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Canada and the European Union have an extensive history of cooperation on environmental policies. This relationship dates back to 1975, when Canada and the European Commission signed an exchange of letters on environmental cooperation.

Under the Canada-EU High Level Dialogue on Environment, experts from both sides meet to review policy and progress every eighteen months. Recent issues discussed in this forum have included biodiversity, sustainable development, forests, mercury, and climate change.

The high level discussion of environmental issues is complemented by regular meetings of Canadian and EU experts in the context of multilateral environmental agreements to which both are party. Environmental issues also feature prominently at the annual Canada-EU Summits. At the 2008 Summit in Quebec, leaders issued a statement agreeing to deepen the High-Level Dialogue on the Environment, particularly through work on biodiversity protection, and the sustainable management of forests, chemicals and waste.

At the 2009 Canada-EU Summit in Prague, leaders underlined the importance of developing a post-2010 policy framework for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity under the Convention for Biological Diversity (CBD). They also reaffirmed their determination to collaborate closely to ensure that an ambitious and comprehensive global climate agreement is reached and reiterated the need to achieve at least a 50% reduction in global greenhouse gases by 2050.

At the Canada-EU Summit 2010, leaders stressed that both the EU and Canada will keep pursuing a high level of ambition to tackle climate change challenges. They indicated that the integration of the agreements contained in the Copenhagen Accord into the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Convention (UNFCCC) negotiating texts will be critical to advance the negotiations.


Both Canada and the EU have ratified the UN Convention on Biological Diversity; Canada was the first industrialized country to do so and is host to the Biodiversity Convention Secretariat. Canada's landmass contains about 7% of the world's fresh water. It is host to 13 UNESCO biosphere reserves and to the world's largest freshwater protected area - Lake Superior.

Canada is a world leader in the conservation of biodiversity and is making a major contribution by setting aside wilderness and water for the benefit of future generations. Federal, provincial and territorial governments across Canada have taken action to protect more than 100 million hectares of land, nearly 10% of Canada's land mass, and 3 million hectares of ocean.

Climate Change

Canada recognizes that climate change is a global challenge requiring a global solution. Canada supports an approach to climate change that achieves real environmental and economic benefits for all Canadians. The Government of Canada is committed to reducing Canada's total greenhouse gas emissions by 17% from 2005 levels by 2020 - a target that is inscribed in the Copenhagen Accord and aligned with the United States.

In 1992, Canada became a Party to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the main international forum for global efforts to address the challenges posed by climate change. Since the UNFCCC entered into force in 1994, Canada has participated in meetings to discuss global action on climate change, gather and share information on greenhouse gas emissions, national policies and best practices, and take stock of national and international progress to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Canada will continue to actively and constructively engage in the UNFCCC negotiations to support the establishment of a fair and comprehensive global climate change regime that will effectively address global climate change and serve Canadian interests.

Canada is committed to working internationally to address climate change through the United Nations by:

  • providing greenhouse gas emissions data on an annual basis;
  • reporting on our progress in reducing net greenhouse gas emissions;
  • providing financial and technical resources to developing countries, especially the poorest and most vulnerable, to assist them in combating climate change; and
  • conducting scientific observations of the world's climate system and research on climate change and its impacts.

Canada is also committed to:

  • the Climate and Clean Air Coalition, where Canada is one of the leading countries in a concerted action on short lived climate pollutants (SLCPs);
  • the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate, an initiative launched in March 2009 to bring together the world's 17 largest emitters to advance key issues under consideration in international climate change negotiations;
  • the Global Methane Initiative, a voluntary initiative that serves as an international framework to promote cost-effective methane recovery and use as a clean energy source;
  • the REDD+ Partnership, which serves as a platform to scale up actions and finance to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries;
  • implementing tough new regulations to limit greenhouse gas emissions from the automotive sector;
  • implementing Renewable Fuel Regulations;
  • working with the United States to regulate emissions from heavy-duty trucks;
  • introducing new regulations on coal-fired electricity generation;
  • continuing to advance the Clean Energy Dialogue with the U.S.;
  • investing in green infrastructure, energy efficiency, clean energy technologies and the production of cleaner energy and cleaner fuels as shown through the Government of Canada's investment of close to $10 billion since 2006
  • providing investment of $325 million over eight years in Budget 2013 to support the development of technologies that create efficiencies for businesses and contribute to sustainable economic development and significantly scaling up climate change related support under the Copenhagen Accord to accelerate global progress and effective action by all countries with an overall commitment of $1.2 billion in new and additional climate change financing for the fiscal years 2010/11, 2011/12 and 2012/13.

Chemicals and Waste Management

Canada continues to be a world leader in the lifecycle management of chemical substances and products, and through our domestic Chemicals Management Plan contributes to the chemicals and waste themes currently under consideration by the United Nations Commission for Sustainable Development. Environment Canada is engaged internationally to ensure that chemicals and waste-related issues are effectively managed through international agreements, such as the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade, and the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal; and through cooperation with key international organizations and initiatives, such as the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the North American Commission for Environmental Cooperation.

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