Videoconference of Federal, Provincial and Territorial Ministers Responsible for Conservation, Wildlife and Biodiversity

News Release – Federal-Provincial-Territorial Ministers Renew their Commitment to Biodiversity, Protected Areas, and Species at Risk Conservation

Virtual Meeting of Federal-Provincial-Territorial Ministers Responsible for Conservation, Wildlife and Biodiversity

June 30, 2021

NEWS RELEASE – Federal-Provincial-Territorial Ministers Renew their Commitment to Biodiversity, Protected Areas, and Species at Risk Conservation

As federal, provincial and territorial (FPT) Ministers responsible for conservation, wildlife, and biodiversity, we met to reaffirm our commitments to working collaboratively on conservation actions1. Our last meeting, in 2018, resulted in a shift in our collective conservation efforts, with the approval of the Pan-Canadian Approach to Transforming Species at Risk Conservation in Canada, the Pan-Canadian Approach to Wildlife Health, and direction to officials to finalize new conservation tools and guidance to support the expansion of Canada’s network of protected and conserved areas. These commitments have guided our efforts over the last three years, as we continue to take action together, in accordance with each government’s priorities and jurisdiction, to protect natural spaces and wildlife across Canada.

Further to mounting scientific evidence that shows global biodiversity loss is at critical levels, we discussed areas of Canadian leadership and innovation in advancing biodiversity conservation that can serve as models to others. We also discussed how FPT governments can collaborate in response to the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework to be adopted under the Convention on Biological Diversity.

Expanding protected and conserved natural areas is critical to reducing loss of nature and biodiversity. We, as FPT Ministers, recognize the progress in area-based conservation made through collaborative and jurisdictional efforts. These efforts were supported in part by investments such as Canada’s Nature Legacy and will continue to be supported in the future by the recent federal commitment of $2.3B for continued conservation action. Provinces and territories have also made significant investments to support jurisdictional conservation efforts. We recognize the significant collaborative advancements made by FPT governments and Indigenous governments, communities and organizations, in part through the Pathway to Canada Target 1 initiative. We discussed enhancing our ongoing collaborative conservation efforts, recognizing that provinces and territories are responsible for the management of public lands within their jurisdictions and that actions under these commitments will be advanced according to each jurisdiction’s priorities and mandates. Looking ahead, lessons learned through this collaboration will help inform each jurisdiction’s efforts to advance Indigenous collaboration in conservation. We acknowledged the shared contribution of Indigenous knowledge systems and science to evidence-based decision making. The Government of Canada shared its commitments to protect and conserve 25 percent of Canada's land and inland waters and 25 percent of Canada's oceans by 2025, and to work towards conserving 30 percent of each by 2030. All jurisdictions reiterated their commitment to improved biodiversity outcomes and it was noted that this existing federal target is not binding on individual provinces and territories, each of which also shared their respective jurisdictional plans and priorities for protection and conservation.

We also reviewed and shared highlights of the progress made under the Pan-Canadian Approach to Transforming Species at Risk Conservation in Canada, which fosters renewed and focused collaboration on shared priorities and efforts to conserve multiple species and ecosystems. We noted the progress and key challenges that lay ahead and reaffirmed our shared commitment to its successful implementation.

As FPT Ministers, we recognize the progress made since our last meeting, and look forward to working together with Canadians to advance conservation, wildlife and biodiversity. In the last three years, our respective governments have benefited from the collaboration of partners, stakeholders, Indigenous communities, industry and private landowners, leading to more effective responses to federal, provincial and territorial conservation work. We look forward to building on these efforts and to fostering further collaboration, as we continue to take transformative action to bend the curve of biodiversity loss.

We plan to meet again next year to review progress on our collaborative efforts.

1Although Québec shares with other governments many conservation objectives and concerns, it has attended this meeting as an observer since it does not adhere to the proposed FPT approaches or mechanisms related to the topics mentioned in this communiqué. Québec remains committed to achieving its own objectives in terms of protected areas, national parks, conservation of threatened and vulnerable species, and control of wildlife diseases and uses its own tools and existing bilateral agreements with the governments concerned to do so.