the spotted owl It is a Canadian symbol of the collapse of the world’s biodiversity. In Canada, only one female remains in the wild, and logging and other industries threaten to make her disappear entirely.
On Wednesday, Greenpeace Canada inflated a giant owl on the grounds of Rideau Hall, near Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s residence, to demand progress on a promised nature protection law.
Last December, Ottawa announced its commitment to introduce a new environmental liability bill in 2024. The bill aims to develop a framework for the federal government to protect 30 per cent of Canada’s land and waters and regularly report about progress.
Greenpeace’s action comes as the House begins its winter session and ahead of the COP16 biodiversity conference in Colombia later this year. COP16 will follow up on negotiations on the Kunming-Montreal historical framework drawn up in Montreal at the end of 2022.
The international agreement commits countries to protecting 30 percent of land and waters by 2030 and recognizes indigenous leadership as a central pillar to achieving those goals. The agreement also reaffirms the right to free, prior and informed consent of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. However, not all indigenous people were happy with the agreement.
The agreement was a historic milestone in the fight against the global biodiversity crisis, and is largely considered similar to major climate agreements such as those in Paris or Kyoto.
One million Species are at risk of extinction globally, according to the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, an independent international group of scientists and knowledge holders established to help inform better biodiversity policies.
In Canada, about one in five species has some risk level.
Greenpeace’s action comes as the House begins its winter session and ahead of the COP16 biodiversity conference in Colombia later this year. #climate #CanPoli #Nature
Shane Moffatt, head of food and nature campaigns at Greenpeace Canada, says the legislation is a “litmus test” of Ottawa’s sincerity in taking steps to meet its Kunming-Montreal commitments.
“This would make his big promises come true and implement them here in Canada,” he added. “Without legislation that delivers on those promises, the government will only talk more.”
Greenpeace Canada wants robust public reporting, government accountability and resources for civil society if targets are not met. Moffatt also points out the importance of indigenous rights and knowledge systems being explicitly included in legislation.
Ottawa is targeting a 2024 introduction of the promised environmental liability bill ahead of COP16, said Kaitlin Power, press secretary for Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault. It is unclear whether the bill will be able to pass all of its readings and committees before COP16 in the fall.
“Together, the bill and the Biodiversity Strategy 2030 will provide a robust and coordinated approach to meet [Global Biodiversity Framework] commitments in Canada,” said a statement from Power.
Asked if he had a message for Prime Minister Trudeau and Guilbeault, Moffatt said: “Not words, but deeds.
“We need to keep our promises, not make more promises.”
— With files from Natasha Bulowski and John Woodside
Matteo Cimellaro / Canada’s National Observer / Local Journalism Initiative