Celebrating a big lift for B.C. wildlife and people - Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative

Celebrating a big lift for B.C. wildlife and people

Wild Harts of northern B.C.
The Royal BC Museum, the Alpine Club of Canada and Yellowstone To Yukon Conservation Initiative was a partner surveying the biodiversity of the alpine region in the Hart Range of Northern BC in the Peace River Break in July of 2018. Photo: Tristan Brand

This week, the British Columbia government made a major commitment to protecting nature and moving ahead with Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas.

This news came in the form of a mandate letter from B.C.’s new Premier to the new Minister of Water, Land and Resource Stewardship on Dec. 7. It sets the course for conservation work in the province and directs new Minister Nathan Cullen to make progress on:

  • Doubling B.C.’s current land protection to reach 30 percent of lands protected by 2030
  • Advancing Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas, and
  • Developing a new conservation financing mechanism to support protection of biodiverse areas  

The mandate letter states:

“By planning carefully, we can ensure our province enjoys the best of economic development while conserving wild spaces. Indigenous partners in this critical work can bring their expertise, knowledge, and priorities to the table to ensure this effort lasts for generations.” 

This pledge is a major step forward on formalizing the 30×30 commitment Canada has made globally and makes B.C. the second province to do so, after Quebec.

It comes at a critical time and represents a forward-thinking and large landscape scale approach to addressing some of the toughest environmental, social and economic concerns of our lives.

Crucially, this announcement is also during the 15th Conference of the Parties (COP15) to the UN Convention of Biological Diversity in Montreal. It signals the continuation of collaboration and engagement with Indigenous leaders on conservation.

We are hopeful there will be more good news in the days to come. Stay tuned, and thank you for continued attention and action on conservation across the Yellowstone to Yukon region — and beyond!