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Maritime conservationists keeping an eye on UN biodiversity conference in Montreal

Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Canada, right, shakes hands with Huang Runqiu, President, COP15 and Minister of Ecology and Environment of China following the opening news conference of COP15 the UN Biodiversity Conference in Montreal, Tuesday, December 6, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Canada, right, shakes hands with Huang Runqiu, President, COP15 and Minister of Ecology and Environment of China following the opening news conference of COP15 the UN Biodiversity Conference in Montreal, Tuesday, December 6, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
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Global biodiversity and Canada’s strategic goals with a focus on conservation are being discussed in Montreal at COP15.

“It's a once-in-a-decade and possibly a once-in-a-generation opportunity for the world to come together, to agree on a plan to stop nature loss,” said Nature Canada Policy & Campaign Director Gauri Sreenivasan.

Nearly 200 countries will strategize to save ecosystems around the world.

Ecology Action Centre wilderness outreach co-ordinator Karen McKendry will be watching closely.

“To have this international conversation in Canada, right at this crisis time, it’s key to see if actions in Nova Scotia and the actions of Nova Scotians are linking up with what the Canadian government wants to do across Canada,” said McKendry, who also said linking Canada with strategies from around the world will be a priority.

“In the past, the conventional biodiversity had goals that world would try meet over ten years. We had a set of goals from 2010 to 2020.”

McKendry said the meetings in Montreal will establish updated goals from 2020 to 2030.

“What I want to see is that Canada is aligning with other people in the world," said McKendry. "Because if we are all pulling in the same direction, it is likely to go better.”

Canada has vast amounts of forests and wetlands that support ecosystems. COP15 is happening at a time when people are better understanding the linkage between biodiversity and climate change.

McKendry wants Canada to be a global leader on protected areas.

“So many of the things that drive climate change are some of the things that drive biodiversity loss," said McKendry. "And so many of the things that help with climate change help reverse biodiversity loss.”

According to McKendry, COP15 is an opportunity to establish new global standards connected to nature-based climate solutions. These are potential solutions that could reverse biodiversity loss and protect the climate going forward.

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