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COP15: Water must be part of the discussions

Rivière des Mille Îles

OPEN LETTER

“Water is a matter of life and death”

– Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations

At the dawn of COP15, where representatives from countries around the world will meet in Montreal to discuss biodiversity, which is deteriorating and whose decline will only increase if the status quo is maintained, Canada, the host country, will have a unique and privileged opportunity to demonstrate to the international community ambition and determination in the defense, protection and preservation of nature.

Canada should therefore propose innovative solutions, and we are convinced that one of them should concern water and the biodiversity that depends on it. Too often, water is put on the back burner in our thoughts on ways to mitigate or combat the climate crisis, due to the fact that Canada has a significant amount of this resource in its lakes, its rivers, wetlands and aquifers. The country has approximately 20 % of the world's fresh water reserves and 7 % of the world's renewable fresh water, for a population representing approximately 0.05 % of the world's population. The abundance of our water resources does not make us clearly see the negative repercussions which continue to multiply against it.

We are privileged to have plenty of water, a resource so precious and essential to life. With this immense privilege, we owe it to the international community to manage and protect it adequately. However, we believe and note that the government's actions are insufficient in this regard.

In this sense, in Quebec only, the St. Lawrence and our rivers are in a state of ecosystem vulnerability. In the St. Lawrence Lowlands, the overall naturalness of our rivers is low, which deprives them of their ecological functions. In addition, the majority of species whose status indicator is closely linked to water are in a precarious situation. This is without taking into account the state of our hydraulic infrastructures which continue to deteriorate and cause us to lose significant quantities of water, the pollution of water, our rivers and our aquifers which is on the rise, the state from other provinces and many others. The indicators are clear: we are facing a water crisis, which directly affects biodiversity throughout Canada.

Concrete solutions and ambitious measures to improve the situation already exist and groups like ours have already shared them. But to implement these solutions and measures, the Government of Canada must invest more to better protect our rivers, our lakes, our wetlands and our aquifers, the quality of their water and the health of residents against the impacts of climate change and toxic substances, as well as the species that live there and depend on them.

Governments must not fight this battle alone, it must also be fought by society as a whole. We want to be partners with our governments and provide them with our expertise on the subject we know best, water. We want to defend and protect this resource. To do this, let us use our knowledge and knowledge resources, which are only growing. The capacity to innovate and the culture of sharing sustainable solutions is not lacking in Quebec, and we must take advantage of it and benefit from it.

Canada must be and allow itself to be more ambitious when it comes to water, our future depends on it. The Government of Canada must therefore take advantage of COP15 to demonstrate ambition and show the rest of the world that it is determined to tackle this crisis in order to achieve the objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity.

Over there Quebec Coalition for Healthy Waters

This text was originally published in the Ideas section of The duty

Photo: André Chevrier

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