Montreal, Dec 7 (IANS) Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced that Canada will provide a new contribution of $350 million to support developing countries -- home to the vast majority of the world's biodiversity -- to advance conservation efforts.
This funding will support the implementation of the future Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF). This is in addition to the more than $1 billion, Canada has already pledged to support climate action projects that address the effects of climate change on biodiversity loss in developing countries.
The Prime Minister was in Montreal on Tuesday to welcome delegates from around the world to the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP15) to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity.
As a global leader in conservation, Canada stepped up to be the host location for COP15 from December 7 to 19 and renew the call for ambitious action to protect nature.
In his opening remarks, Trudeau highlighted Canada's commitment to ensuring COP15 is a success by working with international partners to reach an agreement on an ambitious post-2020 GBF. The GBF would provide a collective roadmap that will guide worldwide efforts on biodiversity conservation until 2030.
The new investment further positions Canada as a global leader in protecting nature.
It is in addition to billions of dollars in historic investments Canada has made since 2016 to conserve nature and biodiversity here at home and around the world. By stepping up and bringing the world together in Montreal, Canada can stop biodiversity loss and build a healthy planet for future generations.
'When people think of Canada, they think of our landscapes and the richness of our nature -- parts of who we are. Today, we welcome the world to Montreal to continue working together to make sure the planet we leave to our kids and grandkids has clean air, clean water and an abundance of nature to enjoy,' said Trudeau, whose speech was interrupted by a group of indigenous youth from Canada's west coast.
'Canada is a place of free expression where individuals and communities are free to express themselves openly and strongly, and we thank them for sharing their perspective,' he told the crowd.
In his address, Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, said the fight to protect nature has never been more important than it is right now.
'With a million species at risk of extinction around the world, COP15 is a generational opportunity to work together to halt and reverse biodiversity loss and create a nature-positive world.
'Canada stepped up to welcome the world for this conference and sees it as an opportunity to rally federal, provincial, territorial and indigenous ambition to protect 30 per cent of our lands and waters by 2030.'
Climate and development groups welcomed Trudeau's announcement.
Eddy Perez, International Climate Diplomacy Director, Climate Action Network, said: 'Investing in the protection, conservation and restoration of wetlands, forests, oceans and wildlife is investing in life. As a wealthy country -- and one that still exploits and consumes far more than its fair share of resources -- its Canada's responsibility to support biodiversity efforts around the world.
'The new funding for international solidarity for biodiversity is an encouraging sign, and it must not stop here. Canada must now convince other wealthy countries to step up and commit to increasing international public support for biodiversity by the end of this COP.'
From the red sand beaches of Prince Edward Island in the Atlantic, to the snow-capped Rockies in the West, to the permafrost that covers much of the Canadian Arctic -- Canada is known for landscapes.
Canada has ambitious goals to protect 25 per cent of its lands and oceans by 2025, and 30 per cent of each -- a land mass nearly as large as the European Union -- by 2030.
At COP15, Canada will continue to push other countries to commit to conserving 30 per cent of the world's land and oceans by 2030.