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Statement: BSI President on Ministers' Meeting to Advance Conservation

June 28, 2018

Statement of Cathy Wilkinson, president of the Boreal Songbird Initiative, on today’s meeting of federal, provincial and territorial ministers to advance conservation

Ottawa: Thur. June 28, 2018: “Today's meeting marks encouraging progress toward Canada's plan to protect at least 17% of lands by 2020. One of the most significant outcomes is the recognition that Indigenous Nations are essential partners in the process and Indigenous protected areas are critical to Canada achieving its conservation goals.”

“The launch of the Nature Fund will accelerate real progress on the ground. As the ministers said, the fund will provide a ‘quick start’ that can help communities accelerate planning and establishment of new protected areas.”

“There is work to do ahead, but Canada is ready to move. And the Canadian public supports this: 87% of Canadians agree Canada should expand protected lands to at least 17% by 2020. And with today’s declaration, provinces and territories have demonstrated their commitment to meeting this goal as well.”

“Some of the biggest conservation opportunities are found Canada’s boreal forest. The boreal is the largest intact forest left on the planet, and Canada has a unique responsibility to conserve it for future generations. Indigenous Peoples are advancing innovative conservation plans in the region and partnering together is the most effective path forward.”

“Including a dedicated stream of funds to support Indigenous protected areas, Indigenous land use planning and other tools will create real conservation gains. Many Indigenous communities are moving forward with protected area proposals. With added support and partnerships with Canada, they can move closer to the goal.”