Definition: Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss
- By 2020, ensure the conservation, restoration and sustainable use of terrestrial and inland freshwater ecosystems and their services, in particular forests, wetlands, mountains and drylands, in line with obligations under international agreements
- By 2020, promote the implementation of sustainable management of all types of forests, halt deforestation, restore degraded forests and substantially increase afforestation and reforestation globally
- Take urgent and significant action to reduce the degradation of natural habitats, halt the loss of biodiversity and, by 2020, protect and prevent the extinction of threatened species
- By 2020, integrate ecosystem and biodiversity values into national and local planning, development processes, poverty reduction strategies and accounts
List of Policy Changes and Cuts:
- Changes to endangered species act
- Cancelled the 50 million tree planting program
The More Homes, More Choice Act 2019 which was passed in June, made sweeping changes to the Endangered Species Act. The passage of the Act allows the Environment Minister to limit protections for endangered species, delay protections for up to three years after a species is listed as endangered, and request that the Committee on the Status of Species at Risk in Ontario reconsider its classifications.
In order to expedite development, the Act also enables businesses to pay into a “conservation fund” in exchange for permission to disregard a section of the Endangered Species Act, which prohibits killing, capturing, harassing, buying and selling endangered animals. The funds accrued would be allocated to projects elsewhere that may mitigate damage.
The motivation for this change appears to connect to the goal of promoting growth and development while cutting red tape. The measures in place to reduce the effects of destroying endangered animal habitats are inadequate, and truly threatens our ecosystems. The United Nations released a report in 2019 highlighting the consequences of the rapid acceleration of species extinction and the negative consequences it holds, including threats to water and food security, and human health.[i]
The “50 million tree” program, which has planted more than 27 million trees across the province since 2008, was initially cancelled due to a reduction in funding provincially. The goal of the program was to increase forest coverage across the province by working with landowners to plant more trees on private lands. Forestation is beneficial as trees absorb Carbon Dioxide and other harmful gases. The program has been maintained through federal government funding.
[i] United Nations. (2019). UN Report: Nature’s Dangerous Decline ‘Unprecedent’; Species Extinction Rates ‘Accelerating’. Retrieved June 24, 2019, from https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/blog/2019/05/nature-decline-unprecedented-report/.