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Expert Task Teams

Seven expert task teams are each gathering information on a specific topic in order to prepare a summary report with options. These reports will help inform the advice that will be provided by the national advisory panel to Ministers in order to create the final Pathway to Canada Target 1.


Defining protected areas and other effective conservation measures

The purpose of the work of this Expert Task Team is to help inform advice that will lead to official adoption by Federal, Provincial and Territorial governments of a national standard for identifying terrestrial conservation areas that count toward Canada’s national 2020 biodiversity Target 1; specifically the definitions of protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures (OECMs). 

Both the international Aichi Target 11 and Canada Target 1 recognize that that ‘traditional’ parks/protected areas as well as “other effective area based conservation measures” (OECM’s) can contribute to the recovery of biodiversity and so both should count towards the Canada’s 17% biodiversity target. This task team will develop a national standard for reporting on protecting areas contribution to Canada’s terrestrial biodiversity targets that builds on the advice that has been developed both domestically and internationally. Recognition of existing but unreported conservation measures will help Canada report more comprehensively on the extent of efforts to conserve Canada’s terrestrial biodiversity and reach the target.

Indigenous conservation areas and equitable management from an Indigenous perspective

Aichi Target 11 states that protected areas should be established and managed in close collaboration with and through equitable processes that recognize and respect the rights of indigenous and local communities and vulnerable populations. These communities should be fully engaged in governing and managing protected areas according to their rights, knowledge, capacities and institutions. They should equitably share in the benefits arising from protected areas and should not bear inequitable costs.

Formal recognition of Indigenous Conservation Areas is relatively new in Canada in comparison to other countries. However, it is expected that Indigenous Conservation Areas could contribute significantly to Canada Target 1 and could also support a renewed, nation-to-nation relationship with Indigenous Peoples. The subcommittee tasked with this theme will recommend indicators for measuring and tracking progress towards achieving equitable management and for developing criteria for Indigenous Conservation Areas.

Local Communities and Equitable Management of Protected Areas

One of the desired outcomes of implementation of Aichi Target 11 is to ensure that protected areas are established in collaboration with Indigenous peoples and local communities and that these same communities be engaged in governing and managing protected areas according to their rights, knowledge, capacities and institutions and they should share the benefits arising from protected areas and should not bear inequitable costs. The task team working on this theme will explore and review approaches to equitable management from a non-Indigenous perspective. Another task team will review the Indigenous perspective given the overlap with Indigenous conservation areas and relevance of legal rights.

Guidance on assessing ecological representation

Aichi Target 11 suggests that parks and conservation areas networks should contain adequate samples of the full range of ecosystems and ecological processes, including a proportion of each ecoregion within a country in order to maintain a country’s biodiversity. Most jurisdictions in Canada have park systems plans that use ecological representation focused on enduring features as a core principle for selecting sites for protection. However, there are other ecological features and processes that might also need to be considered at multiple scales to attain sufficient ecological representation of biodiversity. Indeed, most jurisdictions with park systems plans consider them to be substantially completed and yet biodiversity continues to decline, suggesting more refined principles on ecological representation are required. . The subcommittee tasked with this theme will develop recommendations for a more refined set of principles to select sites for protection.

Guidance for connected and integrated parks and conservation areas

Protected areas should be integrated into the wider landscape, bearing in mind the importance of complementarity and spatial configuration. In doing so, the ecosystem approach should account for ecological connectivity and the concept of ecological networks, including connectivity for migratory species and allowing for adaptation to climate change. The subcommittee tasked with this theme will recommend indicators for measuring the degree of connectivity among parks and conservation areas and the degree of integration of parks and conservation areas into the wider landscape.

Guidance on measuring effective management

Well-governed and effectively managed protected areas, with planning measures in place to ensure ecological integrity and the protection of species, habitats and ecosystem processes, are a proven method for safeguarding both habitats and populations of species and for delivering important ecosystem services. There are currently more than 40 tools for measuring management effectiveness. The subcommittee tasked with theme will recommend a method for measuring management effectiveness that is most appropriate in a Canadian context.

Identifying areas important for biodiversity and ecosystem services

Aichi Target 11 asks countries to focus on conserving areas important for biodiversity, such as areas high in species richness or threatened species, threatened biomes and habitats, and areas that are important for the continued provision of ecosystem services (e.g., for water supply, erosion control, etc.). The subcommittee tasked with this theme will recommend indicators for measuring how well existing networks of parks and conservation areas include areas important for biodiversity and ecological services.