AFGA wants Ottawa to recognize its efforts to promote land conservation
As Canada determines how to fulfill the commitments it made at last December’s UN Biodiversity Conference (COP 15) in Montreal, the Alberta Fish and Game Association wants Ottawa to recognize what the association is already doing to promote land conservation.
At the end of the conference, the 195 member nations, including Canada, pledged to protect 30 per cent of the world’s lands and waters by 2030 to prevent biodiversity loss, an initiative referred to as 30×30. How that’s going to be achieved remains unclear, but in the meantime, the AFGA says the federal government should support the conservation work it’s been doing through the Wildlife Trust Fund program.
“We want to make sure they don’t forget there’s a lot of conservation organizations that exist currently today, such as the AFGA, that hold a significant amount of land in trust for conservation efforts,” says the AFGA’s CEO, Kelly Carter. Currently, the association has preserved more than 20,000 hectares of important fish and wildlife habitat across Alberta.
Noting it takes a considerable amount of money to run the trust fund, Carter says he wants to ensure the AFGA is included when Ottawa allocates funding for conservation initiatives. “Acquiring the land costs money, and there are ongoing annual fees that have to be paid for each property when it comes to taxes or maintenance,” he says.
In the weeks leading up to COP15, Canada announced more than $185 million in funding for domestic conservation initiatives, but the AFGA wasn’t included. “While there were some good first steps the government took in announcing some funding,” Carter observes, “it looks like it excludes organizations like us from being able to access some of that.”
At this point, Carter says he wants to see the AFGA, as well as partner conservation organizations such as the Alberta Conservation Association and Ducks Unlimited Canada, get invited to the table as plans to reach the 30×30 target are developed. “We want to make sure that we and other organizations that have done a lot of work in this area don’t get lost.”
Learn more about the AFGA’s programs and positions at www.afga.org.