Session B, April 20, 2023, 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 a.m. ET
Achieving Canada’s New Climate Adaptation and Biodiversity Goals

Session Chairs:  Joanna Eyquem, P.Geo. and Kirstina Anderson, P.Geo.

A moderated Q & A will follow after the panel presentations.

Presentation 1: Canada's National Adaptation Strategy: A blueprint for a more climate-resilient Canada

Speaker:  Caroline Metz, Managing Director of Economics and Resiliency, Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation - SEE SPEAKER'S BIO

Canada released its first comprehensive National Adaptation Strategy in November 2022, as a blueprint for a more climate-resilient Canada. But what does the strategy entail? And how will it help guide all areas of society to prepare for the impacts of climate change and extreme weather events, such as flooding, wildfire, and extreme heat, while achieving additional benefits for people and nature? This presentation will explore the urgency for action, a 'whole-of-society' approach, objectives, targets and other aspects of the Canada's National Adaptation Strategy that have relevance for geoscientists. 

Presentation 2: Progress, obligations and opportunities for training in climate adaptation

Speaker:  Paul Cobb, Manager, Training Services, Climate Risk Institute

Right now, the combined effects of infrastructure aging and weathering, rapid development, and accelerating climate change are increasing the level of overall risk from extreme weather and climate change. To address the very significant adaptation needs in multiple sectors and all regions of Canada, there is a need to transition from a paradigm of a small number of adaptation experts and case studies, to one where all professionals have skills and ability to integrate climate information and implement adaptation measures. CRI’s efforts to build capacity – as part of a national effort supported through Natural Resources Canada BRACE program – has laid foundations for the ambitious targets in the National Adaptation Strategy and to scale up adaptation implementation via professional sectors. This presentation will reflect on professional obligations related to climate change risks, lessons and trends in training, review current training and networking platforms, and look ahead to where professionals and professional sectors need to be on climate risk and climate adaptation.  

Presentation 3: Integrated Watershed Planning and Management for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services Conservation

Speaker:  Namrata Shrestha, Senior Manager, Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) - SEE SPEAKER'S BIO

Biodiversity and ecosystems are fundamental to planetary health and human well-being. They provide numerous ecosystem functions and services that ensure sustainable and resilient futures. However, the ongoing deterioration of ecosystem health and biodiversity loss at an unprecedented rate pose an existential threat, largely attributed to land use and climate change. Despite international, national, and local efforts to address this challenge, progress has been slow. To effectively conserve biodiversity and ecosystem services, integrated, collaborative, equitable, and science-based approaches to land use and ecosystem management are essential, especially within the context of climate change.

This presentation provides a comprehensive overview of integrated land use and ecosystem management. It highlights the alignment between the goals of COP 15 and the principles of integrated watershed planning and geoscientists' work. Specifically, the talk focuses on the importance of integrated watershed management approaches that consider the entire landscape and its many interconnected systems. Using the examples from the Greater Toronto Area, this presentation explores science based and collaborative approaches to identify critical areas for biodiversity and ecosystem services, prioritize conservation areas and management actions, and monitor progress towards conservation targets.

Presentation 4: Mainstreaming natural asset management in geoscience knowledge and practice

Speaker:  Liese Coulter, Research Fellow, Municipal Natural Assets Initiative, Resilience by Design Lab  - SEE SPEAKER'S BIO

The push to actively manage natural assets is picking up momentum with geoscience at the heart of understanding and monitoring environmental interactions that are fundamental to ecosystems and their services. This attention to service delivery through natural asset management (NAM) is starting to become a professional norm, driven by the need to meet increasing climate risks from natural hazards, as well as their implications for infrastructure and the people who depend on it. Geoscience is working with clients to better understand and address how these cyclical, intense and long-term changes to environmental patterns affect ecosystem services now, and into the coming decades. This presentation will discuss progress and opportunities to mainstream NAM innovation through professional practice, new knowledge and educational programs.

Register online for this session or for the full Symposium.