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

NEWS RELEASE – Meeting of Federal-Provincial-Territorial Ministers responsible for Conservation, Wildlife and Biodiversity

Together, we can achieve great things and protect the abundance and variety of life that is part of this beautiful land of ours for future generations. We, as Ministers responsible for conservation, wildlife and biodiversity, met to discuss our priorities and review progress since our last meeting in 2015.  We remain committed to working together, in accordance with each government's jurisdiction and priorities, to achieve the 2020 biodiversity goals and targets.i

We recognize the importance of protected and conserved areas for maintaining biodiversity, and we will collaborate to conserve at least 17 percent of Canada's terrestrial areas and inland water by 2020. Along with our colleagues responsible for Parks, we issued a commitment to Building a Natural Legacy through the Pathway to Canada Target 1.  In this context, we will work together with Indigenous Peoples and stakeholders, including industry, to improve Canada's network of protected and conserved areas, prepare guidance and share best practices. 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.

Conserving Canada's species at risk remains a key priority. We discussed successes and challenges in our pan-Canadian efforts and agreed to work together bilaterally and multilaterally to establish common objectives and priorities. We further agreed to share best practices, advance our scientific knowledge and explore opportunities to develop complementary policies and programs to better support species at risk recovery and habitat conservation. We discussed progress across the country on species at risk, such as boreal caribou, and agreed on the need to work together more effectively to protect them.

The health of our wild species is critical, and we discussed the value of managing wildlife disease and other threats in a holistic way. We have asked our officials to work together to develop a collaborative approach to wildlife health.

We recognize that invasive alien species continue to be a significant threat to the health of Canada's species and ecosystems. We welcome the recommendations of the Invasive Alien Species Task Force and we agreed to establish a permanent federal-provincial-territorial committee in order to improve the leadership and the coordination of our efforts at the intergovernmental level, to advance work to improve emergency response to invasive alien species, and to engage Canadians. 

We know that healthy, biologically diverse ecosystems help to reduce the vulnerability of communities to climate change and increase climate resilience. We also know that the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem resilience can negatively impact our efforts to combat climate change. Given the interrelated nature of these two issues, we agreed to work together--and within our own respective jurisdictions--to ensure that our responses to the challenges posed by climate change and biodiversity loss are mutually supportive.
We welcome the release of the Ecosystem Services Toolkit. This tool will help assess the benefits that ecosystems provide to people and to better factor the diverse values of ecosystems into decisions.

We plan to meet again by early 2018 to review progress and continue our discussions.

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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.