Environment Canada

Environment Canada

January 26, 2010 10:02 ET

Minister Prentice Highlights 2010 International Year of Biodiversity

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Jan. 26, 2010) - Canada's Environment Minister, and Minister Responsible for Parks Canada made the following statement today regarding the International Year of Biodiversity, which was launched recently by the United Nations in Berlin and celebrated by UNESCO in Paris.

"The Government of Canada is working to conserve biological diversity-sustaining the abundance and variety of life on Earth. Biodiversity offers economic opportunities, is a source of medical discoveries, and offers resources that can help us respond to environmental challenges such as climate change.

"The Government of Canada is a world leader on biodiversity. Canada was the first industrialized country to ratify the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity. We have worked with partners in the United States and Mexico to protect over 2.9 million hectares of wetlands and upland habitat for North American waterfowl. Through ongoing enforcement under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), Canada works with other nations and partners such as Interpol to control illegal international wildlife trade in endangered species from every corner of the globe, so that offenders cannot escape justice simply by crossing a border.

"In Canada, we have made substantial investments that support biodiversity. From Darkwoods, British Columbia, to the Nahanni Ecosystem in the Northwest Territories, to Deep Cove, Nova Scotia, and many other locations all across Canada, our Government has taken action to protect more than 100 million hectares of land - nearly 10% of Canada's land mass - and 3 million hectares of ocean.

"We have committed $275 million over five years on measures related to species at risk. We have also invested $225 million in the Natural Areas Conservation program, a key part in the acquisition of over 122,000 hectares to protect habitat for 79 species at risk. We have invested $5 million to work with provincial and territorial partners to address invasive alien species that threaten native wildlife. Under our Action Plan for Clean Water, we will invest $96 million to restore Lake Simcoe, Lake Winnipeg and areas of concern in the Great Lakes. Another $62 million will be invested in the Health of the Oceans initiative to protect the waters on Canada's three coasts.

"And our work is ongoing. Recent achievements include signing an agreement with the Haida Nation to co-manage a proposed Gwaii Hannas national marine conservation area, and agreeing to work with the Government of Nova Scotia to create a national wildlife area or national park at Sable Island.

"As we celebrate the International Year of Biodiversity, we encourage Canadians to seek opportunities this year to take action on biodiversity. Your actions, large or small, will help to protect the abundance and variety of life that is part of our natural heritage."

For further information on the 2010 International Year of Biodiversity, please visit the Web gateway of the 2010 International Year of Biodiversity, at www.cbd.int/2010, as well as the Web site of the Canadian Biodiversity Information Network, at www.cbin.ec.gc.ca.

For further information on the various programs of Environment Canada and of Parks Canada, please visit the following Web sites: www.ec.gc.ca and www.pc.gc.ca.

For further information and to view a backgrounder on this announcement, please visit: www.ec.gc.ca.

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Contact Information

  • Office of the Minister of the Environment
    Frederic Baril
    Press Secretary
    Environment Canada
    Media Relations