Ambition rides high for host country Canada at largest UN biodiversity COP ever

Published 18:27 on December 3, 2022  /  Last updated at 21:40 on December 7, 2022  /  Biodiversity  /  No Comments

Canada outlined ambitious plans and their role in hosting the largest global biodiversity UN convention at a technical briefing on Friday, having released a slew of domestic initiatives in the run-up to the Montreal conference scheduled from Dec. 7–19.

Canada outlined ambitious plans and their role in hosting the largest global biodiversity UN convention at a technical briefing on Friday, having released a slew of domestic initiatives in the run-up to the Montreal conference scheduled from Dec. 7–19.

Canada will host over 20,000 delegates at the 15th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (COP15), the webinar heard from Tara Shannon, chief negotiator for Canada’s delegation and assistant deputy minister at Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC).

Canada’s priorities and approach to the negotiations is for the convention to adopt a Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework that focuses on halting and reversing the loss of nature and biodiversity by 2030, with full recovery by 2050, the briefing outlined.

The next objective is to achieve a “30X30 conservation target” of protecting 30% of lands and waters by 2030. This includes land and sea use change through over-exploitation of nature, climate change, invasive alien species, and pollution with a framework that is measurable and has reporting attached to it, briefing participants were told.

Canada’s last, but primordial objective, Shannon stressed, is for a global biodiversity framework that recognises the role and contribution of Indigenous peoples in the conservation of nature.

PRE-COP15 CANADIAN ACTIONS

Towards achieving these objectives, Canada has committed at least 20% – or C$1 billion ($742.1 million) – of its $5.3 bln international climate finance commitment to support nature-based projects that contribute to biodiversity co-benefits in developing countries, the webinar heard.

Since 2001, Canada has invested $1.27 bln in the Global Environmental Facility (GEF), an independent financial institution handling funds for the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and pledged an additional $219 mln towards the GEF replenishment for the GEF–8 period from July 2022 to June 2026.

Recent Canadian investments and initiatives in biodiversity and conservation include:

  • An investment of C$3.8 mln to support three barren-ground caribou conservation projects in the Northwest Territories. The funding is part of the Enhanced Nature Legacy initiative that enables significant, targeted investments and partnerships to drive protection and recovery for a large number of species throughout the country and respond to threats to Canada’s ecosystem and wildlife, ECCC announced Dec. 2.
  • Tabling of the “Wild Species 2020” report on Nov. 28, which includes a national inventory of over 50,000 wild species in Canada, and identifies 20% of at-risk species that are critically imperilled, imperilled, or vulnerable. The report is released every five years.
  • More than C$8.7 mln in funding to support 67 conservation projects across Canada to recover species at risk over the next three years through the Habitat Stewardship Program under Canada’s Species at Risk Act. ECCC announced nearly C$731,000 funding on Nov. 28 for five New Brunswick projects geared towards recovery of native species at risk.
  • Prince Edward Island (PEI) was another Atlantic province to become a beneficiary of Species at Risk funding with ECCC’s announcement of C$27.5 mln on Nov. 25 allocated to the Enhanced Nature Legacy – Priority Places for Species at Risk initiative over four years. Three PEI conservation projects have received C$2.75 mln in funding in 2022 to support conservation actions in the PEI Forested Landscape Priority Place programme. This includes C$600,000 for Island Nature Trust to work with landowners of forested wetlands, and riparian, upland, and coastal forests in PEI to identify and protect forest habitat for species at risk. The PEI Department of Environment, Energy, and Climate Action and the Abegweit Conservation Society will also receive continued funding.
  • Prairie province Saskatchewan announced on Nov. 25 the recognition of nine “Other Effective area-based Conservation Measures” and seven “Protected Areas” representing 640 hectares within the 6,700 ha Indigenous Meewasin jurisdiction, an ecological corridor of conserved land through the urban Saskatoon region. These areas have been added to Canada’s “Protected and Conserved Areas” database, becoming part of the province’s goal to conserve 12% of land and water towards Canada’s conservation targets.
  • The federal government unveiled C$1.6 bln in new funding as part of its National Adaptation Strategy on Nov. 24, bringing total federal commitments to adaptation, disaster resilience, and disaster response to C$8 bln. The new funding was earmarked for the Green Municipal Fund, enhancing the Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund, and developing tools and data services for climate modelling and assessments.
  • Earlier on Nov. 21, the ECCC had also announced C$109 mln in funding over the next five years to 40 projects across Canada from the Nature Smart Climate Solutions Fund (NSCSF). The NSCSF is expected to distribute a total of C$631 mln over the decade to reduce 2–4 million tonnes of GHG annually, supporting projects that conserve, restore, and enhance wetlands, peatlands, and grasslands to store and capture carbon.

Over the weekend, delegates from 196 parties are participating in open-ended working group negotiations that have been ongoing since Mar. 22 to streamline outstanding brackets in the framework. Shannon also highlighted the high-level leader segment at the conference from Dec. 15–17 with ministerial level engagement that will enable ministers to support the final stages of the negotiations on the post-2020 framework.

Read Carbon Pulse’s full COP15 preview here.

By Joan Pinto – joan@carbon-pulse.com