Biodiversity - Quebec on its way to miss international targets

Montreal, January 26th, 2016 – Nature Quebec and CPAWS Quebec (SNAP Quebec) unveil today the first assessment of Quebec’s actions to protect biodiversity, in presence of Mr. Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias, Executive
Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity.

Named “Nagoya+”, in reference to the commitments taken by the international community in Japan in 2010, this report aims to assess Quebec’s progress in terms of biodiversity protection and offers recommendations to ensure
the province will meet the minimal 2020 objectives.

"Quebec possess unique biodiversity, including some of the last intact forests and watersheds on our planet. Achieving the Aichi Biodiversity targets is a necessary step to protect this natural heritage for future generations" said Dr Dias, Executive Secretary of the CDB. "Subnational governments, such as provincial and regional governments play a crucial role in protecting biodiversity and it is for this I believe Quebec has the potential to become a conservation leader" he added.

A very poor assessment

The analysis released today shows that if current trends continue, none of the Aichi targets will be reached in Quebec. As an example, Target 11 calls for worldwide governments to create a representative system of protected areas covering 17% of land and freshwater areas, and 10% of coastal and marine areas. In Quebec, the analysis finds that progress is minimal in terms of coverage since 2010, many ecosystems are under-represented, and that regional proposals are blocked.

The way Plan Nord is implemented will be crucial to reach Target 11. To preserve the integrity of northern Quebec, the province must begin environmental planning exercises to identify which 50% of the territory will be set aside
from industrial activities.

The commitment to reach 20% protected areas by 2020 announced in the framework of the Plan Nord, however, will not be enough to complete a representative system. Many areas are waiting for protection in southern Quebec,
where pressure on biodiversity is higher.

“One must not forget the ecosystems of southern Quebec. These are the richer in terms of fauna and flora, and this is where most endangered species are found. We have to protect these precious habitats, which are close to the
population” reminds Christian Simard, Nature Québec executive director.

Quebec does not allocate adequate financial resources

The steady fall of financial resources, regulations out of date and the lack of a national action plan, monitoring and assessment mechanisms and consultation bodies must be overcome quickly, otherwise biodiversity losses will be irreversible.

“Not only many of our species became threatened or vulnerable, but they also became orphan due to the few investment made by Government of Quebec to ensure their restoration and to put in place a safety net worthy of the name,” points out Alain Branchaud, Executive Director of CPAWS Quebec.

Restore conservation at the heart of the megaprojects of the Government of Quebec

«There is still time to turn the tide, if we put biodiversity back in our priorities, notably by making sure that departments in charge of implementing projects such as Plan Nord and Maritime Strategy fully contribute to meeting our international commitments, » adds Alain Branchaud.

Each target assessed in the report is followed by a set of recommendations. The establishment of good work tools, such as an action plan for protected areas, a sustainable land development policy as well as better interdepartmental collaboration, and financial resources allocated to conservation would enable Quebec to stop its loss of biodiversity and become a real leader.

« It is one minute before midnight for biodiversity in Québec and it is everyone’s business. » concludes Christian Simard. « We offer our collaboration and expertise to ensure that Quebec will meet these international targets. Civil society must be involved and conservation initiatives need to be supported. »

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Link to full report (in French only)
Link to Nagoya+ website


Mélissa Vaitilingame
Head of communications – CPAWS Quebec
Tel. 514-278-7627 #221 or Cell : 514-708-3085

Héloïse Fernandez
Head of communications – Nature Quebec
Tél. : 418 648-2104 # 2074 or 418 931-1131