Canada Biodiversity Target 1
By 2020, at least 17% of terrestrial areas and inland water, and 10% of marine and coastal areas of Canada are conserved through networks of protected areas and other effective area-based measures.
The role of Biosphere Reserves
Canada’s biosphere reserves are supporting and facilitating the establishment of protected and conserved areas with provinces, territories, Indigenous governments, and other key partners across the country.
Specifically, the Canadian Biosphere Reserves Association (CBRA) is exploring the potential for areas within biosphere reserves to qualify as Other Effective Area-Based Conservation Measures (OECMs) and Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas (IPCAs). This is part of a three year (2017-2020) contribution agreement with Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC).
2017 - Preliminary assessment
The first step was to assess whether there were any areas within Canada’s biosphere reserves that might qualify as OECMs or IPCAs:
CBRA published a report in March 2018 with preliminary findings, describing some of the opportunities for biosphere reserves, such as working with Indigenous Peoples and governments, and some of the challenges, such as moving forward with criteria for OECMs that Canada had not yet approved.
2018 - Pilot Project
In the summer of 2018, CBRA launched its Canada Target 1 Pilot Project, focusing on the seven most promising examples of potential OECMs and IPCAs located in the following biosphere reserves:
Tsá Tué, Northwest Territories (100% Indigenous-led) - IPCA
Redberry Lake, Saskatchewan - OECM
Lac Saint-Pierre, Québec - IPCA
Bras d’Or Lake, Nova Scotia - OECM/IPCA
Georgian Bay, Ontario - IPCA
Southwest Nova, Nova Scotia - OECM
Fundy, New Brunswick - IPCA
In December of 2018, CBRA published an interim progress report, telling the stories of the above biosphere reserves and the twists and turns in their journeys to establish these new protected and conserved areas. The report is currently available in English here, with the French translation in progress.
2019 - Recognize and report
In 2019, Canada’s biosphere reserves will support a variety of submissions to the Canada Nature Fund Challenge component, working with provinces, Indigenous Nations, and local partners to add both hectares and meaningful relationships to the achievement of Canada Target 1.
If Tsá Tué Biosphere Reserve alone were to be recognized as an IPCA, over 9 million hectares would be added to Canada’s protected and conserved lands. That’s 1% of the 17% goal.