Injection of funds toward nature-based solutions comes at critical time
TORONTO, APRIL 7, 2022 — Canada’s 2022 federal budget arrives amid deafening calls for urgent and ambitious action to deal with the worsening biodiversity and climate crises. New funding for the protection and restoration of nature sends a clear message that these crises are inextricably linked, and require coordinated actions to avoid the worst outcomes of climate change.
WWF-Canada celebrates the injection of $780-million into the Nature Smart Climate Solutions Fund for nature-based solutions. Alongside ambitious decarbonization efforts, they are critical to meeting Canada’s climate and biodiversity targets, and protecting 30 per cent of lands and waters by 2030.
We also applaud the creation of the British Columbia Old Growth Nature Fund ($55.1-million over three years) and the dedication of $77.1-million over five years toward community-level wildfire management. These forests provide critical habitat to at-risk species, absorb and store high amounts of carbon and are of deep cultural significance to B.C. First Nations. Proper stewardship of these lands is critical, and we call for much of this funding to be directed to Indigenous communities.
“It’s quite simple: more nature provides more habitat for wildlife, including species at risk, and stores more carbon. With one-third of the planet’s remaining intact wilderness nestled between our three oceans — and within Indigenous traditional territories — how we conserve and restore this nature will impact biodiversity loss, climate change and reconciliation,” says Megan Leslie, WWF-Canada’s president and CEO.
“So, we could not be more pleased to see nature-based solutions, which form the foundation of our 10-year strategic plan, playing a role in the 2022 budget. But execution is as important as funding — these efforts will require the right actions in the right places, and with the right attention to Indigenous rights, to ensure the outcomes we need to stay below 1.5C while advancing reconciliation.”
WWF-Canada’s recommendations for areas of focus include:
- Efforts to restore and protect key areas of high-carbon storage with co-benefits for wildlife (such as the Hudson and James Bay Lowlands) that are designed to advance Indigenous rights and governance. This includes creating the opportunity for more Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas and Guardians programs that can monitor wildlife and climate impacts.
- B.C.’s central interior, where the Secwepemcúl’ecw Restoration & Stewardship Society is measuring stored carbon while working to restore their traditional territory to precolonial conditions, beginning with 192,000 hectares badly damaged by climate-fueled wildfires. The budget’s commitment to advance fire management, including practices that support Indigenous knowledge and practices, can support important efforts to manage forests for future resilience to a changing climate.
“The key to delivering globally-leading nature-based solutions in Canada will be to implement policies and programs that provide measurable reductions in carbon emissions while simultaneously benefiting biodiversity and building resilience to future climate change.” said James Snider, WWF-Canada’s VP of Science, Knowledge and Innovation.
“Data like the kind provided by our national carbon map, which found 327 billion tonnes of carbon currently stored within Canada’s terrestrial ecosystems, can help determine priority areas. For instance, it showed that certain measures to protect at-risk species in the Wolastoq/Saint John River watershed would also prevent the release of 6.1 million tonnes of stored carbon.”
WWF-Canada is also pleased to see continued funding dedicated to the Oceans Protection Plan, and will be watching for more detail on how this funding will advance marine protection, safeguard at-risk whales and other species and support marine conservation efforts of Indigenous communities.
We look forward to working with the federal government and facilitating initiatives on the ground that reduce emissions and build resilience to climate impacts while advancing reconciliation and benefiting wildlife and communities.
For more information, contact:
Joshua Ostroff, senior communications manager: [email protected]
About World Wildlife Fund Canada
WWF-Canada is committed to equitable and effective conservation actions that restore nature, reverse wildlife loss and fight climate change. We draw on scientific analysis and Indigenous guidance to ensure all our efforts connect to a single goal: a future where wildlife, nature and people thrive. For more information visit wwf.ca.