Innovating Canada’s approach to the conservation of fish, wildlife and biodiversity
November 28 to December 1, 2017
We acknowledge the summit takes place on the traditional territory of the Stoney Nation.
This territory is covered by Treaty 7.
Canada’s 150th anniversary provides a moment to step back and evaluate the major challenges and opportunities around fish, wildlife, and biodiversity conservation and chart a path forward for innovative actions to ensure abundant wildlife and habitat for future generations.
Identify practical solutions and opportunities for conservation that includes environmental, economic, and social dimensions.
Build common ground for conservation efforts among a broad cross-section of Canadian society.
Support follow up action on key initiatives for the conservation of the full diversity of wildlife and their habitats.
The world of conservation has changed dramatically over the 50 years since Canada’s centennial in 1967, as has the role of government, NGOs, industry, and Indigenous Peoples. What has remained constant is that conservation is about innovating and improving how we manage, conserve and use landscapes, wildlife and biodiversity in ways that maintain abundant wildlife populations, unique species, and natural habitat while still allowing us to derive the benefits of food, resources, and recreation.
Several of the challenges from the 1960s remain today, such as how to balance agricultural production or forestry with conservation objectives. At the same time, new challenges have arisen and the scale of activity on the landscape and seascape has increased, as has the pace and extent of cumulative impacts on the ecology and resilience of these areas. In addition, the impacts of climate change have become far more apparent and widespread and the need to support wildlife’s capacity to adapt and respond is becoming urgent.
The institutions built in the 60s and 70s to protect and manage wildlife and biodiversity have also changed dramatically. Government capacity has been significantly reduced over this time period while new responsibilities have been added, presenting a critical challenge to provincial and federal conservation program delivery. Meanwhile, Indigenous Peoples have gained increased legal clarity and responsibility for wildlife management and biodiversity conservation within their traditional areas. Non-government organizations have grown in capacity, taken on roles governments used to play, and are seeking new and broader partnerships for conservation. Finally, industry has found new ways of collaborating with the conservation sector to reduce or mitigate impacts and also realize new economic opportunities.
With respect to the link between Indigenous Peoples and conservation, in the conservation community globally, there is a collective recognition of the inextricable link between cultural, linguistic and biological diversity. In Canada, adopting and incorporating Indigenous paradigms of conservation, economy, and relationship to lands and waters will be a key part of ensuring the success of future conservation efforts. The Indigenous-European agreements that are part of the founding of the country position Canada uniquely in the world to embrace the leadership that Indigenous Peoples have to offer in regard to how we conserve biodiversity for future generations of all Canadians.
We believe these substantial changes in both the scale of the conservation challenge and the roles of different sectors in society calls for new thinking on landscape and biodiversity conservation. The National Conservation Summit is one step in responding to these challenges.