Responding to the Global Biodiversity Crisis

August 8, 2023

The global biodiversity crisis, characterized by the rapid decline of species and the degradation of life-sustaining ecosystems, will have severe consequences for human wellbeing. Governments around the world must act quickly to halt biodiversity loss and achieve transformative change in the way humans interact with the environment. Urgent action is needed to address this crisis and to protect and restore the world's biodiversity. 

The most recent meeting of nations to address the crisis took place in December 2022. At their fifteenth meeting in Montréal, Québec (COP 15), the parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity adopted a framework to address biodiversity loss and conserve nature. The Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (KMGBF) outlines 23 targets to be achieved by 2030 and four long-term goals for 2050 to protect and restore biodiversity.

Canada’s Response to COP 15

Since COP 15, the Government of Canada has been working to renew the national Biodiversity Strategy, to include the goals and targets outlined in the KMGBF.[1] The 2030 Biodiversity Strategy will reflect Canada’s priorities for halting and reversing biodiversity loss and will include implementing sustainable resource management, conserving habitats, and creating Indigenous-led conservation initiatives. Under the Strategy, Canada will develop a robust measurement framework to track progress toward the KMGBF goals and targets.

Before the detailed content of the Strategy is finalized, Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) is engaging with Canadians to inform its development. Formal engagement began in May 2023, when ECCC hosted a National Biodiversity Symposium, open to all Canadians. The Symposium outlined the KMGBF goals and targets and the process and timelines for developing the Strategy, and it invited perspectives from Canadians regarding how they can contribute to the development and implementation of the Strategy.

Between May and July of 2023, the Government of Canada conducted its first round of consultations on the Strategy via an online survey open to all Canadians. In the survey, Canadians could share their input on the issues, challenges, and opportunities that arise in creating a national Biodiversity Strategy. Government has committed to additional engagement opportunities to further develop the Strategy between now and December 2023.

East Coast Environmental Law’s Involvement Since COP 15

Since the KMGBF was adopted at COP 15, East Coast Environmental Law (ECEL) has worked to contribute to the development of Canada’s 2030 Biodiversity Strategy by submitting comments directly via the online survey and as a collaborator on a submission by national and regional environmental and nature groups. The collaborative submission, entitled, Joint environmental organization input into Canada’s National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan, outlines high-level recommendations focused on delivering transformative change and more detailed recommendations in areas where collaborating groups have expertise. 

Additionally, ECEL has participated in virtual engagement sessions to inform the development of Canada’s 2030 Biodiversity Strategy, including the National Biodiversity Symposium and stakeholder engagement session, both hosted by ECCC in May and June respectively, and the Global Biodiversity Framework Engagement Session hosted by Fisheries and Oceans Canada in July.  

The global biodiversity crisis poses a significant threat to the health and wellbeing of species and ecosystems and requires immediate action from governments. ECEL encourages participation in developing Canada’s 2030 Biodiversity Strategy to ensure it reflects the priorities and values of Canadians. By participating in consultations and other engagement opportunities, Canadians can contribute to the development of a robust and effective Biodiversity Strategy. 

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Lisa Mitchell, Executive Director and Senior Lawyer

ECEL Cat Blog Photo

Cat MacKinnon, ECEL Summer Student and Law Student at the University of New Brunswick


[1] Canada’s first response to the Convention on Biodiversity was the Canadian Biodiversity Strategy in 1995, followed by the Biodiversity Outcomes Framework in 2008 and the Biodiversity Goals and Targets for Canada in 2016.