International Day of Biological Diversity
Today is International Day for Biological Diversity, an opportunity for everyone around the world to focus on the incredible diversity of species on earth and our interconnectedness with them.
At Nature Canada, we focus on protecting Canadian wildlife, but everyday our work shows us the truly international nature of biodiversity, and the importance of worldwide efforts to protect it.
For example, protecting the Monarch butterfly cannot be achieved simply by actions in Canada, although they are important. We need coordinated action across the Monarch’s migration route, with Mexico and the United States. Our work in protecting migratory birds, such as the Canada Warbler, Purple Martin and Red Knot similarly depend on international collaboration throughout their entire range.
May is a special month for Nature Canada members as we celebrate International Migratory Bird Day with events across the country. Next year, 2016, will be particularly special as we will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Migratory Bird Convention. The Migratory Birds Convention is a great example of countries working together to protect wildlife, and Nature Canada was pleased to see the importance of these types of agreements recognized in the recent signing of a trilateral agreement with Mexico and the US to protect bats, as well as the commitment of the leaders of the three countries to protect monarchs. We look forward to seeing Canada match funding commitments from other countries to give teeth to these recent agreements and allow the urgent action needed to protect these species before it is too late.
North American collaboration is an important focus for Canada in wildlife conservation, but so much more is possible. On this United Nations International Day of Biodiversity let’s remember than the UN’s Office of the Convention on Biological Diversity is located right here in Canada, in Montreal. That gives us a special relationship with United Nations efforts to protect biodiversity, yet Canada has not signed the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals.
Canada has all the ingredients to be leading the world on issues of biodiversity – majestic wild spaces and awe-inspiring wildlife, strong legislation in the Species at Risk Act (SARA), a recent re-commitment to biodiversity goals and targets, international agreements to protect wildlife, and neighbours who have put money on the table. But as a country we need to step up and do more to preserve habitats in Canada and around the world for our treasured biodiversity.