Canada Target 13

By 2020, innovative mechanisms for fostering the Goal Bconservation and sustainable use of biodiversity are developed and applied.


About the Target

Biodiversity underpins many valuable ecosystem services that provide an enormous range of social, cultural, economic, and infrastructure benefits to Canadians. Successfully safeguarding biodiversity will mean exploring and applying the fullest possible range of strategies and tools. It will also mean harnessing innovation, expanding existing partnerships and forging new ones. It will entail different kinds of knowledge including the physical and social sciences, traditional and practitioner knowledge, and economics. Collaborative approaches to ecosystem and resource management are gaining momentum and have the added benefit of fostering stronger social networks and long-lasting solutions. Globally, efforts are growing to use economic, institutional and legal incentives to promote the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. Economic instruments, for example, can encourage environmentally friendly practices, boost green technology and innovation, and discourage resource waste and inefficiency without harming competitiveness and potentially enhancing it. Further, they can be applied in a wide range of ecosystem settings – from private woodlots and ranches, to public forests and downtown neighbourhoods. Much could be achieved by building on past successes, applying existing measures in new ways, and integrating biodiversity considerations into the mainstream of day-to-day decision-making in all sectors.

Canada Target 13 is linked with the following global Aichi target under the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020: :

  • Aichi Target 3 - By 2020, at the latest, incentives, including subsidies, harmful to biodiversity are eliminated, phased out or reformed in order to minimize or avoid negative impacts, and positive incentives for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity are developed and applied, consistent and in harmony with the Convention and other relevant international obligations, taking into account national socio economic conditions.
  • Aichi Target 4 - By 2020, at the latest, Governments, business and stakeholders at all levels have taken steps to achieve or have implemented plans for sustainable production and consumption and have kept the impacts of use of natural resources well within safe ecological limits.

2018 Interim Progress Assessment

On track to meeting target iconCanada is on track to meet this target. A range of innovative mechanisms are being applied by federal, provincial, territorial, municipal, and Indigenous governments, industry organizations and non-government organizations.  They are often characterized by partnerships among levels of government and various organizations and groups.

Several examples of innovative mechanisms are summarized below. Please see the supplementary report on Canada Target 13, appended to Canada’s 6th National Report, for the full suite of case studies at the local, regional and national levels.

Revenue generation mechanisms such as municipal levies and revolving funds

Emerging models include new revenue generation mechanisms, such as green bonds. A green bond is a debt security issued to raise capital to support action to address key environmental issues such as climate change or biodiversity conservation. The City of Ottawa’s Green Bond Fund, created in 2017, is the first municipal green bond fund issued in Canada. While early revenues will be invested in Ottawa’s light rail transit project (intended in part to reduce city-wide transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions), it is anticipated that in the longer-term, revenues will be invested in projects such as forest and wetland restoration.

Conservation offsets such as habitat banking and water quality trading

Conservation offsets are mechanisms through which adverse impacts of development activities can be offset through or compensated by mitigation activities. For example, the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority has established a water quality trading initiative to help meet its goals related to storm-water related phosphorus discharge. Where the Authority’s zero discharge goal is not achievable on a particular site in the watershed, offsets may be pursued such as engineered wetlands, streambank restoration, or other low impact development technologies.

Tax instruments such as financial incentives and cost-share programs

Several tax incentive programs are in place to encourage protection of private land. The Natural Area Protection Tax Exemption Program (NAPTEP), for example, is a tax exemption mechanism administered by British Columbia’s Islands Trust, that provides landowners with an annual 65% exemption on property taxes for qualifying natural areas of their private property that are protected with a NAPTEP conservation covenant.

Land use and conservation planning tools.

A number of innovative planning tools are being implemented across the country, such as the Haida Gwaii Marine Plan, which was co-developed by the Council of the Haida Nation and the Province of British Columbia to demonstrate how to achieve sustainable economic development through an ecosystem-based management approach. The spatial component of the plan includes zoning for protection of the area’s rich ecological, cultural, and social values. Many Indigenous communities are pursuing similar land or marine use planning initiatives. For example, the Sahtu Dene First Nation have created a comprehensive land use plan which includes areas for protection, based on ecological and cultural values, as well as general use zones.

Voluntary/multi-stakeholder initiatives

Voluntary mechanisms such as certification programs for the forestry industry provide a market-driven, voluntary incentive for resource users to commit to sustainable management. Mistik Management Inc., for example, is an Indigenous owned and co-controlled corporation that manages a 1.9M ha Forest Management Agreement area in the boreal forests of northwest Saskatchewan. Its commitment and adherence to the international voluntary standards of the Forest Stewardship Council have delivered significant biodiversity conservation, sustainable use, social and economic outcomes for the Indigenous communities of that landscape.

Other policies and programs

The Municipal Natural Assets Initiative (MNAI) helps local governments ‘account’ for nature. It provides expertise to identify, value, and account for natural assets such as wetlands, in municipal financial planning and asset management programs. Pilot projects in diverse municipalities across Canada have shown that these natural assets provide equivalent services to engineered alternatives and are resilient in the face of climate change or intensified development. For example, the aquifer in the Town of Gibsons, British Columbia provides natural water storage and filtration, while delivering drinking water so pure it meets health standards without any chemical treatment.


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