Federal-Provincial-Territorial Meeting of Ministers Responsible for Parks, Protected Areas, Conservation, Wildlife and Biodiversity

NEWS RELEASE – Canada’s Natural Legacy

Ministers' Declaration 1, 2

As Canadians, we have the privilege of enjoying a country rich in natural landscapes. Canada's biodiversity is a cornerstone of the Canadian economy and of our way of life. Many Canadians, particularly Indigenous Peoples, depend on the health and well-being of the natural environment to support their cultures and a sustainable way of life.

In the face of population growth, urbanization, industrial development and global climate change, Canada's protected and conserved areas play an important role in the conservation of biodiversity.  We, as federal, provincial and territorial Ministers responsible for Parks, Protected Areas, Wildlife, Conservation and Biodiversity, are committed to work together towards Canada's goal to conserve at least 17 percent of Canada's terrestrial areas and inland water by the end of 2020 [http://www.conservation2020canada.ca/home], and ensure that our network of conserved areas effectively contribute to safeguarding biodiversity.

Over the past 17 months, we have engaged all sectors of Canadian society to seek advice.  Recommendations from the National Advisory Panel (NAP) and input provided by Indigenous peoples, particularly the Indigenous Circle of Experts (ICE), will help inform our conservation actions that contribute towards achieving Canada Target 1. We also recognize the commitment of philanthropic foundations to contribute to advancing Canada's historic opportunity to demonstrate global leadership in biodiversity conservation. With the 2018 federal investment in nature, including the $500 million Canada Nature Fund to be matched by partners to raise a total of $1 billion for conservation action for species and protected areas, we recognize that the time to act is now.

As part of our collaborative work on Pathway to Canada Target 1:

  • We commit to continue to work together to safeguard Canada's biodiversity by improving our network of protected and conserved areas;
  • We received proposed new conservation tools, including draft definitions for protected areas, other effective area-based conservation measures, and Indigenous protected and conserved areas that will serve as foundational guidance to facilitate immediate conservation planning and action;
  • We direct officials to refine and finalize these new tools, along with a report providing broader guidance, in continued collaboration with Indigenous Peoples and stakeholders for release by fall 2018;
  • We commit to work with Indigenous Peoples to further elaborate the concept of Indigenous protected and conserved areas, and clarify their contributions to Canada Target 1 and to Indigenous cultural and conservation priorities.. We will work in the spirit and practice of reconciliation, consistent with legal duties and mutual commitments in treaties, land claim and self-government agreements, and other agreements as required; 
  • We commit to share with each other our respective jurisdictional plans for protected and conserved areas by the end of 2018 and commit to reconvene in the spring of 2019 to discuss our collective progress and any further measures that may be needed to reach Canada's 2020 target.

With these conservation tools and collaborations, the Pathway to Canada Target 1 initiative is now positioned to make real progress in fulfilling its international and national commitment to Aichi Target 11/Canada Target 1.

Through collaborations between all levels of governments, foundations, Indigenous Peoples and stakeholders and the joint opportunities available through the Canada Nature Fund, now is the time to support, leverage, recognize, and enhance our network of protected and conserved areas.

1 For its part, Quebec, although it does not participate in the implementation of the Pathway to Canada Target 1 initiative, will contribute to the pan-Canadian effort by achieving an identical target for the creation of protected areas on its terrestrial territory and its inland water by 2020. Quebec has taken note of the 2020 Biodiversity Goals and Targets for Canada, but has not adhered to them because, by virtue of its responsibilities, it develops its own instruments to implement the UN Convention on Biological Diversity and contributes to the achievement of the Aichi targets. Quebec sets its own conservation priorities and timelines on its territory, and collaborates with the federal government and the provinces and territories when deemed necessary. Quebec also did not participate in the creation of the new tools for land and freshwater conservation in Canada and is not bound by them.

2 Due to the impending swearing in of a new government, Ontario officials participated in this meeting as observers and are not party to the declaration.