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press release

COP15: Ecojustice applauds Guilbeault’s leadership; urges him to follow through on high ambition

December 19, 2022

TIOTIÀ:KE [MONTREAL]/ TRADITIONAL TERRITORY OF THE KANIEN’KEHÁ:KA PEOPLES OF THE HAUDENOSAUNEE CONFEDERACY Ecojustice applauds the Government of Canada, in particular Minister of Environment and Climate Change Steven Guilbeault, for the leadership they displayed as host of the 15th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP15) and in getting the Kunming-Montreal post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework adopted.  

Whether the deal lives up to its transformational potential will depend on how individual countries, such as Canada, implement it domestically. For its part, Canada signaled its ambition at COP15 by announcing a series of strong commitments to protect nature, including $800 million in finding for Indigenous-led conservations projects and indicating support for enshrining Canada’s nature targets in an accountability law.  

Melanie Snow, Ecojustice legislative affairs specialist, said the federal government must now move to enshrine Canada’s commitments in law: 

“The Government of Canada demonstrated at COP15 that it understands what it takes to be a leader in the global fight to protect halt and reverse nature loss. The federal government must now translate the ambition and commitment it had on display on the international stage into concrete, meaningful action at home. 

“Ecojustice is pleased Minister Guilbeault signaled his support for enshrining Canada’s 2030 nature target in an accountability law during COP15. We now urge the minister to develop a legislative framework — grounded in ethical cooperation with Indigenous leadership — that binds Canada’s nature targets to a clear timeline where 30×30 is the floor rather than the ceiling, decolonizes protection and restoration practices, and ensures future governments are held to account for meeting Canada’s nature targets. 

“Ecojustice also applauds the federal government’s $800 million pledge of support for Indigenous-led conservation projects and the launch of the First Nations Guardians Network. Both announcements signal a new willingness to center Indigenous leadership in developing and implementing solutions to protect nature. We call on the Government of Canada to further reimagine the role of Indigenous governance alongside our existing colonial system of laws and reshape Canada’s exploitive relationship with nature.  

“The federal government must also work to reduce pesticide use and lessen the toll they take on nature. Sales of pesticides in Canada have increased by a staggering 30 per cent in the last decade, even as many other jurisdictions, such as countries in the EU, have moved to restrict their use. It’s time for Canada to follow suit.  

“Ecojustice looks forward to working with the federal government and promoting solutions to halt and reverse nature loss, respect Indigenous rights and sovereignty, and ensure a livable world for generations to come.”