CPAWS Celebrates “Historic Investment” in Nature Conservation in Federal Budget 2018
From CPAWS National Office: CPAWS celebrates “historic investment” in nature conservation in Federal Budget 2018
OTTAWA, ONTARIO – CPAWS applauds today’s announcement of $1.3 billion dollars of new federal funding over five years to protect Canada’s land, ocean, and wildlife. This unprecedented investment will support Canada’s efforts to achieve its commitment to protect at least 17% of our land and 10% of our ocean by 2020, delivering on the Prime Minister’s promise that Canada will achieve and substantially exceed this target in the coming years.
“Today’s significant federal investment in protecting our land and marine ecosystems could be a game-changer for nature conservation in Canada,” said Alison Woodley, CPAWS National Conservation Director. “Budget 2018 recognizes the scale of the biodiversity crisis we face and the importance of supporting the efforts of all levels of government, civil society, and other partners in conservation efforts moving forward.”
For the first time, the federal budget allocates funding for federal government action on nature conservation as well as to support conservation efforts by Indigenous governments, provinces, territories, and other partners. This cost-shared model is similar to the approach used to deliver on other shared priorities in Canada such as infrastructure, climate change mitigation, and health care.
Highlights of federal Budget 2018 conservation investments include:
- $500 million over five years for a new $1 Billion “Nature Fund” to support conservation partnerships and which will leverage funding from other government and non-governmental sources;
- $800 million over five years to support:
- New federal protected areas
- Increased capacity for national park management
- Increased capacity to protect species at risk
- Funding to establish a coordinated network of conservation areas working with provincial, territorial and Indigenous partners.
“We thank the federal government for listening to the recommendations made by CPAWS and our environmental partners in the Green Budget Coalition,” said Woodley, “and we deeply appreciate the efforts of many thousands of Canadians who wrote to the Finance Minister, and of the 116 parliamentarians who signed an open letter supporting our recommendations. Today’s investment shows that raising our collective voice truly works!”
“We are particularly pleased to see the budget acknowledge the leadership of Indigenous peoples in protecting Canada’s land and waters,” said Éric Hébert-Daly, CPAWS National Executive Director. “This funding will support Indigenous governments in their conservation efforts, which will make an important contribution to reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Canada.”
“This is not a matter of starting from scratch. With this funding, we can move quickly to complete existing protected area proposals while at the same time planning for the connected networks of protected areas needed in the long term to safeguard ecosystems and wildlife in the face of climate change,” says Woodley. “Canada has the best opportunity in the world to be leaders in conservation. Now we have resources to deliver on this potential!”
While few details are available in the budget, CPAWS looks forward to working with all governments and other partners to ensure this new investment delivers on Canada’s conservation commitments.
“Investing in protected areas will conserve Canada’s wildlife, water, and wilderness, provide more protected spaces for healthy outdoor activities, and create jobs in communities across the country by growing sustainable nature and culture-based tourism economies,” says Hébert Daly. “This is an investment in the future of our country, which will deliver huge returns.”
The UN Convention on Biological Diversity
In 2010, Canada and other signatories to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity endorsed a strategic plan to reverse a global biodiversity crisis, including a commitment to protect at least 17% of land and inland waters and 10% of ocean areas by 2020. The Biodiversity Convention (known as the CBD) was signed in 1992 alongside the UN Convention on Climate Change, recognizing the need to jointly tackle these two critical environmental challenges. Last year the federal government invested in a Pan-Canadian Climate Plan. This year’s investment will support a parallel pan-Canadian effort to protect biodiversity.
The Federal Government’s Leadership Efforts to Achieve Our Commitment
In March 2017 a unanimous report by the House of Commons Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development made a suite of recommendations for action on protected areas. In February 2017, federal, provincial, and territorial governments launched the “Pathway to Canada Target One” process, working with Indigenous peoples, civil society, and private interests to jointly deliver on Canada’s land and freshwater protection target. CPAWS staff were appointed to a Ministerial “National Advisory Panel” to advise on this work. The Panel’s report is expected to be released soon.