CPAWS welcomes US/Canada commitment to significantly expand land and ocean protection

OTTAWA, March 10, 2016 – CPAWS welcomes today’s re-affirmation by the US and Canada to their national goals of protecting at least 17% of land and 10% of marine areas by 2020. We are particularly pleased that both governments have recognized these targets are just a first step towards what’s needed to conserve healthy ecosystems, and have committed to substantially surpass these goals in the coming years. In addition, we are pleased to see the commitment to an ambitious new conservation goal for the Arctic this year based on science and Indigenous knowledge, and to leading the development of a pan-Arctic marine protected areas network. “Today’s announcement is a welcome next step towards the large-scale protection needed to conserve nature and support people,” says Éric Hébert Daly, CPAWS National Executive Director. “There is strong evidence that conserving healthy, resilient ecosystems that can sustain wildlife and people in the long run will require protecting at least half of our land, freshwater and oceans, particularly in the face of climate change.” In 2010, as part of worldwide efforts to stem the tide of biodiversity loss, Canada joined other countries in endorsing a 10-year strategic plan under the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity.  The plan includes a target of protecting at least 17% of land and inland waters, and 10% of coastal and marine areas by 2020 as a step towards the long term vision of living in harmony with nature.  The plan also commits countries to improve the quality of protected areas systems by ensuring the most important ecological areas are protected, and that these areas are well-managed, and connected together so wildlife can move through the landscape. Currently, Canada is lagging most other countries on protected areas with only 10% of our landscape and 1% of our ocean protected. In contrast, globally, more than 15% of land is protected and 8% of the ocean area within national jurisdiction.  The new federal government in Canada included the international targets in its platform and mandate letter commitments. “Today’s announcement represents a turning point because it recognizes the need to dramatically scale up protection of our land, freshwater and oceans in order to sustain nature and people in the long term.” says Mr. Hébert-Daly. “We encourage our federal government to quickly convene all Canadian jurisdictions and work with Indigenous partners to develop a science and Indigenous knowledge-based plan to deliver on this commitment.” -30- For interviews, contact: Karen Turner, National Communications Director, kturner@localhost or 613-569-7226 x 232 Alison Woodley, National Parks Program Director, awoodley@localhost  or 613-569-7226 x 230