Around the world, healthy ocean ecosystems, which are a key source of food and livelihoods for coastal communities and beyond, are under threat. The effects of climate change and biodiversity loss have caused coastal erosion and infertile wetlands that jeopardize the economic, social, and environmental viability of coastal regions and communities, particularly those in developing countries where the impacts are highest.
As part of International Development Week 2023, the Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of International Development and Minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada, announced a total of $69.5 million in funding for climate finance to support 4 nature-based-solutions projects that will help marginalized communities adapt to climate change, strengthen biodiversity and reduce poverty.
“Healthy oceans mean healthy communities and a strong future for generations to come. Canada is a leader in climate finance and is using nature-based solutions to secure both climate and biodiversity benefits while addressing gender inequalities and recognizing the knowledge and leadership of Indigenous peoples,” Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of International Development and Minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada.
Three of these projects are part of Canada’s Partnering for Climate initiative, announced in February 2022, to support projects implemented by civil society organizations in Canada and abroad, other organizations in Canada, and Indigenous peoples that will support climate change adaptation in Sub-Saharan Africa and other parts of the world. The 3 projects are Regenerative Seascapes for People, Climate and Nature in Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, Comoros, and Madagascar; Natur’ELLES in Senegal; and Conservation and Sustainable Management of Coastal and Marine Ecosystems in Kenya.
“The triple crises of pollution, biodiversity loss, and climate change know no borders. Canada is committed to reaching domestic and international nature-conservation targets and supporting developing countries doing the same. Many of the countries that steward the majority of the world’s biodiversity require assistance to protect it. Today’s announcement demonstrates Canada’s commitment to protecting 30% of the land and water across our country and supporting efforts in other parts of the world. We are all in this together,” said Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change.
The fourth project is the Nature-Based Solutions for Climate Adaptation: Monitoring and Impact project, which supports partners of Canada’s nature-positive climate finance programming in developing countries.
Minister Sajjan made the announcement at the Fifth International Marine Protected Areas Congress (IMPAC5) in Vancouver, British Columbia, during a panel discussion on marine nature-based solutions and climate, hosted by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and moderated by Stewart Maginnis, Deputy Director General—Programme, ICUN. The panel included Minister Sajjan; Heremoana Maamaatuaiahutapu, Minister of Culture, Environment and Marine Resources, French Polynesia; Peter Thomson, United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Ocean; Maxine Burkett, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Oceans, Fisheries and Polar Affairs, U.S. State Department; and Jennifer Clark, Chief Scientific Officer, Cascadia Seaweed.
While at IMPAC5, Minister Sajjan also met individually with Mr. Thomson to discuss sustainable solutions for marine protected areas and small island developing states in Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean, as well as strengthen Canada’s relations in the Indo-Pacific region.