Summary of CCEA Participation
The event, held from April 11- 14 in Canmore, Alberta, hosted over 190 decision-makers in the sector, including participation from Federal, Provincial, Territorial, regional and municipal park agencies, indigenous organizations, academics, NGOs, as well as private sector and allied interests. The summit was co-chaired by the Canadian Parks Council and Canadian Parks and Recreation Association, who collaborated with a country-wide National Advisory Committee including delegates from 24 organizations across Canada. Heather Lazaruk, CCEA Director, attended the Canadian Parks Summit as the CCEA delegate.
The intent of the Summit was to solicit feedback for the draft framework for action document entitled “Parks for All: A Shared Vision for Canada’s Parks Community”. The summit was organized around the “Parks for All” workbook and four commissioned papers, with 14 themed keynote addresses in plenary and breakout workshop sessions for each of the four main topics outlined in the workbook: Connect, Conserve, Leadership & Sustainability, and Collaboration. More information on the Summit as well as each of the commissioned papers and the keynote presentations are available on the Summit website at www.lin.ca/canadian-parks-summit/.
For each topic, there were keynote presentation(s) in plenary, followed by structured breakout workshop sessions – the makeup of which was pre-determined to ensure a diversity of viewpoints. For each workshop session on the four main themes, feedback was solicited around key questions regarding the goal statement and priority items as outlined in the workbook. Feedback focused on – “did they get it right”, as well as opportunities, barriers and outcomes. On the final day, a single ‘open session’ workshop session was held where delegates had the ability to submit topics and freely attend those that were chosen to be held as workshops by the organizers. The CCEA delegate attended the workshop on “Systematic Conservation Planning” on how to achieve the targets nationally, hosted by delegate Pam Wright, UNBC.
Prior to the Summit, feedback on the workbook was solicited from the CCEA Board members and compiled to inform CCEA input into the summit.
Relevant to CCEA’s mission, some of the key issues that were raised in the workshop session included:
- Going beyond 17% will be necessary to ensure meaningful progress toward biodiversity conservation, and targets should be based on scientific evidence (i.e. Nature Needs Half)
- The concept and role of urban parks in the protected areas conversation has been undervalued
- A better understanding and collaboration on how to account for urban parks or use them in furthering the Conserve goal is needed
- Additional or alternative tools may be needed/ required to conserve biodiversity and to manage urban parks “effectively” and count towards the conservation targets
- A national “municipal forum” on nature tools and best practices for urban parks would be useful
- Concepts of management effectiveness, ecological connectivity are missing
- Recognition of national system level goals would be useful
- Concept of best practice and moving to adopt best practice
- Meaningful progress and tackling the issues needs strong and committed leadership
- Nationally – we should be looking at “large landscape conservation cooperatives” and build from existing approaches – e.g. U.S. model, Biosphere reserves
- A national forum is needed to guide achievement of the 17%.
- There is a need to collaborate with and have more meaningful priorities relevant to indigenous peoples
- Working better with traditional partners and collaborating among parks organizations is needed in addition to “new” partners and “new” ways of doing work
- There is a recognized need to build effective science, management partnerships and national/subnational forums.
According to the organizers, the workshop sessions discussions produced 175 pages of input/feedback, which will be compiled into a single document and opened to the general public to read and offer comments. A revised and improved draft “Parks for All” document will be produced, that can be collectively endorsed by government park agencies, and utilized by non-government interests who manage or promote parks.
Any interested party can still provide feedback to “Parks For All” by completing the Summit Survey http://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/2710053/2016-Canadian-Parks-Summit. If you did not attend, answer “No” to the question “Did you attend the 2016 Canadian Parks Summit…?”, to get a subset of survey questions that will allow you to provide feedback about the document.
The outcomes of the Summit will be carried forward via the 2017 Pan-Canadian Parks Conference in Banff, centered on the key ideas and themes from the summit, with registration open to all. More information on the 2017 Conference is available at www.2017parks.ca.
Source: Heather Lazaruk, CCEA Director