Ministers Baird and Ritz Celebrate 2008 International Day for Biological Diversity
OTTAWA, Ontario, May 22, 2008 -- Canada’s Environment Minister, John Baird, and Canada’s Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Gerry Ritz, today marked the 2008 International Day for Biological Diversity by highlighting Canada’s achievements in protecting the diversity of life and using biological resources sustainably.
“Canada is a country of unmatched and abundant natural treasures and we have to preserve that wealth,” said Minister Baird. “As the first industrialized country to ratify the Convention on Biological Diversity and as host to the Biodiversity Secretariat, Prime Minister Harper and our Government have takenaction by establishing massive areas of protected land and water, including the world’s largest freshwater protected area in Lake Superior. This action has increased our total protected land area to well beyond the 10% target for 2010.”
“Canadian farmers are proud to be the stewards of our land, and this Government is joining with them to protect that land,” said Minister Ritz. “Farmers are taking action with the Environmental Farm Planning program, they are adopting good practices that reduce agricultural risk and they are benefiting from this Government’s realistic biofuels policy. Environmental protection and sustainabilitybenefits us all through the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the land that grows our food.”
This year’s theme for the International Day for Biological Diversity, “Biodiversity and Agriculture” is particularly relevant in Canada where the federal government is actively working with the agricultural sector to increase understanding and awareness of the conservation of natural biodiversity on agricultural land.
In the past year, the Government has taken action on major biodiversity and conservation initiatives, such as:
- Adopting, with 168 other countries, the Global Plan of Action for Farm Animal Genetic Resources, an international framework to help meet challenges in animal production, such as environmental change, disease threats, human nutritional requirements, fluctuating markets or changing societal needs;
- Massively expanding the Nahanni National Park Reserve;
- Majorland withdrawals on the East Arm of Great Slave Lake, as well as the Ramparts River and Wetlands;
- $30 million to protect the Great Bear Rainforest in British Columbia; and,
- $225 million for the Nature Conservancy of Canada to preserve and conserve up to half a million acres of land across the country.
The United Nations proclaimed May 22 the International Day for Biological Diversity to increase understanding and awareness of biodiversity issues.
For further information please contact:Media Relations, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
613-759-7972 or 1-866-345-797
Environment Canada Media Relations
(819) 934-8008 or 1-888-908-8008
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