From Global to Local: Regional COP15 in Gatineau

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On November 22, over 70 representatives from biodiversity and nature conservation organizations, plus elected officials and citizen-experts gathered for the Regional COP15 (Conference of the Parties) on the Protection of Nature.

Outaouais residents’ recommendations will be included during Montreal’s UNEP (United Nations’ Environmental Program’s) International COP15 (December 7-19), whose mandate is: “to agree on a new set of goals to guide global action through 2030 to halt and reverse nature loss.” (bit.ly/3EBY365)

Mandate: From Global to Local

The Regional COP15 represents the eighth Round Table in Pontiac MP Sophie Chatel’s Green and Prosperous Outaouais initiative (bit.ly/3ibZRvm).

It enables Pontiac Riding constituents to provide their advice regarding the “fight against climate change, the post-pandemic economic recovery, and the achievement of the net-zero target by 2050.” (bit.ly/3OAD9cj) (Ms. Chatel invites your comments at outaouaisvert.
cocoriko.org/)

Therefore, this conference’s mandate, “From Global to Local” perfectly aligns with Ms Chatel’s goals.

Success of goal?

I asked Ms. Chatel whether this mandate was successful. She wrote to me, stating:

“Excellent ideas were discussed with various experts and elected officials. Priorities were established by the group such as (1) Working with Indigenous communities before, during and after conservation projects; (2) More data on species at risk, degraded ecosystems, and areas in need of restoration, and a better access to this data for municipalities; (3) A need for longer-term and more accessible funding programs.

“I look forward to analyzing these proposals, trying to find precedents, and putting them on our Cocoriko public consultation platform for all Outaouais residents to let us know which proposals they consider most important to protect nature in our
beautiful region.”

Tip: Watch for and respond to the proposals on the above-mentioned cocoriko website.

Speakers

Stephen Woodley, who is Outaouais’ ACRE Land Trust President, addressed how work accomplished at the Regional COP15 would be represented at Montreal’s International COP15. Woodley was the ideal first speaker because he
is Vice-Chair for Science and Biodiversity at the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Commission on Protected Areas.

Showing a graph illustrating how we must increase conservation efforts if we wish to increase biodiversity on Earth, Woodley said we can no longer support “business as usual” – on any front. With over 700 species at risk, Woodley explained, “All Canadian ecosystem types are in decline.”

Balancing dire warnings, Woodley commented, “Conserving and restoring nature are climate change solutions that are rapid and cost-effective.”

Readers may recall my November 2 column regarding the protection of Ken and Debbie Rubin’s property in Luskville, adjacent to Gatineau Park, where ACRE was instrumental in creating Place Eco Rubin, (pontiacjournal.com/place-eco-rubin-protect-land-from-housing/). This represents an important example of local eco-action which successfully translated into land being protected from housing development by concerned, pro-active Pontiac citizens.

Bridge to Pontiac, local issues

Participants could ask questions and I wanted to bring global goals to Pontiac issues. I asked Stephane Wojciechowski, the National Capital Commission’s Senior Manager, Land and Natural Resources, how soon we can expect Gatineau Park to

a) have a legal, surveyed boundary, and b) what progress is being made in legislative protection of Gatineau Park.

Wojciechowski confirmed the process of legal protection is underway, while noting the NCC has no direct control regarding the timing of legislative protection. Readers may realize that the legal protection of Gatineau Park is a stated goal of Ms. Chatel’s: hopefully, protection might occur in a year or so…

Summation

We, the public, can and should hold our governments accountable.

It’s crucial to participate and be enablers seeking protection of biodiversity.

Thank-you, Ms Chatel, for giving Outaouais residents a voice. Thank-you, speakers and audience members for attending and offering the opportunity to present locally inspired suggestions to the International COP 15.
Katharine Fletcher is a freelance writer, author, and visual artist. Contact her: fletcher.katharine@gmail.com and view her art at facebook.com/KatharineFletcherArtist/