and production 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20
13 – Climate action 2, 7, 8, 11, 13, 17, 19
14 – Life below water 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21
15 – Life on land 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21
16 – Peace, justice, and strong institutions 22, 23
17 – Partnerships for the goals 19, 20, 21

Target alignment with 2020 Biodiversity Goals and Targets for Canada

A table summarizing how the previous 2020 Biodiversity Goals and Targets for Canada map to the new 2030 targets, plus the results for the 2020 goals and targets (i.e., whether the target was met, partially met, not met, or unclear). Those 2030 targets without a relevant 2020 counterpart are: 13, 15-20, 23.

Target alignment with 2020 Biodiversity Goals and Targets for Canada
2020 targets 2020 results Intersections with 2030 targets
1 - Protected and conserved areas Marine – met; Terrestrial – partially met 3
2 - Species Not met 4
3 - Wetlands Partially met 1, 2
4 - Municipal activities Partially met 1, 12, 14
5 - Climate change adaptation Met 8
6 - Forests Met 10
7 - Agriculture Partially met 10
8 - Aquaculture Met 5, 10
9 - Fisheries Not met 5, 9, 10
10 - Pollution Not met 7
11 - Invasive alien species Met 6
12 - Customary use of biological resources Unclear 22
13 - Innovative mechanisms Met 1
14 - Biodiversity science and knowledge Partially met 21
15 - Indigenous knowledge Partially met 21, 22
16 - Inventory of protected spaces Partially met 3
17 - Measures of natural capital Met 11, 14
18 - Biodiversity in school curricula Met 21
19 - Canadians in nature Met 12

2020 Biodiversity Goals and Targets for Canada

Target 1: By 2020, at least 17 percent of terrestrial areas and inland water, and 10 percent of coastal and marine areas, are conserved through networks of protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures.

Target 2: By 2020, species that are secure remain secure, and populations of species at risk listed under federal law exhibit trends that are consistent with recovery strategies and management plans.

Target 3: By 2020, Canada's wetlands are conserved or enhanced to sustain their ecosystem services through retention, restoration and management activities.

Target 4: By 2020, biodiversity considerations are integrated into municipal planning and activities of major municipalities across Canada.

Target 5: By 2020, the ability of Canadian ecological systems to adapt to climate change is better understood, and priority adaptation measures are underway.

Target 6: By 2020, continued progress is made on the sustainable management of Canada's forests.

Target 7: By 2020, agricultural working landscapes provide a stable or improved level of biodiversity and habitat capacity.

Target 8: By 2020, all aquaculture in Canada is managed under a science-based regime that promotes the sustainable use of aquatic resources (including marine, freshwater and land based) in ways that conserve biodiversity.

Target 9: By 2020, all fish and invertebrate stocks and aquatic plants are managed and harvested sustainably, legally and applying ecosystem-based approaches.

Target 10: By 2020, pollution levels in Canadian waters, including pollution from excess nutrients, are reduced or maintained at levels that support healthy aquatic ecosystems.

Target 11: By 2020, pathways of invasive alien species introductions are identified, and risk-based intervention or management plans are in place for priority pathways and species.

Target 12: By 2020, customary use by Aboriginal peoples of biological resources is maintained, compatible with their conservation and sustainable use.

Target 13: By 2020, innovative mechanisms for fostering the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity are developed and applied.

Target 14: By 2020, the science base for biodiversity is enhanced and knowledge of biodiversity is better integrated and more accessible.

Target 15: By 2020, Aboriginal traditional knowledge is respected, promoted and, where made available by Aboriginal peoples, regularly, meaningfully and effectively informing biodiversity conservation and management decision-making.

Target 16: By 2020, Canada has a comprehensive inventory of protected spaces that includes private conservation areas.

Target 17: By 2020, measures of natural capital related to biodiversity and ecosystem services are developed on a national scale, and progress is made in integrating them into Canada's national statistical system.

Target 18: By 2020, biodiversity is integrated into the elementary and secondary school curricula.

Target 19: By 2020, more Canadians get out into nature and participate in biodiversity conservation activities.

Annex 2: High-level overview of the Domestic Biodiversity Monitoring Framework

The Domestic Biodiversity Monitoring Framework (DBMF) will help us account for the actions we have committed to and report on the results achieved. It helps signal whether biodiversity loss has halted and begun to reverse in Canada. Where possible, the DBMF will measure performance by making links between our commitments, actions, and biodiversity outcomes, in turn giving us the opportunity to adapt and improve our efforts to conserve biodiversity.

The DBMF outlines the mandatory 26 headline indicators found in the Monitoring Framework of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (KMGBF), as well as additional domestic indicators that help address elements of the targets not covered by the mandatory headline indicators. In some instances, additional potential domestic measurements have been included alongside certain headline indicators. This is to address the fact that headline indicators are common measures that all countries can universally report upon, and these common denominators sometimes do not tell us as much about our own domestic situation, or do not provide us with true signals about biodiversity in Canada.

The individual indicators used in the DBMF are not intended to provide a comprehensive assessment of biodiversity, and collectively the indicators will not paint a detailed picture of the whole of nature. What they do instead is tell us about the status of key elements of biodiversity that help inform us about key trends or changes in biodiversity.

The DBMF contains a mix of direct indicators of the status of biodiversity, indicators on whether planned actions to conserve biodiversity are underway, and performance indicators of how well those actions are stopping and reversing biodiversity loss. While there has been an effort to focus on direct indicators of biodiversity status, there is not always sufficient information or knowledge to be able to do so.  

Certain indicators could apply to multiple targets (e.g., some species-specific indicators, such as under Targets 4 - species recovery and 5 - species exploitation, could also apply to ecosystem-level targets, such as Targets 2 - ecosystem restoration and 3 - protected and conserved areas). In the table later in this annex for simplicity they are reflected only in the targets where they would demonstrate the performance that is most direct/strongest linked to the target focus.

There are also overarching indicators that apply across the monitoring framework that speak to how we have implemented the biodiversity strategy, and whether the necessary functions are in place to enable and sustain whole-of-society transformational changes. These indicators help signal whether there has there been equitable inclusion of all parts of society (Targets 12, 13, 22, 23), the necessary capacity and resources are in place (19, 20), people and nature are safe (17), and information is available for us to make informed sustainable choices (15, 16).

There are a number of targets that are focused on mainstreaming actions across different parts of society, the economy, and government to bring about transformative change (e.g., Targets 10, 11, 14, 15, 18, 19, 22, 23). The corresponding indicators are process based, with clear expectations of what actions are required to effect change, actions that hopefully produce outcomes that can be seen in future measurements of Targets 1-8.

Some aspects of the CBD’s KMGBF Monitoring Framework are still under development. This means parts of the DBMF are likewise still under development, or require confirmation, as indicated by the To Be Determined (TBD) notes beside indicators in the table below. To address the needed further development of the international framework, the CBD has formed an Ad Hoc Technical Expert Group (AHTEG) on indicators. They are currently:

The AHTEG’s final report is to be released by the CBD in Spring 2024. This means that any potential national reporting of headline indicators noted in the DBMF is subject to change. Domestic indicators currently in the DBMF will also be subject to change as the DBMF continues to evolve, or if they become redundant with any release of new headline indicators by the AHTEG.

The DBMF as presented here is intended as a high-level summary and overview of select indicators (not an exhaustive list), given the potential for revisions. It is an overview of the general scope of the DBMF indicators, as well as their reporting programs and status. It also notes the indicators where more work is required.

The Domestic Indicators and measures already exist within various government monitoring and reporting programs. However, it is not practical to include all the relevant indicators that exist to fully capture the complex relationships between, for example, species and stressors in a monitoring framework for 23 targets. In addition, the indicators are intended to be national, not federal, in their scope. Therefore, it is important to look at other indicators and monitoring programs across Canada to ensure a full detailed picture of biodiversity. Additions of provincial, territorial, Indigenous, or municipal programs and measures are encouraged to strengthen the monitoring framework. Likewise, there are other groups, such as the Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute or the Ontario Biodiversity Council, that provide valuable information and perspectives.

The ‘high-level’ DBMF uses a relatively conservative number of existing indicators to tell an accessible story about biodiversity for Canadians. It is not intended to be a comprehensive measure of all aspects of biodiversity. The intention is to have a strong set of key indicators that can tell a bigger story. However, where we have overlooked, or are missing significant signals about the state of biodiversity there will be a need to expand our thinking and go to Canadians to find out how we can better chart our progress in halting and reversing biodiversity loss.

High-level version of Canada's Domestic Biodiversity Monitoring Framework

Indicators marked with an asterisk (*): an agreed up-to-date methodology does not exist for this indicator. The Ad Hoc Technical Expert Group is currently working with partners develop these indicators.

High-level version of Canada's Domestic Biodiversity Monitoring Framework
Target Indicator Indicator type What it measures Reporting source/organization Status
1 A.1 Red List of Ecosystems Headline TBD-CBD
Risk or threat status across sets of ecosystem types, based on the proportion of ecosystems in each Red List risk category.
ECCC Under development
1 A.2 Extent of natural ecosystems Headline TBD-CBD
The extent in area of natural ecosystems.
StatCan Under development  
1 1.1 Percent of land and sea area covered by biodiversity-inclusive spatial plans* Headline TBD - CBD
The area of Canada’s territory with existing spatial planning or effective management processes.
ECCC Not existing/requires development
1 Land-use change Domestic This indicator measures the amount of land-use change from 2010 to 2015. It reports the proportion of agricultural land that has been converted to settlement and the amount of forest that has been converted to cropland or settlement in Canada south of 60° North. Canadian Environmental Sustainability Indicators Existing/in use
1 Extent of Canada’s wetlands Domestic Extent of wetlands in Canada. Canadian Environmental Sustainability Indicators Existing/in use
2 2.2 Area under restoration* Headline TBD-CBD TBD TBD
2 Natural connections between ecosystems Domestic TBD PC Under development
2 Restoring the Great Lakes Areas of Concern Domestic This indicator assesses progress towards the restoration of Canada’s 12 Areas of Concern and the 5 Areas of Concern shared with the United States. An Area of Concern is a region in the Great Lakes that has experienced a high level of environmental damage from human activity. Canadian Environmental Sustainability Indicators Existing/in use
2 Progress toward Canada’s pledge to the Bonn Challenge Domestic Terrestrial ecosystems under restoration (area by ecosystem types). ECCC in collaboration with NRCan, PC, and other participating organizations Under development
3 3.1 Coverage of protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures
(Domestic indicator – Canada’s conserved areas)
Headline Terrestrial and inland water, and coastal and marine areas are conserved and managed. Canadian Environmental Sustainability Indicators Existing/in use
3 Ecological integrity of national parks Domestic The Ecological integrity of national parks indicator summarizes the condition (good, fair, poor) and trend (improving, stable, declining) of ecosystems within 42 national parks. Canadian Environmental Sustainability Indicators Existing/in use
4 A.3 Red list Index Headline The Red List Index value ranges from 1 (all species are categorized as ‘Least Concern’) to 0 (all species are categorized as ‘Extinct’), and so indicates how far the set of species has moved overall towards extinction. TBD Existing/in use
4 A.4 The proportion of populations within species with an effective population size > 500 Headline TBD-CBD
Genetic diversity within species populations. The proportion of populations within an overall species population with a genetically effective population size > 500, for 100+ representative species.
TBD Under development
4 Species at risk population trends Domestic The indicator shows whether the population and distribution trends of species at risk are consistent with the objectives set out in final recovery strategies or management plans. Canadian Environmental Sustainability Indicators Existing/in use
4 Canadian species index Domestic The Canadian species index represents the average percent change in the sizes of Canadian vertebrate species’ populations since 1970. Canadian Environmental Sustainability Indicators Existing/in use
4 General status of wild species Domestic Extinction risks vary across groups, as does the state of knowledge. The main indicator summarizes the general status of species in Canada. It also highlights the general status of particular groups of species, as well as the general status in each region (provinces, territories, and oceanic regions). Canadian Environmental Sustainability Indicators Existing/in use
5 5.1 Proportion of fish stocks within biologically sustainable levels
(Domestic -Harvest levels of key fish stocks)
Headline Domestic -  The indicator compares harvest rates with established harvest limits. These limits are based on scientific information, providing a direct measure of whether we are managing the use of these resources within ecosystem limits. It is one measure of fishing pressure on wild fish stocks. Canadian Environmental Sustainability Indicators Existing/in use
5 Status of key fish stocks Domestic The indicator reports the status of key fish stocks. Federal scientists use a variety of scientific methods to assess fish stock levels and assign them a stock status zone (Healthy, Cautious, or Critical) by comparing the size of the stocks to reference points. If there is insufficient information to determine the stock status zone, the status is uncertain. Stock status is an important element of the precautionary approach. Identification of key fish stocks includes an assessment of stocks that are important for cultural reasons, iconic value and ecosystem reasons. Canadian Environmental Sustainability Indicators Existing/in use
5 Proportion of game species with healthy populations that support sustainable hunting with non-restrictive bag limits and season length Domestic Proportion of game species with healthy populations that support sustainable hunting with non-restrictive bag limits and season length. ECCC


PTs
Existing/in use
6 6.1 Rate of invasive alien species establishment Headline TBD-CBD Canadian Environmental Sustainability Indicators Under development
6 Rate of response to detected IAS Domestic Percent of [newly] detected IAS with an appropriate response plan in place. TBD TBD
7 7.1 Index of coastal eutrophication potential Headline Headline indicator, augmented by four domestic indicators addressing P and N in Great Lakes and L. Winnipeg. ECCC Existing/in use
7 7.2 Pesticide environment concentration* Headline TBD -CBD - TBD
7 Plastic particles in the Northern Fulmar Domestic The proportion of Northern Fulmars with 0.1 grams or more of plastic in their stomachs. Canadian Environmental Sustainability Indicators Existing/in use
7 Rate of fishing gear loss Domestic Percent change in reported net gear loss (in units of gear). DFO Under development
7 Levels of highly hazardous chemicals in biota Domestic Chemical levels in animals harvested as traditional food Northern Indigenous Peoples, and identified as contaminants of concern to whales. CIRNAC, ECCC Existing/in use
7 Air Pollutant Emissions Domestic Air pollutant emissions indicators track emissions from human activities of 6 key air pollutants: sulphur oxides (SOX), nitrogen oxides (NOX), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), ammonia (NH3), carbon monoxide (CO) and fine particulate matter (PM2.5). Canadian Environmental Sustainability Indicators Existing
8 Land-based greenhouse gas emissions and removals Domestic The indicator provides annual estimates of Canada's GHG emissions and removals from managed lands. These are lands influenced by human intervention to perform production, ecological or social functions. Examples include agricultural land, wetlands, settlements, and managed forests. Canadian Environmental Sustainability Indicators Existing/in use
8 Sea ice in Canada Domestic The Sea ice in Canada indicators provide information on the area of sea in Canada covered by ice during the summer season. Canadian Environmental Sustainability Indicators Existing/in use
8 Snow cover Domestic The indicators show how Canada’s snow cover is changing from year-to-year and over time. The indicators report spring snow cover extent and annual snow cover duration. Canadian Environmental Sustainability Indicators   Existing/in use
8 Water quantity in Canadian rivers Domestic This indicator provides information about water flows in rivers across Canada from 2001 to 2019 and by monitoring station in 2019 Canadian Environmental Sustainability Indicators Existing/in use
9 9.1 Benefits from the sustainable use of wild species* Headline TBD-CBD
Social, economic and environmental benefits from the sustainable management and use of wild species.
- -
9 9.2 Percentage of the population in traditional occupations* Headline TBD-CBD
Percent of people in traditional, biodiversity dependent, occupations.
TBD -
9 Sustainable use of wild resources by those most dependent upon them Domestic Indigenous Peoples: Frequency of hunting, fishing or trapping. TBD -
10 10.1 Proportion of agricultural area under productive and sustainable agriculture Headline TBD-CBD
(SDG indicator 2.4.1, provides an assessment of progress towards sustainable agriculture.)
AAFC Not existing/requires development
10 10.2 Progress towards sustainable forest management Headline Canada’s forests are managed sustainably: proportion of forest area under a long-term forest management plan, and forest area under an independently verified forest management certification scheme. NRCan Existing/in use
10 10.2 Progress towards sustainable forest management Domestic Canada’s forests are managed sustainably - Suite of forest sustainability indicators (SDG 15.2.1 sub-indicators and select Montréal Process indicators). NRCan Existing/in use
10 Wildlife habitat capacity on agricultural land Domestic The Wildlife habitat capacity on agricultural land indicator calculates the relative value of farmland for wildlife. Canadian Environmental Sustainability Indicators Existing/in use
11 B.1 Services provided by ecosystems* Headline TBD - CBD
Work has been done to get ecosystem services data on salt marshes, and is being done to compile data for ecosystem services for various ecosystem types.
Trends in value of provisioning ecosystem services for which there is national scale data - existing 2020 measure.
StatCan Under development
11 Status of Nature’s Benefits to humans Domestic TBD – CBD
Work has been done to get ecosystem services data on salt marshes, and is being done to compile data for ecosystem services for various ecosystem types.
Trends in value of ecosystem services for which there is national scale data - existing 2020 measure (for provisioning services only).
StatCan Partially existing/Under development
11 Water quality in Canadian rivers Domestic The indicator classifies the water quality of rivers into 5 categories to give an indication of the ability of a river to support the plants and animals that live in or use the water. Canadian Environmental Sustainability Indicators Existing/in use
12 12.1 Average share of the built-up area of cities that is green/blue space for public use for all Headline TBD-CBD TBD -
12 Designation of new national urban parks Domestic Designation of new national urban parks (FSDS 2022-26). PC Existing/in use
12 Satisfaction with local environment Domestic Personal satisfaction with the quality of local environment such as access to green space, and air or water quality. StatCan Existing/in use
12 National active transportation indicator Domestic Percentage of Canadians who reported using active transportation to get to places such as work, school, the bus stop, the shopping centre or to visit friends. PHAC Existing/in use
13 C.1 Indicator on monetary benefits received* Headline TBD-CBD TBD -
13 C.2 Indicator on non-monetary benefits* Headline TBD-CBD TBD -
14 Placeholder Placeholder Placeholder Placeholder Placeholder
15 15.1 Number of companies reporting on disclosures of risks, dependencies and impacts on biodiversity* Headline TBD - CBD
Percent of large and transnational companies and financial institutions disclosing their biodiversity-related risks, dependencies, and impacts.
TBD -
15 Progressively reduce negative impacts on biodiversity, increase positive impacts Domestic Businesses adopt select environmental practices as per SDG 12. TBD Existing/in use
16 Solid waste diversion and disposal Domestic These indicators report on the total quantity and the quantity per person of non-hazardous solid waste diverted and disposed by municipal governments and businesses in the waste management industry. The waste diversion rate by source (residential and non-residential) and the types of materials diverted are also reported.  Canadian Environmental Sustainability Indicators Existing/in use
16 Sustainable water use Domestic Will be a new indicator including the following existing indicators: Water availability in Canada, Residential water use in Canada and Water withdrawal and consumption by sector. ECCC Under development
17 TBD TBD TBD TBD TBD
18 18.1 Positive incentives in place to promote biodiversity conservation and sustainable use Headline TBD-CBD TBD -
18 18.2 Value of subsidies and other incentives harmful to biodiversity that have been eliminated, phased out or reformed Headline TBD-CBD TBD -
19 D.1 International public funding, including official development assistance (ODA) for conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and ecosystems Headline Canada’s monetary contributions to other countries related to the conservation and the sustainable use of biodiversity. GAC Existing/in use
19 D.2 Domestic public funding on conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and ecosystems Headline Domestic public funding across all governments related to the conservation and the sustainable use of biodiversity. TBD/ECCC -
19 D.3 Private funding (domestic and international) on conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and ecosystems* Headline TBD-CBD GAC, ECCC -
20 TBD TBD TBD TBD TBD
21 21.1 Indicator on biodiversity information for monitoring the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework Headline TBD-CBD
Mobilizing biodiversity data, information, and knowledge for change.
TBD -
21 Access of Indigenous knowledge and technology Domestic - TBD -
22 TBD TBD TBD TBD TBD
23 TBD TBD TBD TBD TBD

Annex 3: What we heard: Engaging Canadians on Canada’s 2030 National Biodiversity Strategy

Background

In December 2022, at the Fifteenth Conference of the Parties (COP15) in Montreal, the Parties to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) agreed on a global framework to halt and reverse the loss of nature: the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (KMGBF) (PDF). With the adoption of this Framework, all Parties to the CBD need to update their National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans in time for COP16 that is planned for late 2024. Canada has committed to develop an ambitious domestic strategy, covering a broad spectrum of nature conservation and sustainable use actions.

The conservation, protection, restoration, and sustainable use of biodiversity are shared responsibilities in Canada, and a whole-of-government, whole-of-society approach is crucial. While the Government of Canada is leading the development of the 2030 Biodiversity Strategy, it will require all of us to work together to halt and begin to reverse biodiversity loss by 2030 and put us on track to living in harmony with nature by 2050.

Over the spring and summer of 2023, Canadians were encouraged to participate in events where they could voice their thoughts on biodiversity priorities for the next decade. These included a National Biodiversity Symposium, an online survey, detailed written submissions, and targeted engagement sessions.

On May 15, 2023, Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) hosted a National Biodiversity Symposium that officially launched engagement on the development of a 2030 Biodiversity Strategy for Canada. Over 1000 participants joined the National Biodiversity Symposium to listen and interact with a diverse range of speakers representing various levels of government, Indigenous leaders, and other partners and stakeholders.

Following the Symposium, the Government of Canada launched an online survey to seek Canadians’ views on the development of Canada’s 2030 Biodiversity Strategy. The survey included 15 questions, derived from the discussion paper Towards a 2030 Biodiversity Strategy for Canada. By the closing date of July 14, 2023, over 2,100 surveys had been submitted (see Supplementary Information A for survey results). In addition to the survey, over 60 organizations, including Canada’s new Nature Advisory Committee, filed detailed written submissions (see Supplementary Information B for a list of all organizations that submitted input).

The Nature Advisory Committee is a group of experts with a range of perspectives that provides strategic advice and recommendations on biodiversity conservation and sustainable use of land and resources to both the Department and Minister of Environment and Climate Change.

The Government of Canada also hosted over 30 targeted engagement sessions with key partners and stakeholders to discuss the development and implementation of a 2030 Biodiversity Strategy. During the engagement sessions, input was received from National Indigenous Organizations (NIOs), youth, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), municipalities, nature education organizations, scientists and academia, and sectors such as finance, philanthropy, agriculture, fisheries, and natural resources (see Supplementary Information C for a list of organizations at the targeted engagement sessions). Provinces and territories were also engaged through existing federal-provincial-territorial working groups related to biodiversity conservation.

Summary of what we heard from Canadians

Through the engagement process, ECCC received input from Canadians on what a new National Biodiversity Strategy should look like, including, biodiversity priorities, challenges, opportunities, and innovations to help bring Canada closer to meeting the GBF goals and targets.

Priorities identified by Canadians

Through the online survey, respondents identified restoration, spatial planning, managing invasive alien species, species at risk, and protected and conserved areas as the thematic areas on which to focus effort.  

Through the Symposium, written submissions and targeted engagement sessions, other priorities emerged such as climate change mitigation, integrating Indigenous knowledge into conservation efforts, consistency within policies and regulations (policy coherence), and improved inclusive governance to reach our biodiversity goals and targets. While individual targets were also identified as priorities, there was an emphasis on taking a holistic approach to address the diverse, yet interconnected, nature of the 23 targets set out in the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework.

The key priorities identified by Canadians throughout the engagement process are categorized into three broad themes:

  1. Biodiversity conservation and climate change mitigation
  2. Policy coherence
  3. Whole-of-society approach

1. Biodiversity conservation and climate change mitigation

Canadians identified biodiversity conservation and restoration and climate change mitigation as core elements of the Strategy. The restoration of degraded areas was noted as an area where governments could greatly contribute through the identification of priority areas for restoration. Other actions highlighted as priorities include:

2. Policy coherence

Respondents noted the importance of legislative and regulatory consistency to the protection of biodiversity. Many participants, including NGOs, the general public, National Indigenous Organizations and youth, emphasized a need for decision-making processes that prioritize nature as a goal and outcome onto itself. Participants identified a range of actions to ensure policy coherence, including:

3. Whole-of-society approach

Canadians emphasized that meeting the goals and targets of the GBF will require a whole-of-society approach by including Canadians, all levels of government, and all sectors in the development and implementation of the Strategy. The importance of engagement with Indigenous Peoples, women and girls, and youth was emphasized. Participants suggested a number of actions and initiatives, including:

Apart from governance, participants highlighted the role of education and outreach to successful KMGBF implementation. Targeted education and outreach will enable the public to access information and educate themselves on biodiversity, stay informed on progress and remain motivated. Specific actions suggested by participants include:

Areas where progress is being made

Canadians identified four areas where they thought progress is already being made in Canada toward the goals and targets of the GBF:

  1. Establishment of protected and conserved areas
  2. Species at risk recovery;
  3. Indigenous leadership in conservation; and,
  4. Public outreach and communications.

1. Establishment of protected and conserved areas

Participants acknowledged that Canada is making progress on protected and conserved areas, particularly in the north, but noted the slower pace toward meeting terrestrial targets. Participants welcomed initiatives such as Project Finance for Permanence, which is seen as an innovative financing model to facilitate protection and prioritize Indigenous-led conservation.  However, participants also noted that there is a need for the establishment of protected and conserved areas in southern Canada and in more densely populated areas. Land Trusts were identified as a key tool to contribute towards the establishment of these areas. However, there were concerns raised that progress is slow and targets will be difficult to meet in a timely manner.

2. Species at risk recovery

It was recognized that there have been substantial efforts towards habitat restoration for caribou by all levels of government and industry. However, respondents also indicated that lesser-known species require more attention in terms of data, monitoring and conservation efforts.

3. Indigenous leadership in conservation

Participants acknowledged the central role of Indigenous communities, organizations and governments in conservation, and celebrated that Target 22 puts an emphasis on their leadership. Participants noted existing successful Indigenous-led conservation efforts that should be continued, including Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas (IPCAs), partnerships with Indigenous governments and communities and philanthropy through the Project Finance for Permanence initiative, and Indigenous Guardians. However, Indigenous Peoples and many other stakeholders emphasized a need for consistent long-term funding for Indigenous Peoples to continue to take leadership in biodiversity conservation, protection and restoration.

4. Public education and outreach

Finally, it was noted that progress is being made in educating the public, particularly youth in schools, about the positive effects of biodiversity conservation such as food and water security, reducing disease and spread, flood mitigation, livelihoods, and mental and physical health benefits.

Challenges in halting and reversing biodiversity loss

The main challenges to halting and reversing biodiversity loss frequently mentioned throughout the engagement process, including the online survey, submissions and engagement sessions, were as follows: the difficulty in affecting individual and business decisions so that nature is prioritized in decision making, difficulty coordinating between the different levels of government, and a lack of resources to implement solutions to biodiversity loss. Participants also expressed that the exacerbating effects of climate change on biodiversity loss will pose a large threat to our ability to halt loss and restore nature in Canada.

1. Valuing biodiversity

It was emphasized that there needs to be a shift in society so that individuals, organizations, and governments prioritize nature, biodiversity, and sustainability in decision-making however challenging this might be. Decision making processes need to be re-balanced to recognize the inherent rights of nature and people’s rights to a clean, healthy environment. It was suggested that nature, biodiversity, climate change, reconciliation and gender should figure prominently in mandate letters across the government. While some expressed concerns about the impacts unlimited economic growth has on biodiversity loss, others mentioned the need for more tools, resources, and capacity building to incorporate nature into decision-making processes, policies and strategies. In addition, enabling and encouraging business and consumers to make more environmentally sustainable decisions as their top priority will be a key challenge. It was suggested that the business sector be incentivized and rewarded to have nature-positive outcomes. Likewise, the desire was expressed for mainstreaming nature and becoming a country that deeply values the conservation of nature.

2. Resources and a whole-of-government approach

It was expressed that a key challenge will be getting agreement among federal, provincial, territorial, and municipal governments to collectively prioritize, act upon, and uphold biodiversity commitments. There was also recognition of the important role that municipalities play in protecting biodiversity, particularly in land-use planning and urban development. Municipalities noted that sustainable management is a challenge due to land-use changes and burdensome cross-compliance and regulations. In addition, a lack of resources, particularly data, knowledge and financial resources, was frequently mentioned as a challenge to having both a whole-of-government and whole-of-society approach, as well as a general impairment to meeting our biodiversity goals and targets. The need for sufficient financial resources to support conservation programs, the adoption of sustainable practices, and closing knowledge and data gaps was noted. Likewise voiced was that transformative action requires scaled-up resources, as well as new innovative ways to increase funding.

3. Climate change exacerbates biodiversity loss

The frequency of devastating weather events such as floods and forest fires are making it more difficult to stop biodiversity loss associated with the destruction of natural areas. It was noted that climate change is altering natural ecosystems resulting in more habitat loss and further environmental harm, shifting species ranges, and causing species loss. In particular, participants expressed concern about the impacts of climate change on oceans and fish stocks, and emphasized that the Strategy must consider how to adapt to the changing environmental conditions. It was recognized that biodiversity plays an important role in climate change adaptation and building resilience to extreme weather events and diseases. It was also recognized that climate change will make it more difficult to protect critically endangered species as extreme weather events continue to destroy unique habitats that are essential for their survival.

Key features for success

In addition to the key priorities mentioned above that could contribute to the success of Canada’s 2030 Biodiversity Strategy, the following elements were also highlighted by Canadians.

1. Integrating the value of nature into decision making

The need to integrate the value of nature into decision-making for governments, businesses, and landowners was raised. Meaningful action was seen as more likely to occur if nature is represented on the balance sheet. It was suggested that concrete data and information on ecosystem and natural asset valuation should be provided at the regional level, standards for ecosystem valuation could be developed, and data on the dependencies and impacts on nature, including across value chains, should be provided. This information was remarked as being particularly useful for municipalities, land-use planners and agricultural producers. Further comments were that there are multiple values to biodiversity and not all values can be quantified – we need to understand the economic along with the contextual and non-monetary values.

It was conveyed that there is a need for strong regional land-use planning that considers biodiversity, reduces competition for land and coordinates across different players in this context. It was raised that the successful implementation of Target 1, for example, can inform multiple other biodiversity targets, such as addressing ecosystem restoration and establishment of protected areas, as well as facilitating inclusive involvement in planning. It was also expressed that planning should be led locally and that the federal government instead support these efforts and be a partner where invited. Several provinces and territories already have ecosystem valuation initiatives that could be scaled up (i.e., Quebec’s valuation of land, Ontario’s wetland offsetting policy). Similarly, in the fisheries sector, the use of an ecosystem-approach to fisheries management could be scaled up across Canada.

2. Indigenous Peoples as leaders in conservation

There was general agreement that Canada will not be able to meet its targets without the full participation and policy co-development with Indigenous Peoples. It was highlighted that governments must involve Indigenous Peoples in conservation efforts, and that based on their traditional knowledge, Indigenous leaders and communities should be able to create or co-create IPCAs and draft their own conservation strategies. In addition, governments need to recognize and honour Indigenous Knowledge, and oral history, view Knowledge Holders and elders as equivalent to western science and scientists, and braid traditional knowledge into decision-making, policies and land management. Also noted was that long-term, consistent and flexible funding mechanisms are needed to support capacity and conservation initiatives. Furthermore, it was felt that the Strategy should also recognize the connection between the land and women, particularly Indigenous women.

3. Incentivizing sustainable practices in key productive sectors

Voices from key productive sectors, such as fisheries, forestry, agriculture and mining noted the importance of implementing sustainable practices to protect, conserve and restore biodiversity through their activities, and the need for continued engagement and coordination to successfully implement and achieve the goals in the Strategy. Several sectors highlighted existing successes that can be built upon, such as creating habitat for biodiversity in the forestry sector, adoption of beneficial on-farm land use and management practices to enhance ecosystem services in the agriculture sector, reclamation activities in the mining sector, and species at risk habitat recovery efforts in the energy sector. Key productive sectors noted an interest in Other Effective Area-based Conservation Measures (OECMs) and other flexible protection measures, as well as the need to be recognized and compensated for additional voluntary actions to preserve biodiversity. Solutions also need to be tailored to the geographical and other regional contexts in order to most effectively support conservation efforts. Provinces and territories hold jurisdiction over many key productive sector activities, and need to be engaged partners. Strengthening policies and regulations around mitigation, protection and restoration could guide industry. Industry has asked to be recognized for early and voluntary actions. 

4. New, creative, and enhanced funding mechanisms

It was urged that governments think creatively about new financing models for supporting action. While it was felt that direct funding works well, there is a need to make sure money does not always go to the same groups and that small local groups are supported as well. In addition, new revenue streams need to be explored, such as biodiversity credits (akin to carbon credits), market-based instruments, subsidies, and incentives. Similarly, the agriculture sector expressed the need for an enabling financial environment that recognizes the value of ecosystem services to incentivize producers to increase adoption of innovative and biodiversity-friendly practices. Participants articulated the importance to implementation of long-term, consistent funding for on-the-ground groups and Indigenous Peoples. 

5. Strong accountability measures

It was emphasized that strong accountability measures are necessary to ensure that the government fulfills its commitments. Suggestions included establishing a biodiversity accountability act that puts in place a long-term accountability framework, and transparent public reporting on progress towards targets. Such actions, it was mentioned, would need to be backed by strong mechanisms to monitor progress towards targets. It was proposed that monitoring would need to take a holistic approach by collecting information from diverse perspectives. Successfully meeting all the biodiversity targets on time by or before 2030 is of utmost importance.

6. Access to data and information

It was voiced that there is a need for scientific information that can inform the design and evaluation of policy options and business decisions. The following types of information were identified as particularly useful: social science information, sustainable use and harvesting information, impacts of climate change on biodiversity, cumulative effects, landscape management and biodiversity, protected areas, species migration, genetic resources, ecosystem resilience, impacts of pollution, and mapping of ecologically and biologically significant areas. It was noted that science will also need to monitor changes and rates of change in biodiversity and assess the effectiveness of methods to halt and reverse biodiversity loss.

There were mentions of a need to ensure that databases are as accessible and open-access as possible so that as many people as possible can initiate projects, build on existing work, data and information, and encourage bottom-up action. While there are substantial amounts of non-governmental data (i.e., community level, NGOs, forestry sector, mining sector) that can be leveraged, the need for national leadership from the federal government to develop a national database was highlighted. Collaboration on data collection and sharing between researchers, private/industry stakeholders, and scientists will be vital. It was stated that Indigenous science and data sovereignty must also be considered in the development and use of digital tools and information sharing. Likewise, additional funding was urged to support NGOs to develop baseline data and assessments. Increased data was also seen as helping to inform the public and increase collaboration efforts.

7. Education and communication

There was an expression of the importance of public communication and education to allow for a greater understanding of nature, allow communities to reconnect with nature and to get everyone on board to take action. Education was seen as taking many forms such as integrating biodiversity education in school curricula, land-based learning, storytelling, using influencers, engaging youth, and using social media, among others.  

8. Ongoing engagement

Almost all stakeholders and partners who were engaged highlighted the importance of ongoing engagement throughout the development and implementation of the Strategy in order to assure its success. Indigenous Peoples highlighted the importance of process and the need for a forum for ongoing engagement through a distinctions-based approach. That being said, concerns were raised about the overload of planning and engagement occurring, leading to engagement fatigue, and there was a call for better coordination to focus efforts. 

Conclusion

This is a summary of what was heard from Canadians at the National Biodiversity symposium, online survey results, submissions and targeted engagement sessions to support planning for domestic implementation of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework. A wide range of knowledge and views were shared on issues, opportunities, and challenges for working towards Canada’s biodiversity commitments. These contributions will help inform the drafting of a 2030 Biodiversity Strategy for Canada that is aligned with the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework goals and targets.

Supplementary information A:  Public Opinion Research (POR) Results

This annex includes the results from the online survey on the 2030 Biodiversity Strategy. The online survey was launched on May 15, 2023, accompanied by a discussion paper Towards a 2030 Biodiversity Strategy for Canada, and closed on July 14 with a total of 2,116 completed responses.

Engaging Canadians on the 2030 Biodiversity Strategy for Canada. July 2023. For any questions about this report, reach out to the POR team at POR-ROP@ec.gc.ca
Figure 4

Background and methodology

Coming soon...

Detailed survey results

Figure 5 (See long description below)
Figure 5
Long description for Figure 5

A bar graph showing the results of the question: “Which of the following best describes the capacity in which you are completing the survey?” Most respondents identified themselves as part of the general population.

Capacity Percentage of respondents (n=2,116)
Individual (general population) 80%
Representative of a non-government organization 7%
Representative of a business/industry organization in agriculture, i.e. farmer, fertilizer 3%
Representative of a business/industry organization (other) 2%
Academic / Researchers / Education (teachers/students) 1%
Representative of an Indigenous organization 1%
Representative of a government organization (federal level) 1%
Representative of a government organization (municipal level) 1%
Representative of a government organization (other) 1%
Other 2%
Figure 5a (See long description below)
Figure 5a
Long description for Figure 5a

A bar graph showing the results of the question: “What role does your organization currently play in supporting biodiversity conservation?” Among respondents who represented an organization, half are involved in coordination and collaboration, on-the-ground action/stewardship, science and data, public awareness, and capacity and expertise.

Role Percentage of respondents who represent an organization (n=361)
Coordination and collaboration 53%
On the ground action / stewardship 53%
Science and data 52%
Public awareness 52%
Capacity and expertise 46%
Policy analysis and decision-making 41%
Engagement and reconciliation with Indigenous peoples 31%
Financial resources 23%
Advocacy, Communication/information sharing, Engagement 4%
Conservation efforts 2%
Other 4%
None of the above 2%
Figure 5b (See long description below)
Figure 5b
Long description for Figure 5b

A bar graph showing the results of the question: “How do you / does your organization stay informed about biodiversity initiatives, programs, and policies?” Over two thirds of respondents stay informed about biodiversity through subscriptions to newsletters from non-governmental organizations.

Source Percentage of respondents (n=2,116)
Newsletters from non-governmental organizations 70%
Canadian news outlets 62%
Provincial, territorial and/or municipal news releases and websites 51%
Government of Canada news releases and websites 45%
Scientific peer-reviewed journals 41%
Social media (LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tiktok, YouTube) 5%
Environmental groups / NGOs / community organizations 4%
Word of mouth (friends, family, colleagues) 2%
Online resources (blogs, search engines) 1%
International organizations 1%
Consultants, experts in the field 1%
Traditional media (newspapers, TV, radio) 1%
Academia, research associations, scientific journals/publications 1%
Federal government sources (department’s websites) 1%
Other 3%

Identifying key features for a successful 2030 Biodiversity Strategy

Figure 6 (See long description below)
Figure 6
Long description for Figure 6

A bar graph showing the results of the question: “In your opinion, what thematic areas of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework should Canada prioritize and focus efforts on?” The thematic areas of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework that received most support for prioritization are “Protected and conserved areas” (35%) and “Recovery of species at risk” (31%).

Thematic area Percentage of respondents (n=2,116)
Protected and conserved areas 35%
Recovery of species at risk 31%
Managing invasive alien species 28%
Biodiversity-inclusive spatial planning 27%
Restoration of terrestrial and marine ecosystems 26%
Harvesting and trade of wild species 19%
Pollution reduction 16%
Sustainable management of agriculture, aquaculture, fisheries, and forests 13%
Enhancing natural ecosystem functions 13%
Access to urban green and blue spaces 13%
Equitable sharing of benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources and digital sequence information 13%
Reforming incentives harmful for biodiversity 11%
Mobilizing financial resources 9%
Recognizing and mitigating the adverse effects of artificially generated electromagnetic fields 2%
Support sustainable consumption (i.e. promote plant-based diets, reduce animal agriculture) 1%
Protect animals, biodiversity, agricultural areas from current practices (e.g. hunting, urban sprawl) 1%
Policy to reduce pollution, pesticide use, pharmaceuticals, CO2, GHG, geoengineering 1%
Other 6%
Figure 6a (See long description below)
Figure 6a
Long description for Figure 6a

A bar graph showing the results of the question: “In which of the following areas do you think Canada is already making noticeable progress?” Canada’s progress seems more noticeable from the creation of protected areas. Over a third of respondents see noticeable progress on creating Indigenous protected and conserved areas (37%) and establishing a network of protected and conserved areas across the country (34%).

Area Percentage of respondents (n=2,116)
Advancing reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples, for example, by creating Indigenous protected and conserved areas 37%
Establishing a network of protected and conserved areas across the country 34%
Appropriate representation and engagement of stakeholders and Canadians in biodiversity programs 13%
Addressing the twin crises of climate change and biodiversity loss in a coordinated way 11%
Reducing threats to biodiversity loss 9%
Sharing of and access to the benefits of biodiversity 9%
Factoring biodiversity in policy and business decision-making at all levels 8%
Sustainable use of biodiversity 7%
Including plant-based foods in dietary guidelines (e.g., Canada Food Guide) 1%
Other 4%
None of the above 27%
Not enough progress / Not noticeable / Too slow, late 3%
Don’t know 9%
Figure 6b (See long description below)
Figure 6b
Long description for Figure 6b

A bar graph showing the results of the question: “For Canada’s 2030 Biodiversity Strategy to be successful, what do you think are the key features that should be included?” Nearly 6 in 10 respondents believe the key features that should be included in Canada’s 2030 Biodiversity Strategy are “Biodiversity considerations in economic decision-making” (63%), and “Creating additional protected and conserved areas” (58%). 

Key feature Percentage of respondents (n=2,116)
Biodiversity considerations in economic decision-making 63%
Creating additional protected and conserved areas 58%
Collaboration with provinces and territories 50%
Integration of western and Indigenous science and knowledge 46%
Additional funding resources 44%
Indigenous-led initiatives 38%
Additional research and data 22%
Diversity, equity, inclusion, and societal considerations in biodiversity decision-making 22%
Enforcement/increase of current regulations and laws related to protection and pollution 2%
Transform agri-food system to promote plant-based diets, organic farming, reduction of animal agriculture 2%
Consult stakeholders having an impact on/by biodiversity decisions (e.g., farmers, NGOs, community orgs, Indigenous groups, local gov) 1%
Reduce pollution (e.g., from fossil fuels, plastics, EMF, forest fires, GHG) 1%
Stop funding and lobbying of fossil fuel industry 1%
Reduce urban sprawl that kills wetlands 1%
Other 8%
None of the above 1%
Don’t know 1%
Figure 6c (See long description below)
Figure 6c
Long description for Figure 6c

A bar graph showing the results of the question: “What challenges do you see in Canada halting and reversing biodiversity loss?” The main challenges seen by nearly 6 in 10 respondents to halt and reverse biodiversity loss include “Coherence between legislation, regulations, and policies in order to provide ongoing, consistent protection for biodiversity” (62%), and “Biodiversity and ecosystem services being prioritized in decision-making” (58%).    

Challenge Percentage of respondents (n=2,116)
Coherence between legislation, regulations, and policies in order to provide ongoing, consistent protection for biodiversity 62%
Biodiversity and ecosystem services being prioritized in decision-making 58%
Sufficient financial resources and incentives to support programs and initiatives needed to meet targets 56%
Coordination and collaboration given jurisdictional responsibilities between federal and provincial, territorial governments 55%
Public awareness and education to garner support for initiatives and inspire on-the-ground action 43%
Meaningful engagement with Indigenous Peoples 32%
Sufficient and available science and data to support monitoring of progress 25%
Adequate skills and expertise within organizations to execute programs and initiatives to meet targets 24%
Geographical size, diversity of landscapes, and complexity of interrelations within and among ecosystems in Canada 24%
Impact of the current unsustainable food system 1%
Prioritizing economic growth and urban development 1%
Decision making based on politics / lack of leadership 1%
Inadequate/insufficient enforcement of regulations/laws 1%
Divesting from fossil fuels 1%
Other 8%
None of the above 1%
Don’t know 2%
Figure 6d (See long description below)
Figure 6d
Long description for Figure 6d

A bar graph showing the results of the question: “Which of the following groups should be more involved in efforts to halt and reverse biodiversity loss?” Governments at all levels are seen with the duty to help halt and reverse biodiversity loss, particularly provincial/Territorial governments (62%), the federal government (52%), municipal/regional governments (49%), and Indigenous peoples and their governments (47%).      

Group Percentage of respondents (n=2,116)
Provincial or territorial government 62%
Federal government 52%
Municipal or regional government 49%
Indigenous Peoples and governments 47%
Environmental non-governmental organizations 36%
Industry – renewable resources sector 35%
Industry – manufacturing and technology sector 30%
Financial institutions 22%
Academia 19%
Industry – other 18%
Private and public funders – organizations and individuals 18%
Youth 15%
Historically under-represented groups 8%
Women 6%
All of the above / everyone 3%
Agriculture sector and farmers 2%
Other 5%
Figure 6e (See long description below)
Figure 6e
Long description for Figure 6e

A bar graph showing the results of the question: “What skills and expertise do you think organizations need to hone, in order to make progress on reducing threats to biodiversity loss?” According to nearly 4 in 10 respondents, the skills needed in organizations to make progress on reducing threats to biodiversity loss include capacity building for conservation at local/regional levels (44%), sustainable management of biodiversity (44%), management of protected areas (39%), and combining Western and Indigenous knowledge (39%).       

Skills / expertise Percentage of respondents (n=2,116)
Capacity building for conservation at the local/regional level 44%
Sustainable management of biodiversity 44%
Management of protected and conserved areas 39%
Using a combination of Western knowledge and Indigenous Knowledge 39%
Public education 35%
Collaboration 30%
Monitoring and evaluation 29%
Planning and prioritizing 28%
Leveraging financial resources 26%
Communication 22%
Leadership 21%
Knowledge mobilization 19%
Physical and natural sciences 19%
Social sciences and research 10%
Enforcing regulation and accountability effectively / Knowledge of legislation interpretation 1%
Efficiency and willing to act 1%
Other 7%
None of the above 1%
Don’t know 2%

Identifying areas for engaging you or your organization

Figure 7 (See long description below)
Figure 7
Long description for Figure 7

A bar graph showing the results of the question: “In what ways could the Government of Canada best support you / your organization to do more toward halting and reversing biodiversity loss?” Six in ten respondents feel the best support the Government of Canada can provide to do more toward halting and reversing biodiversity loss is to develop regulations or policies to support biodiversity conservation, or remove those not supporting it (64%), or include biodiversity and ecosystem services in policy decision-making at the federal level (62%).       

Area of federal support Percentage of respondents (n=2,116)
Develop regulations or policies to support biodiversity conservation, or remove those not supporting biodiversity conservation 64%
Include biodiversity and ecosystem services in policy decision-making at the federal level 62%
Increase public awareness and participation in biodiversity conservation 42%
Strengthen engagement and reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples 28%
Provide guidance and resource documents to organizations and individuals on actions to take to support biodiversity conservation 22%
Increase opportunities for consultation and engagement on policies and activities 21%
Increase financing / Provide incentives to implement biodiversity restoration and protection for govs, NGO, NFP, industry, and citizens 4%
Enforce regulation compliance and accountability 1%
Stop subsidizing/supporting polluting industries (e.g., fossil fuels, forestry, unsustainable fishing, animal agriculture) 1%
Engage/consult and improve communication with all stakeholders 1%
Better leadership and stewardship 1%
Help change lifestyle (e.g., public transportation, biking, public gardens, EVs, solar panels, plant-based diets) 1%
Other 8%
Figure 7a(See long description below)
Figure 7a
Long description for Figure 7a

A bar graph showing the results of the question: “What roles do you see for your community / for your organization in supporting actions to advance the Global Biodiversity Framework?” Nearly two thirds of respondents feel they can support advancing the Global Biodiversity Framework by doing on the ground action and stewardship (63%), or contributing to public awareness (48%).         

Community / organization supporting role Percentage of respondents (n=2,116)
On the ground action / stewardship 63%
Contributing to public awareness 48%
Coordination and collaboration with related organizations 40%
Sharing science and data 30%
Providing capacity and expertise 23%
Increasing engagement and reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples 22%
Providing policy analysis and decision-making 19%
Talk to others about / advocate for protecting biodiversity 1%
Other 5%
None of the above 3%

Respondent profile

Figure 8(See long description below)
Figure 8
Long description for Figure 8

A bar graph showing whether respondents had read the discussion/background paper Toward a 2030 Biodiversity Strategy for Canada. Seven in ten survey participants indicated they had read the discussion paper.

Response Percentage of respondents (n=2,116)
Yes 69%
No 31%
Figure 8a(See long description below)
Figure 8a
Long description for Figure 8a

A pie graph showing the age of survey respondents. Nearly 6 in 10 survey participants were 45 years old or older.            

Age category Percentage of respondents (n=2,116)
18-24 3%
25-35 16%
35-44 21%
45-54 16%
55-64 19%
65 or older 26%
Figure 8b(See long description below)
Figure 8b
Long description for Figure 8b

A bar graph showing the gender of respondents. The majority of survey participants were women (58%).           

Gender Percentage of respondents (n=2,116)
Female 58%
Male 36%
Other 1%
Prefer not to say 4%
Figure 8c(See long description below)
Figure 8c
Long description for Figure 8c

A bar graph showing the province or territory of survey respondents. Most survey participants were located in Ontario (28%), Quebec (25%), and British Columbia (17%).              

Province/territory Percentage of respondents (n=2,116)
Alberta 9%
British Columbia 17%
Manitoba 5%
New Brunswick 3%
Newfoundland and Labrador <1%
Northwest Territories 1%
Nova Scotia 4%
Nunavut <1%
Ontario 28%
Prince Edward Island 1%
Quebec 25%
Saskatchewan 7%
Yukon <1%

Supplementary information B: Organizations that prepared written submissions

  1. Alliance of Canadian Land Trusts
  2. Alternative Land Use Services
  3. Animal Environmental Legal Advocacy
  4. BC Council of Forest Industries
  5. Birds Canada
  6. Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers
  7. Canadian Biosphere Reserves Association
  8. Canadian Canola Growers Association
  9. Canadian Cattle Association
  10. Canadian Council of Invasive Species
  11. Canadian Educators of Safe Technology
  12. Canadian Federation of Agriculture
  13. Canadian Forest Owners
  14. Canadian Ornamental Horticulture Alliance
  15. Canadian Pork Council
  16. Canadian Sphagnum Peat Moss Association
  17. Canadian Wetlands Roundtable
  18. Canadians for Responsible Food Policy
  19. Canadians for Safe Technology
  20. Canola Council
  21. City of Toronto
  22. Congress of Aboriginal Peoples
  23. Conseil Industrie Forestière Québec
  24. Conseil Patronal Environnement Québec
  25. Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society
  26. CropLife Canada
  27. Dairy Farmers of Canada
  28. David Suzuki Foundation
  29. Ducks Unlimited Canada
  30. Earth Rangers
  31. Ecojustice
  32. Electricity Canada
  33. Electromagnetic Pollution Illnesses Canada
  34. NGO (Non-governmental organizations) Joint Submission (includes the following organizations: Alternative Land Use Services (ALUS), Birds Canada, Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS), David Suzuki Foundation, East Coast Environmental Law, Ecology Action Centre, Ecojustice, Environmental Defence, Natural Resources Defense Council, Nature Canada, Nature Trust of New Brunswick, The ChariTree Foundation, The Wilderness Committee, Wildlife Conservation Society Canada, West Coast Environmental Law, WWF-Canada, Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative)
  1. Explorers and Producers Association of Canada
  2. Fertilizer Canada
  3. Forest New Brunswick
  4. Forest Products Association of Canada
  5. Fruit and Vegetable Growers of Canada
  6. Genome Canada
  7. Innovative Medicines Canada
  8. Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation
  9. Invasive Species Council BC
  10. James Bay Advisory Committee on the Environment
  11. Maa-nulth Treaty Society
  12. Mining Association of Canada
  13. Nature Advisory Committee
  14. Nature Canada
  15. Nature United
  16. Nova Scotia Invasive Species Council
  17. Ocean Wise
  18. Ontario Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks
  19. Pathways Alliance
  20. Prevent Cancer Now
  21. Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada
  22. Pulse Canada
  23. Québec Vert
  24. Réseau Canadian Environmental Network
  25. Réseau Environnement
  26. SAP Canada
  27. Union des producteurs agricoles
  28. Vigilance OGM
  29. Ville de Montréal
  30. Wildlife Conservation Society of Canada
  31. World Animal Protection
  32. Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative

Supplementary information C: List of attendees from targeted engagement sessions

Assembly of First Nations (AFN)

Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK) and Inuit Regions

Métis National Council (MNC)

Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC)

Provinces and Territories

Agriculture – Led by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Education

Finance

Fisheries – Led by Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Municipalities

Natural Resources Sectors – Led by Natural Resources Canada

Non-Governmental organizations

In-person session

Virtual session

Philanthropy

Science

Note: science engagement was done based on individual expertise, not organizational affiliation; the organizations listed below do not necessarily endorse the content of the Milestone Document.

Youth

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