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Prime Minister Stephen Harper today launched the National Conservation Plan (NCP), which will provide a more coordinated approach to conservation efforts across the country with an emphasis on enabling Canadians to conserve and restore lands and waters in and around their communities, and making it easier for citizens living in cities to connect with nature. The Prime Minister was joined by Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of the Environment, Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency and Minister for the Arctic Council, and Keith Ashfield, Member of Parliament for Fredericton.
The NCP, which was a commitment made in the 2013 Speech from the Throne, will include significant additional investments over five years to secure ecologically sensitive lands, support voluntary conservation and restoration actions, and strengthen marine and coastal conservation. In addition, it includes new initiatives designed to restore wetlands and to encourage Canadians to connect with nature close to home through protected areas and green spaces located in or near urban areas.
The Plan will expand opportunities for partners, including municipalities, environmental interest groups, hunters and anglers, landowners and community groups, to take practical actions to safeguard the land and water around them in the three following priority areas:
- Conserving Canada’s lands and waters
- Restoring Canada’s ecosystems
- Connecting Canadians to nature
Progress under the NCP will be measured against a set of outcomes related to land and ocean conservation, restoration of lands and shorelines, opportunities for Canadians to experience nature, and access to improved information about Canada’s natural environment.
The NCP also complements the proposed 2020 Biodiversity Goals and Targets for Canada, which were developed together with our conservation partners, as part of our participation in the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity. NCP initiatives will help us make progress on many of the targets. The goals and targets will also help to measure and report on progress for some areas of the NCP.
The NCP is one of the many initiatives the Government has undertaken to protect Canada’s natural heritage for the benefit of future generations. It complements significant efforts, including creating new parks, protecting ecologically sensitive lands, protecting species at risk and their habitat, and improving water quality.
Since 2006, our Government has:
- made a six-fold expansion of the Nahanni National Park Reserve in the Northwest Territories, considered to be the most significant conservation achievement in a generation;
- secured almost 4,000 km² of ecologically sensitive private lands;
- added an area nearly twice the size of Vancouver Island to the network of federal protected areas;
- advanced work to create the first national urban park and have designated three additional marine protected areas;
- supported partners in the delivery of hundreds of local projects to protect species at risk and their habitats; and,
- taken steps to improve water quality in the Great Lakes, Lake Simcoe, and Lake Winnipeg, rehabilitated recreational fisheries habitat, and are working to clean up contaminated sites.
“Our Government is committed to working closely with Canadians so that together we can provide effective stewardship of Canada’s rich natural heritage for present and future generations. The National Conservation Plan will help ensure the sustainability of our nation’s greatest resources, contribute to our country’s long-term prosperity and further position Canada as a world leader in conservation. It will also help ensure that Canadian families and visitors can enjoy the beauty of our country from coast to coast to coast for years to come.” – Prime Minister Stephen Harper