2020 Biodiversity Goals and Targets for Canada

Goal B. By 2020, direct and indirect pressures as well as cumulative effects on biodiversity are reduced, and production and consumption of Canada's biological resources are more sustainable.

Target 6. By 2020, continued progress is made on the sustainable management of Canada's forests.

Indicators:

  • Relevant indicators drawn from the existing suite of indicators in the Canadian Council of Forest Ministers (CCFM) Criteria and Indicators (C&I) Framework

Why is this target Important for Canada?

Forests are essential to the long term well-being of Canada's communities, economy, and environment. As stewards of 9% of the world's forests, Canada is dedicated to maintaining its forests in a healthy state and to managing them in a sustainable manner.

Continued progress on sustainable forest management (SFM) is important to Canada, for several reasons. These include ensuring that Canada's forests continue to provide species habitat along with a range of ecosystem services including air and water filtration and carbon sequestration, particularly in the face of ecological challenges such as climate change. Sustainably managed forests provide significant economic benefits and are important to rural economies and livelihoods. In addition, domestic and international consumers increasingly expect that forest products will come from sustainably managed forests, and our commitment to sustainable forest management allows Canada to access markets that would otherwise be unavailable. Canada has a strong record of managing its forests sustainably but we need to build on that record in order to realize the full range of economic, environmental, and social benefits from our forests.

Links to the Convention on Biological Diversity Strategic Plan 2011-2020.
This target for Canada is linked with the global Aichi Targets 4, 5 and 7.

Meeting the target

As a world leader in sustainable forest management, Canada has taken major steps to promote SFM and will continue to do so. The federal government has invested significantly in programs which lay the groundwork for a greener and more sustainable future for the forest sector, and will continue to support the emergence of transformative technologies. Provinces and territories, which are largely responsible for managing Canada's forests, including harvesting and renewal, are taking ongoing steps to strengthen management practices and regulations. Each province and territory sets an annual allowable cut based on the sustainable growth rate of a forest area, while considering economic, social and ecological factors including biodiversity. The federal government and others will continue to provide science-based knowledge to manage the risks and minimize the impact of forest resource development, including through the production of the National Forest Inventory which incorporates new economic and biophysical information on Canada's forests. These and other measures position Canada well to make progress on SFM by 2020.

Key concepts

Sustainable forest management (SFM): Management that maintains and enhances the long-term health of forest ecosystems for the benefit of all living things while providing environmental, economic, social, and cultural opportunities for present and future generations. (Canadian Council of Forest Ministers, 2008)

How will progress be measured?

Canada is well-positioned to report on progress toward SFM with a comprehensive, science-based framework of indicators that is broadly supported by Canadian stakeholders and closely aligned with internationally-agreed frameworks of indicators for measuring progress toward SFM.

The National Framework of Criteria and Indicators of Sustainable Forest Management is used as the basis for national and international reporting and includes 6 criteria and 46 indicators that describe a range of environmental, economic, social and cultural values. No single indicator can accurately portray progress toward sustainability. Within the framework, the Canadian Forest Service currently reports on several indicators under the criteria “biodiversity” and “ecosystem condition and productivity”, as well as others related to the sustainable use of forest resources. Using the CCFM criteria and indicators framework to report on progress towards this target will reduce Canada's reporting burden and increase the consistency of information among a number of reporting products. For up to date information see the State of Canada’s forests report, 2017.

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Target 7. By 2020, agricultural working landscapes provide a stable or improved level of biodiversity and habitat capacity.

Indicators:

  • Wildlife habitat capacity on farmland
  • Environmental farm planning on agricultural land

Why is this target important for Canada?

Agricultural production benefits from the ecosystem services biodiversity provides, such as nutrient cycling, soil formation, water purification and pollination. At the same time, agricultural working landscapes can support biodiversity, providing important habitat for wildlife in Canada. Agricultural areas in Canada often contain many different types of landscapes, including cropland, pastures, grasslands, forests, wetlands and water bodies, including many undisturbed natural areas. Over the past 20 years there has been a decline in the capacity of agricultural lands to support the habitat needs of species, due in large part to the conversion of natural areas to cropland and agricultural intensification on existing farmland, as well as increased risk of nutrient contamination. Improving biodiversity on agricultural lands is key to sustaining natural systems, maintaining water quality and quantity, supporting pollinators, improving wildlife habitat and connectivity, and making agro-ecosystems better able to recover and adapt to environmental stresses such as drought.

Links to the Convention on Biological Diversity Strategic Plan 2011-2020.
This target for Canada is linked with the global Aichi Targets 5 and 7.

Meeting the target

Meeting this target will involve continued improvement of the management of agricultural landscapes at a number of levels. At the farm level, Canada's farmers can implement practices that increase diversity on their farm such as planting shelterbelts and windbreaks and the use of riparian buffers, and integrating practices like crop rotation, strip cropping and agroforestry which also benefit production. Municipal and Provincial governments can influence biodiversity through land use planning in the broader agricultural landscape while responding to ongoing pressures from agricultural landscape conversion, urban encroachment, transportation, industry and other uses in these landscapes that impact biodiversity. The federal government can continue to promote biodiversity conservation and foster better opportunities for farmers and all Canadians through agricultural research and innovation. At the same time, industry can continue to develop and champion agro-environmental technologies and practices that support productivity and biodiversity – such as the practices recognized by the Canadian Cattleman's Association's annual Environmental Stewardship Award.

Key concepts

Agricultural working landscapes: Land used for crops, pasture, and livestock; the adjacent uncultivated land that supports other vegetation and wildlife; and the associated atmosphere, the underlying soils, groundwater, and drainage networks.

How will progress be measured?

The first indicator for this target, Wildlife habitat capacity on agricultural land, provides a multi-species assessment of broad-scale trends in the capacity of the Canadian agricultural landscape to provide suitable habitat for populations of terrestrial vertebrates. It does not cover flora, soil or invertebrates. Data for this indicator are gathered from the Canadian Census of Agriculture, thus land use outside the agricultural extent (i.e. area not included in the census of agriculture) such as forestry and urban is not included. The second indicator provides the percentage of farms in Canada that have a formal written Environmental Farm Plan, and the percent for which plans are under development.

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Target 8. By 2020, all aquaculture in Canada is managed under a science-based regime that promotes the sustainable use of aquatic resources (including marine, freshwater and land based) in ways that conserve biodiversity.

Indicator:

  • The extent to which aquaculture is managed under a science-based environmental regulatory framework

Why is this target Important for Canada?

Aquaculture typically includes the cultivation of aquatic species, usually for commercial harvest, processing, sale and consumption. Commercial aquaculture in Canada contributes nearly 30% of the total value of Canadian fish and seafood production. Salmon is the main species farmed in Canada, making up 70% of total production volume. Aquaculture operations have been established in every Canadian province and in Yukon. Canadian aquaculture contributes more than $2 billion of total economic activity. Canada is well positioned to benefit from sustainable aquaculture. Continued active and responsive management is essential to ensure the health of ecosystems in which aquaculture takes place. With the world's longest coastline and productive salt and freshwater resources, Canada has a reputation for safe, high-quality fish and seafood products produced in an environmentally sustainable manner. Environmental impacts are mitigated by management actions and regulations informed by dedicated aquaculture science in order to foster a sustainable and innovative industry that remains globally competitive.

Links to the Convention on Biological Diversity Strategic Plan 2011-2020.
This target for Canada is linked with the global Aichi Targets 4 and 7.

Meeting the target

Aquaculture management is an area of shared jurisdiction in Canada among the federal, provincial and territorial governments. Current initiatives include regulatory reform to increase transparency and coordination between these regulatory partners. In this context, the federal, provincial and territorial governments work with industry and other stakeholders, and with Aboriginal communities and groups to advance sustainable aquaculture management. In addition, the National Aquaculture Strategic Action Plan Initiative provides a comprehensive strategic vision for the sector, which requires action on the part of all key players. To guide the pursuit of sustainable aquaculture development in Canada, the overall objective for environmental protection has been identified in this initiative as maintaining healthy and productive aquatic ecosystems as a condition for aquaculture development. Fisheries and Oceans Canada publicly reports information on the sustainability of the sector and the environmental management regime under the Fisheries Act. Through its website, Fisheries and Oceans Canada also reports on aquaculture science activities, research results and peer-reviewed advice related to sustainable aquaculture.

Key concepts

Aquatic resources: Freshwater and marine animals and plants, and their habitat.

Areas under aquaculture: Areas and sites such as freshwater ponds and lakes, bays and recycling facilities, land-based aquaculture farms and open ocean where aquatic organisms are cultivated, including finfish, molluscs, crustaceans and aquatic plants.

Sustainable use: The use of components of biological diversity in a way and at a rate that does not lead to the long - term decline of biological diversity, thereby maintaining its potential to meet the needs and aspirations of present and future generations. (Convention on Biological Diversity)

How will progress be measured?

The regulatory framework under the Fisheries Act sets environmental sustainability standards and requirements to support the sustainable use of Canada’s aquatic resources. The proposed indicator for this target would describe how aquaculture management, incorporating science advice, reduces direct and indirect pressures on biodiversity and supports the sustainable use of aquatic resources. Making sure that aquaculture operators comply with Fisheries Act standards and requirements helps to protect Canada’s aquatic environment and ensures that resources are available for the benefit of future generations. The Management of Canadian Aquaculture indicator, which is part of the Canadian Environmental Sustainability Indicators program, measures aquaculture operators' levels of compliance with environmental regulations set out under the Fisheries Act. The approach to reporting on progress toward this target is adaptive and primarily reported through the Department of Fisheries and Oceans aquaculture public reporting under the Sustainable Aquaculture Program. The indicator is also reported through the Canadian Environmental Sustainability Indicators and the 2015 Federal Sustainable Development Progress Report, Target 5.2.

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Target 9. By 2020, all fish and invertebrate stocks and aquatic plants are managed and harvested sustainably, legally and applying ecosystem-based approaches.

Indicators:

  • Status of major fish stocks
  • Sustainable fish harvest

Why is this target important for Canada?

Canada's fisheries provide a variety of socio-economic benefits, such as sustenance, employment, recreation, and access to traditional foods. However, where they occur, unsustainable fishing practices compromise biodiversity and the long-term well-being of fisheries. In order to ensure the future enjoyment of these benefits and the economic sustainability of commercial, recreational, and Aboriginal fisheries, it is important to protect and promote healthy ecosystems by avoiding destructive fishing practices, managing bycatch, recovering depleted stocks, and preventing overfishing.

Links to the Convention on Biological Diversity Strategic Plan 2011-2020.
This target for Canada is linked with the global Aichi Target 8.

Meeting the target

Canada is taking steps to ensure long-term sustainability of nationally managed fisheries by developing and implementing comprehensive fishery management plans supported by new policies and tools, monitoring, the best available science advice, and compliance and enforcement activities. The new policies and tools include those developed under the Sustainable Fisheries Framework (SFF), which provides an overarching science-based policy framework for the sustainable management of Canadian fisheries. The SFF is an adaptive framework; new policies and tools will be added over time to achieve the sustainable use of fisheries and evolve towards an ecosystem-based management approach of all fishing activity licensed or managed by Canada, including those outside of Canada's Exclusive Economic Zone. This will help ensure that overfishing is avoided, recovery plans and measures are in place for all depleted species, fisheries have no significant adverse impacts on threatened species and vulnerable ecosystems, and the impacts of fisheries on stocks, species and ecosystems are within safe ecological limits. Progress will be defined as measured by the national Fishery Checklist.

Key concepts

Fish and invertebrate stocks and aquatic plants: major harvested stocks managed by Fisheries and Oceans Canada (generally includes stocks with an annual landed value greater than $1 million or annual landed weight greater than 2,000 tonnes).

Ecosystem Approach (for fisheries management): Management approach by which fisheries management decisions consider the impact of the fishery not only on the target species, but also on non-target species, seafloor habitats, and the ecosystems of which these species are a part. This approach also encourages management decisions to take into account changes in the ecosystem which may affect the species being fished. This includes the effects of climate and climate change, and the interactions of target fish stocks with predators, competitors, and prey species. Under the ecosystem approach, fisheries management, decisions consider the needs and concerns of people who rely on and interact with the ecosystem.

How will progress be measured?

Both of the indicators for this target are currently reported on under the Canadian Environmental Sustainability Indicators initiative. The first indicator,  Status of major fish stocks, reports the classification of 155 major fish stocks as “healthy,” “cautious” or “critical” categories. Information on aquatic plants is not included. The second indicator, Sustainable fish harvest, is based on the number of major stocks harvested relative to approved levels.

Target 10. By 2020, pollution levels in Canadian waters, including pollution from excess nutrients, are reduced or maintained at levels that support healthy aquatic ecosystems.

Indicators:

  • Phosphorus levels in the Great Lakes
  • Phosphorous levels in the St. Lawrence River
  • Regional freshwater quality in Canadian rivers
  • Change in the national freshwater quality indicator through time

Why is this target important for Canada?

Water quality varies widely across Canada because of the country's diverse geography and the different ways in which people have developed the land around rivers and lakes and on the coast. Surface and ground water in Canada is generally clean, however, it is sometimes locally or regionally polluted. Water quality is important for the maintenance of healthy lake, river and marine ecosystems. Clean water provides essential habitat for aquatic plants and animals, supports many commercial and industrial uses, and is at the heart of many recreational activities.

Pollution enters water bodies in a number of ways, including industrial and municipal discharge, runoff, spills, and deposition of airborne pollutants. Certain nutrients are important for aquatic ecosystem health, but can become pollutants at elevated levels. Phosphorus, for example, is a crucial nutrient for growth of plants and algae and a key regulator of the overall productivity of inland aquatic ecosystems and coastal watersheds, but elevated levels can be harmful to the health of freshwater ecosystems, negatively impacting fish and other wildlife, drinking water quality, swimming safety and the visual appearance of lakes. Lakes and rivers that are phosphorus-enriched have accelerated eutrophication and growth of aquatic plants and algae. This can occur when artificial or natural substances, such as nitrates and phosphates are added to an aquatic system from sources such as detergents and fertilizers. In Canada, phosphorus concentrations between 1990 and 2006 rose in over 20 percent of the water bodies sampled, including some of the Great Lakes where, 20 years ago, regulations successfully reduced nutrient inputs. Severe algal blooms in Lake Winnipeg, Lake Simcoe and blooms of cyanobacteria in eastern Canadian lakes have been occurring in recent years, as well as re-emerging problems in Lake Ontario and Lake Erie, and in other Canadian water bodies.

There is a need to act now, as there may be a significant lag between improved practices and reduced eutrophication due to the potential for soils to store phosphorous and other potential pollutants for decades. In addition to ensuring the conditions required to support aquatic biodiversity, protecting Canada's water sources from excess pollutants is necessary to provide the essential ecosystem services that people depend on, particularly clean safe water for personal use as well as for many aspects of our social and economic activity.

Links to the Convention on Biological Diversity Strategic Plan 2011-2020.
This target for Canada is linked with the global Aichi Target 8.

Meeting the target

Achieving this target will involve coordinating efforts to understand multiple sources and respond to the pollution of water bodies. Bilateral coordination between Canada and the United States will also be needed as the pollution and eutrophication of some Canadian waterways is heavily influenced by practices in the U.S. This target will aim to reduce pollution levels, including pollution from excess nutrients, in order to protect and enhance the quality of water so that it is clean, safe and secure for all Canadians and supports healthy ecosystems.

Key concepts

Eutrophication (or hypertrophication): Also known as nutrient enrichment, eutrophication is the result of large amounts of nutrients being released into a water body leading to excessive amounts of aquatic plant growth. Over time, this excessive plant growth can naturally turn a lake into a bog and eventually into land. Most often, the nutrient phosphorous has the greatest effect on eutrophication because it tends to be more limited within freshwater environments. However, some environments are nitrogen deficient and more greatly influenced by changing levels of nitrogen. The eutrophication process can be accelerated by the release of nutrients from human activities such as from fertilizers used in agriculture and in our homes. This rapid transition is not beneficial for the fish and other organisms that live in lakes and have to cope with depleted oxygen levels due to the decomposition of plants, as well as changing biodiversity and species abundance.

How will progress be measured?

All of the indicators proposed for this target are currently reported on under the Canadian Environmental Sustainability Indicators (CESI) initiative. The first indicator compares average spring total phosphorus concentrations in the four Canadian Great Lakes to their water quality objectives to determine the status of phosphorus concentrations in offshore waters in each lake. The second indicator provides a measure of how frequently phosphorus concentrations exceed Quebec's water quality phosphorus guideline for the protection of aquatic life in the St. Lawrence River. The third and fourth indicators provide a regional and aregional overview of freshwater quality and a national overview of freshwater quality in Canada, based on Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME) Water Quality Index (WQI).

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Target 11. By 2020, pathways of invasive alien species introductions are identified, and risk-based intervention or management plans are in place for priority pathways and species.

Indicators:

  • Number of known new invasive alien species in Canada, by Federal Regulatory Status
  • Percent of federally regulated foreign invasive alien species not established in Canada
  • Number of intervention or management plans in place

Why is this target important for Canada?

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), invasive alien species (IAS) are the most significant threat to biodiversity after habitat loss. Increasing numbers of invasive species are reaching Canada bringing serious ecological and socio-economic consequences. IAS in Canada account for at least 27% of all vascular plants, 181 insects, 24 birds, 26 mammals, 2 reptiles, 4 amphibians, several fungi and molluscs, 55 freshwater fish and an unknown number of species that have not yet been detected. There is a need to improve our understanding of the means by which such species are entering Canada, and to take action to prevent their entry and mitigate their impact should they become established.

IAS are harmful species of plants, animals, and micro-organisms that have been relocated to environments outside of their natural past or present distribution and whose introduction or spread threatens the environment, the economy or society. Some of the better-known examples in Canada include Dutch elm disease, green crab, zebra mussel, and emerald ash borer. Since IAS may have no natural enemies in their new environments, their populations can grow unchecked and have the potential to cause significant damage to the habitats and food sources of native species. In turn, these IAS may impact regional economies and communities that rely for their livelihoods on the ecosystems and species impacted.

IAS are introduced through intentional and unintentional human action by air, land and water pathways. The key to dealing with invasive species is to identify the pathways of introduction - the routes they take to spread to new areas - and cut them off. IAS often arrive as hitchhikers on imported goods, like fruit, as stowaways in transportation or on the bottom of ships, or disease in wildlife. A key goal of this invasive alien species target and Canada's Invasive Alien Species Strategy is to avoid the introduction and establishment of such species in future.

Links to the Convention on Biological Diversity Strategic Plan 2011-2020.
This target for Canada is linked with the global Aichi Target 9.

Meeting the target

Achieving the target will involve coordinating and building on existing national and regional efforts to understand and respond to alien species introductions. Leveraging ongoing federal, provincial and territorial monitoring and reporting mechanisms to track the development of responses and their efficacy will also be an important contribution to meeting the target. In 2004, federal, provincial and territorial governments introduced An Invasive Alien Species Strategy for Canada. A suite of legislative and regulatory measures underpin the Strategy including: Plant Protection Act, Seeds Act, Health of Animals Act, Pest Control Products Act, Canada Shipping Act, Fisheries Act, Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulations of International and Interprovincial Trade Act, and others. Provincial legislation and measures are also in place. This Strategy aims to minimize the risk of invasive alien species to the environment, economy, and society. One of the core components of the Strategy is cooperation among participating federal and provincial governments. Aboriginal governments, municipalities, and other stakeholders are also important contributors in responding to the challenges of invasive alien species. Invasive alien species councils, for example, established in 11 out of 13 provinces and territories, are multi-stakeholder bodies that play an important role in working with their partners to address the priorities of the Strategy, specifically in developing regional priorities and leveraging local actions to address invasive alien species.

Key concepts

Establishment: The process of an alien species in a new habitat successfully producing viable offspring with a likelihood of continued survival

Invasive alien species: An alien species whose introduction or spread threatens biological diversity, ecosystems, economies or human health

Introduction: The movement by human action, indirect or direct, of an alien species outside of its natural range (past or present). This movement can be either within a country or between countries or areas beyond national jurisdiction

Pathway: Any means that allows the entry or spread of a pest

Pest: Any species, strain or biotype of plant, animal or pathogenic agent injurious to plants or plant products

Priority species: Species that significantly impact biodiversity, present a high level of risk, and may be addressed in a cost effective manner.

Priority pathway: Pathways that have a significant impact on biodiversity, present a high level of risk, and may be addressed in a cost effective manner.

How will progress be measured?

The first two indicators for this target are part of the Canadian Environmental Sustainability Indicators (CESI) program, which provides data and information to track Canada's performance on key environmental sustainability issues, and are reported as part of the Invasive alien species in Canada indicators.

The number of known new IAS includes all foreign IAS (whether regulated or not by the federal government) identified as having become established in Canada each year subsequent to the baseline date of January 2012, and identifies the type (regulated, non-regulated, unknown) and name of the pathway that brought them to Canada, if known.

The percentage of federally regulated foreign IAS not established in Canada reports the number of regulated foreign IAS not established in Canada as a percentage of the total number of regulated foreign IAS from the start of that year. This indicator represents the success of preventing the establishment of foreign regulated IAS in Canada.

The number of intervention or management plans indicator aims to capture specific, confirmed actions or measures to be taken (e.g. regulation, education, control/eradication measures) at the federal, provincial or territorial level. This could include plans developed in partnership with other levels of government or NGOs.

The information relevant for reporting on the first two indicators relies on contributions from existing data collection activities, knowledge and networks. The data is collected from departments/agencies involved with the regulation, identifying or researching IAS. Data for both indicators is included in one database and updated annually by each contributing department.

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Target 12. By 2020, customary use by Aboriginal peoples of biological resources is maintained, compatible with their conservation and sustainable use.

Indicators:

  • Number of households participating in traditional activities
  • Consumption of traditional foods
  • Case studies illustrating customary use of biological resources

Why is this target important for Canada?

For thousands of years, Aboriginal peoples in Canada have depended on the land and water and the resources that healthy ecosystems provide to meet their physical, social, cultural and spiritual needs. Many Aboriginal peoples continue to have an intimate cultural relationship with the landscape and the resources derived from the land and water. The customary use of biological resources, including such activities as hunting, fishing, trapping and gathering, is an important element of this relationship. This customary use of biological resources may be exercised by Aboriginal communities under their law making authority on their resources. It may also be exercised by those communities having Aboriginal or Treaty rights to do so. Aboriginal and Treaty rights are recognized and affirmed by sections 35 of the Constitution of Canada.

Twenty-six modern treaties are in place in Canada which, among other things, address the role of signatories to those treaties respecting land management, wildlife harvesting and management, establishment and management of national parks and conservation areas, and natural resource conservation and development. These modern treaties cover over 50 percent of Canada's landmass.

Agreements between governments and Aboriginal authorities have led to the creation of cooperative management regimes for wildlife. Many Aboriginal communities have certain management authorities relating to the use of settlement and reserve lands and management of the resources on those lands. Through negotiated cooperative agreements, Aboriginal peoples are assuming increased responsibility for the management of biological resources.

Links to the Convention on Biological Diversity Strategic Plan 2011-2020.
This target for Canada is linked with the global Aichi Target 18.

Meeting the target

Customary use of biological resources by Aboriginal peoples is one way in which Aboriginal traditional knowledge (ATK) is promoted and applied. Meeting this target will require the application of traditional knowledge, and community driven process, in order to enable and support, where possible, ongoing customary activities that are compatible with the conservation and sustainable use of biological resources.

The identification of best practices, application of ATK and the development of local guidance by Aboriginal communities for the sustainable use of biodiversity can also be beneficial for biodiversity planning, implementation and management. This can lead to practical capacity building, tools and networks in support of community-led conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity at the local level.

How will progress be measured?

Data on the number of Aboriginal households participating in traditional activities, such as hunting, fishing, trapping and gathering of wild plants is available through the Aboriginal Peoples Survey undertaken by Statistics Canada. Data on consumption of traditional foods is available from Regional Health Surveys and other studies undertaken by Aboriginal organizations, as well as from the First Nations Food, Nutrition and Environment Study. Case studies illustrating customary use of biological resources by Aboriginal peoples will be gathered in collaboration with Aboriginal organizations.

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Target 13. By 2020, innovative mechanisms for fostering the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity are developed and applied.

Indicator:

  • Case studies which showcase the conservation and/or sustainable use of biodiversity through innovative mechanisms, in sectors and regions across Canada

Why is this target important for Canada?

Biodiversity generates and supports many valuable ecosystem services that provide an enormous range of social and economic benefits to Canadians. Successfully safeguarding biodiversity will mean exploring and applying the fullest possible range of strategies and tools. It will also mean harnessing innovation, expanding existing partnerships and forging new ones. Collaborative approaches to ecosystem and resource management are gaining momentum and have the added benefit of fostering stronger social networks and long-lasting solutions. Globally, efforts are growing to use economic, institutional and legal incentives to promote the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. Economic instruments, for example, can encourage environmentally friendly practices, boost green technology and innovation, and discourage resource waste and inefficiency without harming competitiveness and potentially enhancing it. Further, they can be applied in a wide range of ecosystem settings – from private woodlots and ranches, to public forests and downtown neighbourhoods. Much could be achieved by building on past successes, applying existing measures in new ways, and integrating biodiversity considerations into the mainstream of day-to-day decision-making in all sectors.

Links to the Convention on Biological Diversity Strategic Plan 2011-2020.
This target for Canada is linked with the global Aichi Target 3 and 4.

Meeting the target

Canada already has a strong record of innovation and there are many examples of Canadians working together to broaden the conservation “toolbox”. In Canada, measures for the protection of ecologically sensitive lands, beyond simple acquisition are well established. For example, the federal government and some provincial governments offer tax benefits for land donations under initiatives such as the Ecological Gifts Program. In Saskatchewan, Ducks Unlimited has led an innovative “reverse auction” to pay landowners for restoring wetlands in their fields and pastures, as a mechanism to restore 56,000 hectares of wetlands over 20 years. A group of non-governmental organizations and forestry companies worked hand in hand to craft the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement. Initiatives such as third-party certification programs can help develop markets for biodiversity-friendly products. Companies like Sobeys and Unilever are leading the way for manufacturers and retailers to green their supply chains.

Meeting this target will involve continuing efforts such as those described above, as well as further efforts to eliminate barriers to, and encourage investments in, conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. Assessing the efficacy of such innovative mechanisms in terms of environmental effects will identify best practices and support achieving the target.

Key concepts

Innovative mechanisms: A novel tool or approach to achieving biodiversity outcomes.  An innovative mechanism may be developed or applied by any sector or level of government. Examples may include, but aren't limited to:

  • New multi-stakeholder or public-private partnerships
  • Economic instruments, such as grants, tax measures, or payments for ecosystem services
  • Market-based incentives, such as certification programs
  • Enhanced legislative or regulatory measures, such as conservation allowances
  • Policies or programs, including corporate policies, designed to deliver new biodiversity benefits

How will progress be measured?

Progress on this target would be measured by documenting Canadian examples of innovative approaches and tools for biodiversity conservation. Case studies would be drawn from a variety of sources as part of the process for developing Canada's National Reports to the Convention on Biological Diversity. Reporting would highlight a cross-section of novel examples from different sectors and regions of Canada and will recognize and celebrate successes.

Goals and Targets - Introduction