Indigenous peoples have cared for Canada’s lands and waters since time immemorial. First Nations, Inuit and Métis have unique relationships with nature and experience responsible stewardship as a way of life. By working together and helping Indigenous peoples to further protect nature across the country, we continue to listen to their voices and help ensure that the world we leave for future generations is safe and healthy.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau today announced up to $800 million over seven years, starting in 2023-24, to support up to four Indigenous-led conservation initiatives. When completed, these projects could protect up to one million additional square kilometres. This investment is a big step forward in protecting nature across the country and will spur progress toward Canada’s ambitious goals of conserving 25% of land and water by 2025, and 30% of each by 2030.
This investment will support the establishment of protected areas through an innovative financing model – Project Finance for Permanence (PFP) – which is based on partnership. It brings together Indigenous organizations, governments and the philanthropic community to identify common goals to protect nature and ultimately halt biodiversity loss. The government recognizes community leadership and the work of philanthropic organizations in supporting this important work.
With this funding, the Government of Canada is helping bring together 30 Indigenous governments and organizations in the Northwest Territories. The funding is also intended to support land and water conservation in the Northern Shelf bioregion in British Columbia, the Qikiqtani region in Nunavut and the Hudson Bay Lowlands in Ontario, as well as the coastline of western Hudson Bay and southwestern James Bay – one of the most carbon-rich and biodiverse ecosystems in America.
As delegates from around the world descend on Montreal for the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP15) to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity, Canada will continue to champion its leadership role in the conservation of nature. We will continue to support Indigenous-led efforts to conserve nature and biodiversity, protect Indigenous cultures and ways of life, and build a healthy future for generations to come, while making meaningful progress towards the goals Conservation of Canada.
“Our government is here as a partner. And today, we have taken an important step – together – to deliver a vision for conservation that is built on partnership and reconciliation. I look forward to our working together to deliver results for communities and for the nature that sustains us all.
“Indigenous peoples have been stewards of the land, waters and ice of this continent for millennia. Canada’s ambitious biodiversity goals can only be achieved in partnership with First Nations, Inuit and Métis. By bringing together Indigenous and Western science, we can tackle the twin crises of climate change and biodiversity loss, strengthen our relationships with Indigenous communities, and build a better future for all.
“Indigenous peoples have been stewards of the land and water for generations and are deeply connected to them. This new funding will support Indigenous-led marine conservation initiatives to protect our shared coasts and oceans for the next seven generations.
- The funding announced today will help leverage third-party investments to contribute to Canada’s conservation goals and advance reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.
- The Government of Canada has made historic investments in Indigenous-led conservation initiatives that support Indigenous rights and responsibilities to protect and conserve ecosystems, develop and maintain sustainable economies, and sustain deep connections between natural landscapes and Indigenous cultures, including:
- Invest more than $118 million in Budget 2018 to support Indigenous-led conservation initiatives, including Indigenous Guardians and Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas; and
- Investing nearly $454 million in Budget 2021 to support a host of Indigenous-led conservation initiatives, such as Indigenous-led area-based conservation, Indigenous guardians, conservation on Inuit lands and Indigenous partnerships for species at risk.
- Grounded in science, Indigenous knowledge and local perspectives, Canada is committed to working with partners to conserve 25% of lands and waters by 2025 and 30% by 2030.
- United Nations data suggests that the lands of which indigenous peoples are custodians make up about 20% of the Earth’s territory and contain up to 80% of the world’s remaining biodiversity.
- The United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity is the international legal instrument for the conservation of biological diversity, the sustainable use of its components and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources. The Convention has been ratified by 196 nations.
- Canada has volunteered to host the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP15) to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity from December 7-19, 2022 in Montreal, where we will renew the call for ambitious action to protect nature.
- With its international partners, Canada is committed to both developing an ambitious global biodiversity framework with clear targets, as well as including Indigenous knowledge, to conserve and protect natural environments at home and in the world.
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