Ottawa – The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society was pleased to see the increased funding allocated in last week’s federal budget to help meet the government’s commitments to increasing national parks and marine protected areas.
“The government has clearly recognized the need to make substantial investments in the conservation of special areas on land and in the ocean. We welcome the significant funding of $123.7 million for new national parks, and marine protected areas,” said Éric Hébert-Daly, National Executive Director of CPAWS.
“This investment will help create new national parks in spectacular areas like the East Arm of Great Slave Lake, Northwest Territories, where we’ve been working with Lutsel K’e Dene First Nation on a big new national park proposal called Thaidene Nene for many years,” said Alison Woodley, National Director of CPAWS’ Parks Program. “This is a positive next step towards the much larger scale conservation needed to conserve healthy ecosystems in the face of climate change.”
“We are pleased to see the recommitment to achieving the marine protected area targets of 5% by 2017 and at least 10% by 2020,” said Sabine Jessen, National Ocean Program Director of CPAWS. “The funding in this budget is a first step toward achieving these targets, and is critically needed given that Canada is currently lagging many countries in the world with less than 1% of our ocean territory protected.”
“We are also pleased to see that funding for ocean science has been restored in the budget”, said Hébert-Daly, “however a similar commitment is also needed for national parks science funding.”
The climate change investments in the budget are certainly needed and it will be important that conservation be a core part of Canada’s climate change strategy. Protected areas are an important tool in both climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts. By protecting biodiversity, we are helping to ensure that ecosystems remain healthy in the face of a changing climate, and we protect the carbon they store from being emitted into the atmosphere.
CPAWS is a member of the Green Budget Coalition which provided a comprehensive package of recommendations on the federal budget (http://greenbudget.ca/recommendations/ ).