Friday, July 19, 2024
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Mayors accept First Nation’s invitation to join conservation project

Collaboration to inform decision-making in protection of biodiversity

Cindy Melcher
Pontiac July 10, 2023
A decision to support a collaborative biodiversity project with the Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg, an Algonquin First Nation based in the Outaouais region of Quebec, was agreed at the June 21 meeting of the MRC Council of Mayors.
According to the unanimously-supported resolution, the move follows an invitation extended in May by the First Nation’s Chief Dylan Whiteduck whereby Pontiac MRC would join a project “aimed at equipping and informing MRCs with the most comprehensive data so that they can make the best decisions in terms of biodiversity protection to achieve the COP 15 targets.”
COP 15 refers to the fifteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity which was held in Montreal in December. The policy-setting body is composed of representatives of governments of almost 200 countries that have met approximately every two years since the Convention was launched at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 to agree on targets and review progress in their collective effort to protect the Earth’s plants and animals.
At COP 15, governments committed to achieving 23 targets by 2030, including “Effective conservation and management of at least 30% of the world’s lands, inland waters, coastal areas and oceans, with emphasis on areas of particular importance for biodiversity and ecosystem functioning and services.”

In its June resolution, MRC Pontiac made specific reference to Target 22 to “Ensure the full, equitable, inclusive, effective and gender-responsive representation and participation in decision-making, and access to justice and information related to biodiversity by indigenous peoples and local communities, respecting their cultures and their rights over lands, territories, resources, and traditional knowledge, as well as by women and girls, children and youth, and persons with disabilities and ensure the full protection of environmental human rights defenders.”
Mayors agreed to support the collaborative project proposed by the Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg community “to clearly identify the state of biodiversity in the Outaouais, to raise public awareness of the importance of protecting nature, to continue to work with the Government of Quebec for the achievement of the COP15 targets, and to make suggestions to help achieve these targets in the Outaouais.”
“I’m proud that all mayors came to a unanimous decision. It is reassuring to know that all councils are united in their efforts of future planning of biodiversity, including trees, flowers, rivers and nature,” added Jane Toller.
Details of how the project will unfold have not yet been made available.

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