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Cautious optimism, one year after COP15 on biodiversity | COP15: summit on biodiversity in Montreal

Natasha Kumar By Natasha Kumar Dec23,2023

In December 2022, the Global Biodiversity Framework was adopted in Montreal. This agreement, considered ambitious, aims to protect the fauna and flora on the planet. One year later, where is Canada?

Cautious optimism, one year after COP15 on biodiversity | COP15: summit on biodiversity in Montreal

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The conference was held from December 7 to 19, 2022 in Montreal.

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It took long negotiations , until the night of December 18 to 19, 2022, for 195 countries to agree on the Global Biodiversity Framework, an agreement considered ambitious, at the end of COP15, held in Montreal. p>

Among the targets: protect 30% of land and oceans by 2030.

The federal Minister of the Environment, Steven Guilbeault, then welcomed this Kunming-Montreal agreement – ​​the conference planned in China had been moved to the Quebec metropolis due to health restrictions – which was obtained not without difficulty.

Mr. President, barely six months ago, we did not even know that we were going to be able to hold this conference, let alone adopt this historic agreement, said Mr. Guilbeault in his closing speech.

A year after the biodiversity conference, biologists and environmentalists are optimistic.

COP15: biodiversity summit in Montreal

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COP15: summit on biodiversity in Montreal

Consult the complete file


The federal government has committed to tabling a bill intended to set the objectives to be achieved in terms of biodiversity in Canada and to make them binding. This is certainly a first in Canada and probably in the world as well, estimates lawyer Josh Ginsberg, of the environmental organization Ecojustice. According to him, few countries have decided to enshrine their objectives in law.

The federal authorities are in agreement with the need for accountability, argues the lawyer. It will be necessary to determine what the targets are and how they will apply to the country. We need to clarify this aspect, but we hope that is the intention [of the federal government], adds Josh Ginsberg, who says he is encouraged by this development.

The Quebec government must, for its part, unveil its Nature Plan next spring. However, time is running out, recalls the senior director of the Quebec section of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS), Alice de Swarte.

What we expect to see for the plans that will be submitted in 2024 is a lot of concrete, so we hope to see specific actions and strategic actions proposed in these plans, because there will only be more than six years, explains Ms. de Swarte. It is entirely possible and realistic to have 30% of the territory protected in Canada and Quebec by 2030.

In Quebec, by example, 17% of the territory is already protected. This proportion is 19% in Yukon and 4% in Prince Edward Island. In total, 12% of Canadian territory is protected.

What the speakers also note is that the subject has made its way into the minds of decision-makers, both at all levels of government and in civil society.

For Andrew Gonzalez, biologist at McGill University and co-director of the Quebec Biodiversity Science Center, the year following COP15 made it possible to obtain more #x27;information and develop action plans.

What's fascinating is in the private sector, where companies must now assess, disclose and mitigate their environmental footprint, particularly in Europe, explains the scientist with verve.

Companies are looking for extra-financial data, that is to say information on biodiversity, says Andrew Gonzalez. Me, with my researcher hat, I focus on modeling that can be used for this purpose. That's a revolution!

The fact remains that until the intentions of the federal and provincial governments are announced, species saw their habitat further threatened. This is particularly the case for the chorus frog and the woodland caribou, whose protection strategy must be announced by Quebec in mid-January, after several postponements.

To restore an ecosystem, we are talking about 30 or 40 years. It can go up to 100 or 200 years when it comes to certain types of environments such as forests, wetlands, swamps. So, it is obvious that we must act immediately, explains biologist Andrew Gonzalez.

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Natasha Kumar

By Natasha Kumar

Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my 1-800-268-7116

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