Canada's capital building lit up at night and surrounded by trees in Ottawa, Ontario.
Ottawa Skyline Nature has astounding potential in Canada © Tony Tremblay

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In Speech from the Throne, Government Renews Commitment to Climate Action, Nature-Based Solutions and Indigenous-Led Conservation

In today’s Speech from the Throne, the federal government signaled its renewed commitment to taking immediate action on climate change; investing in nature-based solutions for an equitable and sustainable economic recovery; and advancing reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.

Recognizing that the Speech from the Throne was given during Climate Week 2020, Nature United was invigorated by the Government of Canada’s ambitious commitments to exceed its 2030 climate goal and take action for protection of 25% of Canada’s lands and waters. The government also emphasized the connection between Canada’s economic health and the need for investments in protecting, managing and restoring nature—a connection that is critical as we recover from the Covid-19 crisis.

“Canada cannot reach our ambitious climate targets without collaboration and partnership amid a broad group of actors, including Indigenous leaders, ranchers, farmers, and foresters. It was exciting to hear the Government of Canada recognize the roles that these groups can play in the fight against climate change, and how nature can help us reach our climate targets,” said Hadley Archer, Executive Director of Nature United. "Informed and guided by Indigenous knowledge and approaches, natural climate solutions provide an opportunity to harness nature to deliver both short and long-term impact for our climate."

For decades, Nature United and its global affiliate have been working with Indigenous communities in British Columbia, Manitoba and the Northwest Territories to support Indigenous-led conservation. Nature United is now putting additional emphasis on tackling climate change through natural climate solutions, the actions to protect, manage, and restore forests, grasslands, agricultural lands, and wetlands resulting in avoided and captured GHG emissions.

Specifically, Nature United was encouraged by sections of the speech, which:

  • Committed to immediately bringing forward a plan to exceed Canada’s 2030 climate goal;
  • Committed to continue its policy of putting a price on pollution, and recommitting to using nature-based solutions to fight climate change and planting 2 billion trees;
  • Promised action on protected areas through conservation of 25% of Canada’s land and oceans over the next 5 years;
  • Announced plans to grow Canada’s ocean economy to create opportunities for fishers and coastal communities, while advancing reconciliation and conservation objectives;
  • Recognized farmers, foresters, and ranchers as key partners in the fight against climate change, supporting their efforts to reduce emissions and build resilience; and
  • Promised to move forward legislation to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples before the end of this year.

Achieving these ambitions—including realizing the full potential of natural climate solutions in Canada—will take vision and dedication from crown governments, Indigenous governments and the corporate sector. There is hard work ahead in order to enable natural climate solutions at scale and achieve 25% protected areas by 2025. These goals will require advances in policy, market-based approaches and financing.

Natural climate solutions are available now, relatively affordable, and come with a host of additional benefits beyond mitigating climate change.

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Still, we are confident in the potential of natural climate solutions. They are available now, relatively affordable, and come with a host of additional benefits beyond mitigating climate change. When done in partnership with Indigenous communities, the corporate sector, and local governments and actors, natural climate solutions can also advance reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, safeguard cultural heritage and biodiversity protection, improve community resilience and contribute to jobs and the economy.

“There has been significant progress over the years to conserve Canada’s natural spaces and protect our environment but more needs to be done,” said Archer. “Policy commitments need to be followed by action and collaboration to spur economic recovery and tackle the challenge of our lifetime. We are excited by the prospect of what’s to come.”

Nature United is committed to the hard work that lies ahead to ensure Canada is equipped to address its most pressing challenges, which the Government outlined in its Speech from the Throne today: Tackling climate change, recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic, and advancing reconciliation with Indigenous communities.

We look forward to lending our global and local expertise in natural climate solutions, conservation finance, and working in respectful partnership with Indigenous communities, as we collaborate to deliver on these critical policy priorities.

Nature United was founded as an Canadian charity in 2014, building on decades of conservation in Canada. Headquartered in Toronto, the organization has field staff located across the country. Nature United supports Indigenous leadership, sustainable economic development, and large-scale conservation, primarily in the Great Bear Rainforest, Clayoquot Sound, the Northwest Territories, and northern Manitoba.

We are the Canadian affiliate of The Nature Conservancy (nature.org), the world’s largest conservation organization, with more than 3,600 staff worldwide, 400 scientists and 1 million supporters. TNC tackles leading conservation threats at the greatest scale to help people and nature thrive, and is working to make a lasting difference around the world in 79 countries.