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Canadian Biodiversity Strategy


The Canadian Biodiversity Strategy is a key building block in our efforts to achieve sustainable development. Ultimately, the degree to which the Strategy is able to enhance our national capacity to conserve biodiversity and achieve sustainable development will be the measure of its success. Specifically, we will know that the Strategy is making a difference if: the value and importance of biodiversity is reflected in the actions and decisions of all sectors of society, from corporations to individual consumers, private property owners, and various orders of government;we are capturing existing information, generating new knowledge about biological resources and conveying that knowledge in a useful, timely and efficient way;we are no longer planning and making decisions based exclusively on a species-by-species or sector-by-sector basis, but are practising ecological management;opportunities are being created through technological innovation, application of traditional knowledge, scientific discoveries and new applications of sustainable use; andwe are maintaining biodiversity for future generations and contributing to conservation and sustainable use efforts worldwide through financial assistance, knowledge, expertise and exchange of genetic resources.

The capacity to determine how biodiversity is managed is not limited to governments. Local and indigenous communities, businesses and industries, conservation groups, research and educational institutions, and individuals must be involved in the implementation of the Strategy. Success will require a coordinated approach based on cross-sectoral cooperation and partnerships among all orders of government, non-government organizations, private sector interests and individuals.

Numerous policies, plans and programs have been developed in Canada to enhance the conservation of biodiversity and to achieve the sustainable use of biological resources. Jurisdictions have developed conservation and sustainable development strategies and policy statements regarding the conservation of wetlands and other aquatic ecosystems, wildlife, fisheries, forest and agricultural resources, and protected areas.

Wildlife Habitat Conservation Initiative in Newfoundland

In 1993, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador and Wildlife Habitat Canada entered into a three-year Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) regarding the protection and enhancement of wildlife habitat in Newfoundland. Among other things, this MOU calls for the establishment of a framework for biodiversity conservation that challenges an array of potential partners to cooperate on and participate in wildlife habitat conservation programs. The MOU also provides for the establishment of a Steering Committee responsible for advocating biodiversity initiatives.

Conservation and sustainable development strategies, sectoral policies and programs, and regional plans, Round Tables on the Environment and Economy, land claim settlement agreements, and many other mechanisms can be immediately used to help implement the Strategy. Mechanisms to more specifically address the provisions of this Strategy will be brought on stream according to the policies, priorities, constraints and needs of each jurisdiction.

Given the broad scope of the Strategy, it will be necessary to set priorities for action. Priority setting will require evaluating the costs of inaction as well as the costs of taking proposed actions.

To ensure effective and coordinated implementation of the Canadian Biodiversity Strategy in accordance with each jurisdiction's priorities and fiscal capabilities, federal, provincial and territorial governments will:

  1. Strengthen linkages at the Ministerial level to oversee the implementation and monitoring of the Canadian Biodiversity Strategy.
  2. Report within one year after the Ministerial endorsement of the Canadian Biodiversity Strategy on policies, programs, strategies and actions that are underway or will be undertaken to implement the Strategy, and subsequently report publicly on progress in implementing the Canadian Biodiversity Strategy at a frequency to be determined.
  3. Within each jurisdiction, maintain or develop mechanisms to provide opportunities for meaningful participation of regional and urban governments, local and indigenous communities, interested individuals and groups, business interests, and the scientific community in implementing the Strategy.
  4. Coordinate elements of the Strategy that require national participation in order to help develop international positions on biodiversity matters and oversee the development of national and international progress reports.
  5. Ensure that there are mechanisms in place that permit and encourage non-government organizations and members of the public to participate in the implementation of the Strategy and the development of international biodiversity agreements.
  6. Report periodically to Canadians and the international community on the status of Canada's biodiversity.
  7. Challenge and invite all Canadians to contribute toward achieving the goals of the Strategy and take action to conserve biodiversity and to use biological resources in a sustainable manner.
  8. Explore mechanisms to provide opportunities for participation of indigenous communities in implementing the Strategy through a variety of mechanisms such as resource management agreements, management boards, model forest programs and other means.