Success depends on funding, milestones and timelines for Indigenous-led conservation solutions
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 9, 2022
VANCOUVER/UNCEDED xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (MUSQUEAM), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (SQUAMISH) AND səlilwətaɬ (TSLEIL-WAUTUTH) TERRITORIES – Sierra Club BC welcomes the B.C. government’s commitment to protect 30 per cent of the province’s land by 2030, including a mandate to work with Indigenous communities to create Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas.
The commitment was made in Premier David Eby’s mandate letter to Nathan Cullen, B.C.’s new Minister of Water, Land and Resource Stewardship. The mandate letter also calls for the development of a “new conservation financing mechanism to support protection of biodiverse areas.”
New, significant conservation funding commitments by the provincial government are overdue but expected to be included in a Nature Agreement between the B.C. and federal governments. Currently, about 15 per cent of B.C.’s land is protected but ecological zones with the highest biodiversity are significantly underrepresented in the protected area system. This announcement comes at the same time that the UN biodiversity conference in Montreal is looking to strike an international agreement to increase protection of lands and waters to 30 per cent by 2030.
“The B.C. government’s commitment to increase protection of lands to 30 per cent by 2030 and support Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas is a major milestone to safeguard biodiversity in this province. We are looking forward to a strong framework with milestones and timelines on the path to 2030 to ensure that next steps will be developed with Indigenous Nations, and that funding is tied to conservation goals so targets can be met without delay,” said Jens Wieting, Sierra Club BC’s Senior Forest and Climate Campaigner.
“The more than 1,900 species at risk in B.C. are a constant reminder that without immediate change on the ground the window of action to safeguard biodiversity as we know it is rapidly closing. Temporary steps like the long overdue logging deferrals for all at-risk-old-growth forests are crucial to avoid the loss of irreplaceable ecosystems during implementation of the 30 by 30 goal. Provincial biodiversity legislation, one of the Old-Growth Strategic Review recommendations, is key to sustain the web of life across B.C., without sacrifice zones.”
Excerpts from Premier David Eby’s mandate letter to Nathan Cullen, B.C.’s new Minister of Water, Land and Resource Stewardship:
“We have seen the impacts of short-term thinking on the British Columbia land base – exhausted forests, poisoned water, and contaminated sites. These impacts don’t just cost the public money to clean up and rehabilitate, they threaten the ability of entire communities to thrive and succeed.”
“With support from the Ministers of Forests and Jobs, Economic Development and Innovation, and the Parliamentary Secretary for Environment, develop a new conservation financing mechanism to support protection of biodiverse areas.
“Partnering with the federal government, industry, and communities, and working with Indigenous Peoples, lead the work to achieve the Nature Agreement’s goals of 30% protection of BC’s land base by 2030, including Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas.”
Jens Wieting, Senior Forest and Climate Campaigner | Sierra Club BC
Featured photo by Jarred Hobbs.