CPAWS calls for mobilization of significant resources to put nature and climate action at the heart of COVID-19 recovery plans
October 1, 2020, OTTAWA, Ontario – This week, heads of state from around the world, including Prime Minister Trudeau, gathered virtually at the UN General Assembly’s first ever Summit on Biodiversity. Global leaders discussed the need for urgent action to address the interrelated crises of nature’s steep decline and climate change – the risks of which have been further highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
CPAWS is thrilled that Canada has stepped forward as an international leader, reaffirming our country’s commitment to protect 30% of land and ocean by 2030 and to champion this target internationally, as well as to ensure action and investment for nature and climate change are central to COVID-19 recovery. In his remarks at the Summit, Prime Minister Trudeau reaffirmed Canada’s commitment to protect 25% of land and ocean by 2025 and 30% by 2030, and to implement commitments in partnership with Indigenous peoples.
On Monday, Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, announced that Canada has joined the global High Ambition Coalition for Nature and People. This coalition, co-chaired by Costa Rica and France, includes more than 30 countries who are championing protection of at least 30% of Earth’s land and ocean by 2030 in the post-2020 global biodiversity framework, which is being negotiated under the UN Convention on Biological Diversity.
Prime Minister Trudeau also announced he had signed the Leader’s Pledge for Nature, joining more than 70 world leaders in committing to comprehensive actions to reverse biodiversity loss by 2030, including putting nature and climate change at the heart of COVID-19 recovery strategies and investments and supporting an ambitious and transformational post-2020 global biodiversity framework.
Earlier this month the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity released its 5th Global Outlook Report on Biodiversity, which found that none of the past decade’s global biodiversity targets have been fully met. Countries are currently negotiating a new post-2020 global biodiversity framework that will be finalized at the next Convention of the Parties (COP-15) in China. The High Ambition Coalition and the Leader’s Pledge for Nature are helping to build support for an ambitious framework and action targets that reflect the magnitude of the global emergency we are facing.
“We are delighted that the Prime Minister has embraced this opportunity for global conservation leadership, as well as re-committing to ambitious action at home,” said Sandra Schwartz, CPAWS National Executive Director. “Heads of State spoke with such conviction this week about the urgent need for action to save nature and ourselves. It is critical that this renewed political interest translates into significant investments in nature and climate change action as countries mobilize resources to reboot the economy.”
- Evidence shows that at least 30%, and as much as 70% or more, of ecosystems need to be conserved to reverse nature’s decline and safeguard a healthy planet for people and nature. This is consistent with CPAWS’ long-standing goal of protecting at least half of Canada’s public land, freshwater, and ocean.
- The Living Planet Report 2020, a comprehensive study of trends in global biodiversity and the health of the planet released by WWF every two years, reports a 68% drop in wildlife populations since 1970.
- According to the World Economic Forum, half of the world’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is moderately or highly dependent on nature and the services it provides, and the global food-, land-, and ocean-use system provides up to 40% of the world’s jobs. As a nation that relies on its rich natural resources, protecting nature and the multitude of services it provides is critical to Canada’s economic recovery.
- Many studies done across Canada have found that natural assets, if maintained, already have tremendous value, which will increase as the climate changes. As an example, urban forests in Toronto, Vancouver, and Halifax are valued at billions of dollars for ecosystem services such as control of stormwater runoff, air quality regulation, and carbon sequestration.
- Protecting and restoring forest, grassland, and wetland (including eelgrass, saltmarsh, and riparian areas) to reduce greenhouse gas emissions would help to address the climate and biodiversity crises, create jobs, and expand a green economy in Canada. The same is true for using natural infrastructure solutions to increase our resilience to climate change.
- The World Economic Forum estimates that transitioning industry to a more nature-positive model could result in up to $10 trillion USD in annual business value and could create 395 million jobs by 2030.
- Terrestrial parks and associated visitor spending support 64,000 jobs in Canada, generate a return of 6:1 in GDP, and return 44% of government investment back in taxes. Canada’s parks and protected areas are becoming increasingly important for domestic tourism as COVID-19 restricts international travel.
- Effective Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are a key for addressing biodiversity loss in the ocean. Recent studies show that protecting 30% of our ocean in effective and well-managed MPAs can restore ocean health and produce an economic return on investments of 10:1.
- Read our Economic Investment in Nature backgrounder
- Read our statement on the Speech from the Throne
- Read our statement on the Task Force for a Resilient Recovery’s recommendations to invest in nature
The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) is Canada’s only nationwide charity dedicated solely to the protection of our public land, ocean, and freshwater, and ensuring our parks and protected areas are managed to protect nature. Since 1963, we have played a leading role in protecting over half a million square kilometres. Our vision is to protect at least half of Canada’s public land and water in a framework of reconciliation – for the benefit of wildlife and people. For more information about CPAWS and the work we do to safeguard Canada’s natural heritage, visit cpaws.org. Join our community on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. Donate today. Take action.
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