Canada Celebrates the Opening of IMPAC5 – the Fifth International Marine Protected Area Congress  

News release

February 3, 2023

Vancouver, British Columbia - The global ocean is facing mounting pressures from climate change and human activities, resulting in threatened ecosystems and biodiversity loss. The time to act is now, so that generations can inherit an environment that includes a healthy and abundant ocean.

Today, the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, the Honourable Joyce Murray, on behalf of the Government of Canada, welcomed participants to the Fifth International Marine Protected Area Congress – IMPAC5. Taking place from February 3rd to the 9th in Vancouver, British Columbia, this event brings together ocean conservation professionals and high-level officials to inform, inspire and act to protect our shared marine environment.

Canada is grateful to the host First Nations – xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh), the Province of British Columbia, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, and the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society for their partnership, which has made this Congress possible. 

The IMPAC5 Congress will explore the following themes over five days:

  • Building a global marine protected area network
  • Advancing conservation in the blue economy
  • Actively managing marine protected areas and human activity
  • Conserving biodiversity and addressing the climate crisis
  • Connecting ocean, culture and human well-being

Canada is committed to protecting 25 per cent of its marine and coastal areas by 2025 and 30 per cent by 2030. International leaders committed to the 30 per cent target in the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, recently adopted at the Fifteenth Conference of the Parties (COP15) to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity in Montreal in December 2022.

To kick-off IMPAC5, the Government of Canada announced a new Policy Framework for the establishment and management of National Marine Conservation Areas (NMCAs), helping to advance the Government of Canada’s goal for 10 NMCAs. The framework will strengthen Canada’s contribution to the qualitative elements of international marine conservation targets, by setting out how they can be effectively and equitably managed.

Following significant advances made at COP15, the Congress will conclude with the IMPAC5 Leadership Forum. This high-level meeting will bring together global decision makers from various sectors; government, Indigenous organizations, philanthropic foundations, maritime industry, and young professionals, to identify current opportunities and mechanisms that will help us achieve our marine conservation targets.

The Leadership Forum will allow partners and stakeholders to build relationships for the “all-in” collaboration needed to reach the global goals for ocean protection. Conservation experts and high-level officials from around the world – including Her Excellency the Right Honourable Mary Simon – will share best practices and explore ways we can take more coordinated action on marine protected areas.

IMPAC5 will also be an opportunity to hear how Indigenous peoples are leading marine conservation initiatives and stewardship in Canada and around the world and promises to be an opportunity for learning, discussion, and collaboration on some of the most challenging issues facing our oceans. 


“The need to address the crisis of biodiversity loss in our oceans and marine ecosystems is urgent, and Canada is proud to be leading the way. By setting ambitious conservation targets and taking the concrete action needed to end and reverse these losses, we are demonstrating our commitment to protecting our oceans today and creating a more sustainable future for the generations to come.”

The Honourable Joyce Murray, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard

Quick facts

  • IMPAC5 is the Fifth International Marine Protected Areas Congress, a global forum that brings together ocean conservation professionals and high-level officials to inform, inspire and act on marine protected areas. 

  • International Marine Protected Area Congresses (IMPACs) are a collaborative effort between the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the chosen host country. Canada was awarded the honour of hosting IMPAC5 during the closing ceremonies of IMPAC4 in La Serena-Coquimbo, Chile, in 2017.

  • IMPAC5 will be informed by five themes and three cross-cutting streams: Indigenous Peoples Leadership, The Voice of Young Professionals, and Innovation and Transformational Change.

  • This year’s Congress has also been endorsed as an official event of the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (Ocean Decade). As an official Ocean Decade event, IMPAC5 is recognized for investing in, developing, sharing and showcasing science and Indigenous knowledge that will propel governments and communities to study, promote and protect ocean health.

  • Marine protected areas (MPAs) and other designations, such as Other Effective Area-based Conservation Measures (OECMS) and Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas (IPCAs) are some of the most effective tools for protecting and restoring ocean health. To date, 52 countries and territories have protected at least 10 per cent of their marine areas and it is estimated that 7.65 per cent of the world ocean is covered by marine protected areas.

Associated links


Matthew Dillon
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard

Media Relations
Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Ben Stanford
Communications Manager
IMPAC5 Secretariat

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