August 19, 2019
Endangered Ecosystems Alliance commend the Federal Liberal Government for $175 million Conservation Funding for 27 Indigenous Protected Areas
The Endangered Ecosystems Alliance (EEA) commended the federal government today for announcing $175 million in funding - part of the $1.35 billion Nature Fund announced in 2018 – for 49 conservation projects, including 27 Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas (IPCA) proposals across Canada. This includes funding for major IPCA’s in the Tahltan and Kaska First Nations territories of northern BC, and in the old-growth rainforest of Clayoquot Sound in Ahousaht and Tla-o-qui-aht territories via a portion of the $100 million Natural Heritage Conservation Program funding. See an article in The Narwhal at: https://thenarwhal.ca/biodiversity-crisis-feds-announce-175-million-new-conservation-projects/
The funding is part of efforts by the federal government to meet Canada’s international commitment to protect 17% of Canada’s land area by November of 2020, when all nation states around the world meet in China at the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity to review, renew, and expand protected areas commitments for nations around the world. Currently, Canada has is running far behind, protecting about 11% of the nation’s land base.
Clayoquot Sound on Vancouver Island, about 260,000 hectares of valleys, mountains, and islands covered in old-growth temperate rainforests, and rich marine ecosystems, was the site of the largest environmental protests in Canadian history, where 13,000 people took part in blockades against logging operations between 1985 to 1993, with about 1000 people being arrested. The Ahousaht First Nation have declared 82% of their territory off-limits to logging in the draft land use plan vision, while the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation have declared most of their territory as Tribal Parks, including Meares Island and the Clayoquot Valley. Greater federal and provincial support, both in funding and via policy reform, are needed to ensure the protection of these indigenous plans under provincial law. The new federal funding will be an important step towards this goal. See a Nature United media release at: https://www.natureunited.ca/explore/newsroom/natural-heritage-conservation-indigenous-land-use-clayoquot-sound/
“We commend the federal Liberal government for supporting Indigenous Protected Areas, including those developed in Clayoquot Sound, which include the greatest tracts of lowland coastal old-growth forests left in southern BC. This is an important step forward towards safeguarding native ecosystems and biodiversity, the climate, indigenous cultures tied to the land, and the foundation for sustainable businesses and jobs across Canada,” stated Ken Wu, EEA executive director.
The Endangered Ecosystems Alliance (EEA) is calling on the Canadian government to support an ambitious 50% protection target of all land and freshwater areas by 2030 for Canada and the world, including setting science-based targets for all ecosystem types. Protecting large areas of Earth’s native ecosystems will be the game-changer to draw down enough carbon to allow emissions reductions efforts to succeed in limiting our global temperature rise to less than 1.5 degrees Celsius as stipulated by the Paris Accord on climate change, and to avert the massive extinction crisis where a million species are predicted to go extinct over the next few decades under the business-as-usual scenario.
The Endangered Ecosystems Alliance is also calling on the federal government to mandate that the provinces - who are responsible for creating most protected areas in Canada – commit to the national targets, including both the near-term target of 17% by 2020 and a more ambitious 50% by 2030 target, and develop ecosystem-based action plans to achieve them. See our media release from June at: https://www.endangeredecosystemsalliance.org/news/2019/6/5/june-5-world-environment-day-conservationists-call-for-an-ambitious-50-protection-target-for-canada-by-2030nbsp
In BC, the Endangered Ecosystems Alliance and numerous BC conservation groups are calling on the BC NDP government to implement an annual land acquisition fund to purchase and protect endangered ecosystems on private lands, to undertake conservation financing for First Nations sustainable economic development tied to the implementation of Indigenous Protected Areas and old-growth forest protection, to fully recognize, fund, and legislate protection for Indigenous Protected Areas, to commit in BC to our federal and international protected areas targets, and to end the logging of endangered old-growth forests across the province.