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

NEWS RELEASE – Parks, Protected Areas, Conservation, Wildlife, and Biodiversity key priorities for Federal-Provincial-Territorial Ministers

Together, we are taking action to protect Canada's natural spaces and wildlife to protect our future, and create an important legacy for generations of Canadians. As federal, provincial and territorial (FPT) Ministers responsible for parks, protected areas, conservation, wildlife, and biodiversityi we met for a second consecutive year to strengthen our commitment to working collaboratively on conservation issues.ii

As part of Canada's commitments under the Convention on Biological Diversity, we are proud to continue our collaborative efforts to help Canada meet the Biodiversity Goals and Targets by 2020. These 19 targets have helped guide conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. Today, we received the preliminary assessment of progress in meeting Canada's targets in preparation for reporting internationally later this year, and we discussed how FPT governments can cooperate to highlight successes and address challenges in advance of the 2020 deadline.

Under the Biodiversity Goals and Targets, Canada has committed to conserving at least 17 per cent of our country's land and freshwater through a network of protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures by 2020, an objective known as Canada Target 1. While the specific circumstances and contributions of each jurisdiction may vary, we all recognize the importance of protected and conserved areas for conserving biodiversity. Informed by the National Advisory Panel, and the Indigenous Circle of Experts under the Pathway to Canada Target 1 initiative, federal, provincial and territorial ministers directed officials to work with Indigenous Peoples in a distinctions-based approach, other interested partners and stakeholders to finalize new definitions for protected areas and for two new conservation tools as building blocks to develop an enhanced, representative, connected network of parks, protected and conserved areas in Canada. The Canada Nature Fund, based on a federal investment of $500 million over the next five years to be matched by partners, will provide at least $1 billion for conservation action for protected areas and species at risk, and with benefits for climate change and reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples. The Fund will be a critical new tool supporting partnership with provinces, territories, Indigenous Peoples, foundations and other partners to help us reach the 2020 target. Our joint Natural Legacy Declaration

We also formally endorsed Parks for All: An Action Plan for Canada's Parks Community. The Action Plan encourages individuals and organizations to advance a bold parks agenda at all levels of government and across all sectors. Under the four strategic directions of

 "Collaborate. Connect. Conserve. Lead." Parks for All offers concrete actions that aim to strengthen economies, engagement and support for the critical role that parks play for our health and well-being, and promotes parks as essential natural solutions to a sustainable future. The Action Plan is led by the Canadian Parks Council and the Canadian Parks and Recreation Association, in partnership with Indigenous Peoples and partners across Canada and was adopted by all provinces and territories, with the exception of Quebec.

Working together to conserve Canada's species at risk is important to all of us and supports Canada's second biodiversity target. Moving forward, we agreed to continue to advance progress in transforming species at risk conservation in Canada that will achieve multi-species and ecosystem benefits, without losing sight of single species recovery, by focusing our collective conservation efforts on priority places, species and threats.  We agreed to a new set of principles to help guide collaborative implementation work; including the development of a set of shared priorities, when applicable.  This deliberate focus on working together, supported by Canada's new Nature Fund, will enable significant, targeted investments and innovative partnerships to drive improved recovery and protection for a large number of species at risk throughout the country. We shared recent successes in multi-species, ecosystem-based conservation action planning and delivery to help inspire each of us to further advance our work in achieving our common goals for species at risk.

We also recognize that wildlife health is crucial in conserving biodiversity. As the emergence of various wildlife diseases continue to threaten Canadian species and declines in environmental conditions render species more vulnerable to existing pathogens, we agreed on a new approach to help us strengthen our work to improve wildlife health. We endorsed A Pan-Canadian Approach to Wildlife Health in Canada and we look forward to FPT governments coming together to implement its goals and objectives.

The Federal Budget 2018 announced $1.3 billion over five years to protect Canada's Natural Legacy - the biggest single investment in nature conservation in Canadian history. We, as FPT Ministers, look forward to working together with Canadians to make this a reality for Canada.

We plan to meet again in 2019 to continue our efforts.

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

ii Although Québec shares a number of conservation issues and concerns with other governments, 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.