Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau urged countries with the largest land mass to be more active to protect the biodiversity of their land and water.
Trudeau made this statement at the UN special session on the sidelines of the virtual General Assembly meeting.
The Prime Minister participated in the Leaders Event for Nature and People.
He was talking about Ottawa’s support for a UN initiative to protect 30 per cent of land and oceans by 2030.
But Trudeau says that Canada is the only country in the top-10 largest countries by land mass that has joined the initiative.
Canada consider Indigenous peoples as necessary partners and will be working with them.
One Indigenous leader welcomed Trudeau’s statement and said it could also help Canada’s ongoing efforts with reconciliation.
“Respecting this leadership will also advance reconciliation and build a more equitable and sustainable future. Much of the recent progress in conserving lands – including forests and wetlands that store massive amounts of carbon – has come from Indigenous Nations,” said Frank Brown, a member of the Heiltsuk Nation and senior leader with the Indigenous Leadership Initiative, in a statement.
“Now, by placing Indigenous-led conservation at the heart of its approach to protecting both nature and climate, Canada can lead the world in promoting a new model of ethical conservation – one rooted in respect, responsibility, and reconciliation.”
Trudeau specified the government will go forward with its ambitions to plant two billion trees, prohibit many single-use plastics and protect wetlands.
The initiative known as the “high ambition coalition” was launched late last year by Costa Rica and France.
The government said in a statement that Canada is “uniquely positioned” to take part because it has the second-largest land mass in the word, one-fifth of the world’s fresh water, and the longest coastline in the world. Taken together, Canada’s natural features play a critical role in fighting climate change, it said.
“Our forests, grasslands, and peatlands absorb enormous amounts of carbon pollution and are our best ally in protecting our climate,” the statement said.
Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson said in a statement that expanding protected areas is “critical not just for stopping the loss of nature and biodiversity but also to fighting climate change and helping prevent future pandemics.”