Update on the Montreal Biodiversity Pledge

Last year OURS, Trees Please Winnipeg, our amazing member groups as well as other environmental and climate organizations lobbied Winnipeg City Council to sign the Montreal Biodiversity Pledge.

And Winnipeg is now formally listed as a signatory!

This pledge commits to the city to take action to protect urban biodiversity, and we now need to keep watch to ensure city council acts decisively to preserve and restore our natural biodiverse areas, including our few remaining intact forests.

Let’s make sure we see action in 2024 as part of the celebrations marking the 150th anniversary of the City of Winnipeg.

Let’s continue the fight to protect our trees and greenspaces!

Below, sent by our friends at OURS-Winnipeg to the mayor and every council member as a reminder of what our city has pledged to do:

Subject: Montréal Pledge – One more achievement to celebrate Winnipeg’s 150th Anniversary

We were very pleased to see Winnipeg’s name on the Montréal Pledge[1] website.

Thank you for getting Winnipeg on the list as an official signatory and committed city!

Why the Montréal Pledge matters – Biodiversity is necessary for the existence of life on earth.  The world is losing biodiversity at an alarming rate.  Cities are at the forefront of biodiversity loss and are being impacted by its effects. They have a large role to play and are well positioned to protect biodiversity. Biodiversity loss and climate change are inextricably linked and depend on each other for solutions.

Signing the Montréal Pledge provides participating cities like ours an opportunity to learn and grow with other cities[2]  that have signed the pledge and receive international, national, and most importantly, local public recognition for those efforts.

The Montréal Pledge is based on the United Nations Global Biodiversity Framework that has been scaled for cities. The landmark, Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) [3] was approved by almost every country (minus two) in the world at COP15 in December 2022. It contains goals and targets and a time-line for halting the loss of biodiversity and beginning restoration.

The Framework’s success requires political will and recognition at the highest level of government and relies on action and cooperation by all levels of government and by all actors of society.[4]

The Montréal Pledge’s 15 action items will make a significant difference when integrated into the city’s strategic planning and budget process and public policy and governance documents.

Signing the Pledge serves to highlight the positive initiatives Winnipeg is already undertaking that will help to meet the targets and goals of the pledge. For example, the creation of the Master Greenspace and Natural Corridors Plan and Biodiversity Policy, acquiring 1000 additional acres of parkland, Parks Strategy, the Urban Forestry Strategy, and Indigenous consultation.

By signing the Montréal Pledge, the City of Winnipeg has demonstrated its strong support for the primary goals of COP15 and will reinforce the city’s commitment to transform Winnipeg into a greener, healthier, more just, climate resilient and biodiverse city.

We have enclosed a laminated copy of the Montréal Pledge with the 15 Actions for Biodiversity for your convenient reference.


Pam Lucenkiw / Dave Green
OURS-Winnipeg Co-chairs

Montreal Pledge – Cities United in Action for Biodiversity

15 Concrete actions cities can take to halt the decline of biodiversity

Reduce threats to biodiversity

1) Integrate biodiversity into territorial and regulatory planning;

2) Restore and rehabilitate ecosystems and their connectivity;

3) Conserve existing natural environments through protected areas and other effective and equitable measures;

4) Ensure the conservation and recovery of vulnerable species, both wild and domestic, and effectively manage their interactions with humans;

5) Control or eradicate invasive alien species to eliminate or reduce their impacts;

6) Reduce pollution from all sources to levels that do not adversely affect biodiversity, ecosystem functions or human health;

7) Aim to eliminate plastic waste;

8) Aim to reduce pesticide use by at least two-thirds;

9) Contribute to climate change mitigation and adaptation measures through ecosystem-based approaches;

Share the benefits of biodiversity

10) Aim to ensure that urban agriculture, aquaculture and forestry zones are accessible, sustainably managed and contribute to food security;

11) Prioritize nature-based solutions to protect against extreme weather events and hazards and to regulate air and water quality;

12) Increase the amount of green and blue spaces and improve equitable access to them;

Solutions, Governance, Management and Education

13) Integrate biodiversity into governance frameworks and public policies, and increase financial resources allocated to its conservation and sustainable use;

14) Through citizen education and participation, help ensure that people and businesses are encouraged to make responsible choices toward biodiversity and have the resources and knowledge to do so;

15) Ensure the equitable and effective participation of Indigenous peoples and local communities in decision-making and in the process of knowledge acquisition and transmission.

[1] Montréal Pledge https://montreal.ca/en/articles/montreal-pledge-call-cop15-launched-to-worlds-cities-39529

[2] Cities with Nature Action Platform  https://citieswithnature.org/introducing-the-citieswithnature-action-platform/

[3] Final Text of Global Biodiversity Framework https://prod.drupal.www.infra.cbd.int/sites/default/files/2022-12/221222-CBD-PressRelease-COP15-Final.pdf

[4]  Global Biodiversity Framework, COP15  background  https://www.cbd.int/doc/decisions/cop-15/cop-15-dec-04-en.pdf

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