YEAR IN REVIEW ON PROTECTING CANADA’S LAND AND FRESHWATER SHOWS CONTINUED SLOW PROGRESS “ON-THE GROUND” IN 2017, GOVERNMENT ACTION NEEDED
Ottawa – The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) is calling on governments to speed up progress towards protecting at least 17% of Canada’s land and freshwater by 2020. In a report released at the end of December, 2017 Year in Review: Protecting Canada’s Land and Freshwater, CPAWS notes that while progress on the ground continues to be slow, there have been some positive steps taken in the last year. CPAWS offers four key recommendations for what Canada needs to do in 2018 to deliver on its 2020 conservation targets.
“This 2017 review highlights how far we’ve come and how far we have yet to go to meet Canada’s 2020 commitments. Beyond the push to 2020, we also have to be planning for the much larger-scale protection nature and people ultimately need to thrive based on science and indigenous knowledge,” says Éric Hébert-Daly, CPAWS’ National Executive Director.
The Report offers the following four recommendations on what needs to be done in 2018 if we are going to step up to the challenge of protecting at least 17% of our land and freshwater by 2020, and set the stage for the larger-scale protection nature and people need to thrive in the long term:
- Invest in Conservation: A federal investment of at least $1.4 billion over three years followed by $470 million per year, to support all governments in their efforts to accelerate establishment and effective management of Canada’s protected areas network nationwide.
- Plan for Beyond 2020: Protecting at least 17% of Canada’s land and freshwater is a good next step, as we drive towards what nature needs in the long term. All governments should immediately start to plan for “beyond 2020” to complete effective well-connected protected area networks based on science and Indigenous knowledge.
- Focus on Quality: Evidence is clear that conserving biodiversity requires protecting much more habitat, thus Canada should focus on protecting more land and rather than changing the accounting system to incorporate more existing conservation areas.
- Support Indigenous Protected Areas: Establishing protected areas needs to be done within a framework of reconciliation, in partnership with Indigenous peoples. All jurisdictions should work with Indigenous governments to identify how to better establish and support Indigenous protected areas, including removing legislative and political barriers and creating new legislative tools where needed.
“Time is of the essence. This is the opportunity of a generation to conserve Canada’s irreplaceable wilderness and wildlife, and do what nature and humans need to survive. We need to act now.” adds Hébert-Daly.