WASHINGTON – Canada’s proposed federal budget, announced yesterday, includes a historic $2.3 billion in government funding over five years for terrestrial conservation and more than $1 billion over five years for ocean conservation and Pacific Salmon restoration.
“The Canadian government’s budgetary commitment will help ensure that millions of acres of lands and waters in Canada will be protected and continue to provide a safe nesting ground for millions of birds,” said Jeff Wells, Ph.D., vice president for Boreal Conservation, National Audubon Society.
This investment will be crucial to ensuring that the Canadian government reaches its goal of protecting 25 percent of it lands and waters by 2025, on its way to achieving the goal of protecting 30 percent by 2030. As part of the High Ambition Coalition, Canada has been a leader in pushing for adoption of a global standard that every nation protect at least 30 percent of its lands and waters by 2030. The proposed budget also included $1.4 billion over 12 years for efforts to strengthen climate resiliency, and $200 million over three years to establish a Natural Infrastructure Fund.
“Key to the success of these historic funding levels, which address the twin crises of biodiversity loss and climate change, will be to ensure that the funding include significantly increased support for Indigenous-led conservation and land stewardship efforts,” said Wells. This funding should be provided to Indigenous Nations for support for establishment of new Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas and Indigenous Marine Conservation Areas, support of Indigenous Guardians programs, and for new models of Indigenous stewardship of areas that sequester and hold in storage large amounts of carbon.”
Billions of nesting birds depend on the lands and waters of Canada, including across the Boreal Forest and Arctic regions. These same birds migrate south, known and loved as familiar migratory and winter birds of backyards, parks, wetlands, and coasts across the U.S., Mexico, the Caribbean and even south to Central and South America.
“We hope that this is a first step in Canada and the U.S. together showing a hemispheric vision for addressing climate change and biodiversity loss while elevating and supporting the rights and voices of Indigenous Nations,” added Wells. “Increased governmental budgetary support of Indigenous Nations will be crucial to ameliorating and adapting to climate change, and to reversing biodiversity declines. The upcoming Leaders Summit on Climate, hosted by President Biden, will be an opportunity for both Canada and the U.S. (and other participating nations as well) to further demonstrate the importance of supporting greatly increased funding for Indigenous-led conservation and land stewardship as one of the most critical nature-based solutions to climate change and biodiversity loss.”
The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow. Audubon works throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education, and on-the-ground conservation. State programs, nature centers, chapters, and partners give Audubon an unparalleled wingspan that reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire, and unite diverse communities in conservation action. A nonprofit conservation organization since 1905, Audubon believes in a world in which people and wildlife thrive. Learn more at www.audubon.org and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @audubonsociety.
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