In its 17th year, the Ontario Biodiversity Council (OBC), came together to achieve the actions set by the Ontario Biodiversity Strategy 2005. In 2011, with support from the Ontario government, Ontario’s Biodiversity Strategy was renewed as a 10-year strategy, aligning with the Convention on Biological Diversity’s global Strategic Plan and its 20 targets, collectively known as Aichi targets. The 10-year strategy is a blueprint, championed by OBC, for an ecologically sustainable future for Ontario, its biodiversity and its people — something well worth pursuing.
The OBC currently has a membership of some 38 organizations from a broad constituency of industry and industry associations, conservation and environmental groups, natural heritage institutions, academia, Indigenous organizations and the provincial government, represented by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (which also provides secretariat support), working toward the idea of “protecting what sustains us.”. As a non-partisan multistakeholder council, the broad membership embodies the spirit of mainstreaming (i.e. integrating) biodiversity across various sectors of society. All must be involved in our efforts to achieve a nature-positive world.
OBC’s Vision is to Halt Biodiversity Loss
Ontario’s Biodiversity Strategy 2011 comes complete with a vision statement, and three equal goals. They are 1) mainstreaming biodiversity across all sectors; 2) protecting and restoring biodiversity; 3) and using Ontario’s biological assets sustainably. Our vision is a future where biodiversity loss is halted and recovery is advanced, and where people value, protect and enhance biodiversity and the ecosystem functions essential for human health and well-being. Four strategic directions serve as a broad framework to help advance progress towards our vision and goals. They include: Engaging People, Reducing Threats, Enhancing Resilience, and Improving Knowledge. The current strategy has 15 time-bound targets which serve to both focus Council’s efforts, and enable us to track our progress towards achieving our strategy vision and goals (see https://ontariobiodiversitycouncil.ca/ontarios-strategy).
OBC’s task is to help drive and guide the implementation of Ontario’s Biodiversity Strategy through its members and, more broadly, across society. Two key ways of meeting this task have been reporting on the State of Ontario Biodiversity and Biodiversity Summits.
Regarding the reporting, three reports have been produced: in 2010, in 2015, and in December 2021. Our “State on Ontario’s Biodiversity 2020 Report” mirrors the findings in virtually all other jurisdictions.
See the summary report: “state-of-biodiversity-report-2020-Final-2.pdf”and video launch: “State of Ontario’s Biodiversity 2020 –Summary of Results.”
In an effort to better engage people on the imperative to implement Ontario’s Biodiversity Strategy, OBC and its members hosted Ontario’s first Ontario Biodiversity Summit in 2015. Building upon that success, we hosted a virtual Ontario Biodiversity Summit 2021 – Nature-based Solutions for the 21st Century – beginning on May 26, 2021. The Summit included a series of webinars identifying key actions that must be undertaken to reverse the curve of biodiversity loss and move us towards a nature-positive world (Summit webinars). A high level summary of the Summit and closing remarks “2021 Ontario Biodiversity Summit Wrap-Up.”
Strategy to be renewed to 2030
OBC has started the renewal process for the strategic direction till 2030. Jumping off from priority actions from the 2021 Ontario Biodiversity Summit, informing ourselves with the results of the 2020 “State of Ontario’s Biodiversity Report”, reflecting on the Edinburgh Declaration, which council has signed onto, and integrating the post-2020 global biodiversity framework which will be agreed to by Countries in Montreal in December, are among the key tools to shaping and informing the renewal of Ontario’s Biodiversity Strategy to 2030.
We are seeking positive transformative change for the benefit of biodiversity, climate and people, through an integrated strategy that will yield the multiple wins we need for biodiversity, climate and people. I am hopeful that all of you will engage with us as we chart our course and implement the actions needed to move towards people protecting what sustains people and all life on earth. Together we can work to achieve a nature-positive world.