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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Parks Stewardship Forum

UC Berkeley

Emerging policy opportunities for United States–Canada transboundary connectivity conservation

  • Author(s): Beazley, Karen F.
  • Oppler, Gabriel
  • Heffner, Leanna R.
  • Levine, Jessica
  • Poe, Aaron
  • Tabor, Gary
  • et al.

In response to recent alignment of political leadership in Canada and the United States with respect to global nature conservation imperatives, a nascent and intentional dialogue has emerged on transboundary connectivity conservation between the two countries. In February and April 2021, two meetings were remotely convened, bringing together more than 160 participants from key government agencies, non-governmental organizations and Indigenous Nations engaged in conservation in both countries. Participants generated 25 concrete ideas for key next steps and 11 broad strategies that, when considered together, comprise 11 priority policy directions. Among these, four core policy imperatives include (1) prioritizing opportunities to coordinate within and among Indigenous communities, (2) creating formalized memorandums of understanding (MOUs) and funding commitments between the US and Canada, (3) mainstreaming connectivity into sectors and society, and (4) initiating systemwide changes in governance and economic structures. Together, these policy directions represent important strategies at this crucial inflection point. Only rarely are nations given historic policy alignment opportunities to redefine and reinvigorate their common conservation goals. Particularly salient is the drive to embrace transboundary connectivity conservation as a nature-based solution to climate change adaptation. We see this dialogue as a beginning in securing the peace that defines two countries and numerous Indigenous Nations that are inextricably linked by ecology and culture.

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