Canadians recognize the need to maintain a healthy environment and are concerned about the degradation of ecosystems and the loss of species and genetic diversity which result from human activities.
The Government of Canada, with support from provincial and territorial governments, signed and ratified the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity in 1992, believing it to be a very important global and national instrument for promoting and guiding efforts to conserve biodiversity to use biological resources sustainably.
As soon as the Convention was ratified, work on a Canadian Biodiversity Strategy began to determine the measures which were required to meet the obligations of the Convention and to enhance coordination of national efforts aimed at the conservation of biodiversity and the sustainable use of biological resources.
The primary responsibility for conserving biodiversity and ensuring the sustainable use of biological resources is shared among provincial, territorial and federal governments. Therefore, an intergovernmental Biodiversity Working Group, with representation from every jurisdiction, was established to develop the Canadian Biodiversity Strategy by the end of 1994. Private property owners, businesses, indigenous people, conservation organizations, research institutions, foundations, and other groups also play an essential role in conserving biodiversity and sustainably using biological resources. Thus, a national non-governmental Biodiversity Advisory Group was established to provide advice to the Working Group.
The Strategy clearly recognizes that governments cannot act alone to ensure the conservation of biodiversity and the sustainable use of biological resources and therefore, invites and encourages all Canadians to take action in support of the Strategy. The Strategy recognizes that Canadians live in a global community, that co-operation with other countries is required to conserve biodiversity and sustainably use biological resources, and that Canada has an important role to play in cooperating with other countries, especially developing countries, to implement the Convention.
Conserving biodiversity and sustainably using biological resources are fundamental to achieving sustainable development. Governments, indigenous people, businesses, conservation groups, individual citizens and others have developed, or are developing, conservation and sustainable development strategies, policies and plans to work towards ecological, economic, social and cultural sustainability.
The Canadian Biodiversity Strategy reaffirms that, in Canada, governments must create the policy and research conditions that will lead to the conservation of biodiversity and the sustainable use of biological resources. The provincial, territorial and federal governments, in cooperation with stakeholders and members of the public, will pursue the implementation of the strategic directions contained in the Strategy, in accordance with their policies, plans, priorities and fiscal capabilities.