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Commentary: Hitting global PA targets important, but what’s in the portfolio is even more so

My first introduction to protected areas targets was during my undergraduate at the University of Waterloo. Our Common Future (also known as the Brundtland Report), from the United Nations World Commission on Environment and Development, was hot off the press in 1987, and was required reading for environmental studies students. The Brundtland Report was a call for global action on sustainable development and biodiversity conservation. It included a recommendation to triple the amount of protected areas on the planet, a target of 12 per cent.

In the late 1980s, this 12 per cent target seemed wildly ambitious. But 30 years later, almost 15 per cent of the planet has been protected, and both Canada and the world are headed for a new, target of 17 per cent that was set in the Convention on Biological Diversity's Aichi Biodiversity Targets. Counties across the world, including Canada, have agreed to protect 17 per cent of lands and inland waters by 2020.


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