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Mission

Vision and Mission

The Corvus Centre’s vision is public policy actively supports biodiversity. Our mission is to work to ensure biodiversity is promoted through evidence-based land use, resource management, and financial decision making

Our Role

The conservation policy process has many dimensions, so improving that process means providing support of many different types at many different points. This 3-minute video explains the role of the Corvus Centre for Conservation Policy.

Our Approach

The Corvus Centre for Conservation Policy pursues its mission by undertaking work on a project-by-project basis. While each project ties to the Conservation Priorities, it takes one of the following three approaches: 

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Applied Research

Projects that focus on undertaking applied research or on actively incorporating science and evidence into decision making in support of biodiversity

Program Facilitation

Projects that focus on providing capacity, training, or expertise, or otherwise improving the ability of decision makers to deliver programs in support of biodiversity

Knowledge Sharing

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Actively informing and catalyzing the policy discussion around biodiversity conservation, working to create background knowledge and to foster the dissemination of ideas

Conservation Priorities

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Land Use and Biodiversity 

For the Corvus Centre, ‘land use’ refers to how we build on, use, protect, travel across, reside on, and play on the physical land base and the waters that support it. 

 

Key Issue - Land use decision-making is the primary vector for biodiversity loss (and protection), but we struggle to link the science, the policy, and the decisions.

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Natural Infrastructure

'Natural infrastructure' refers to those facilities and systems that provide the services essential to sustain society, and which are principally provided or governed by nature. 

 

Key Issue - Natural ecosystems are increasingly recognized as providing vital infrastructure services, but how they should be valued, catalogued, and protected by policymakers is unclear.

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Nature and Climate Change

Climate change has fundamentally shifted our relationship with nature, as the climate crisis turbocharges the biodiversity crisis. Yet nature will also be part of the solution, as a key aspect of nature-based solutions will be those directed at the climate crisis.

 

Key issue - Climate change is the paramount environmental issue, and biodiverse landscapes will play a vital role in addressing it, but our what that role will be is still evolving.

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Finance and Biodiversity

Businesses and governments are increasingly costing nature in budgets and business plans,. Mainstreaming biodiversity protection means incorporation into the flow of public and private investment dollars.

 

Key Issue - Despite their connectedness, conservation and finance value biodiversity in different ways. Conservation of nature will be increasingly dependent on our ability to synchronize these perspectives.

Question & Answer

What is ‘Policy’?

The Max Bell Foundation has an excellent definition of ‘public policy’:

 

“Official decisions that guide the activities of organizations operating in the public interest. Such organizations include governments and non-profit organizations at the local, municipal, regional, provincial, and national levels.

 

For example, public policy decisions can be expressed as legislation, resolutions, regulations, by-laws, appropriations, court decisions, etc.

 

Public policy refers not only to decisions, but also the programs and administrative practices undertaken by organizations operating in the public interest.”

What is ‘Conservation’?

Nature conservation means ensuring that the ecological processes and functions that support biodiversity persist over the long term by promoting the protection, restoration, and sustainable use of the underlying systems and what they provide.

 

Conservation can be thought of as a ‘hyphenated’ activity, meaning it requires many disciplines: conservation biology, conservation policy, wildlife conservation, water conservation, conservation communications, conservation law … etc.

Isn’t policy government’s job?

Yes and no. 

 

In its broadest terms, a policy is defined as, “a course or principle of action adopted or proposed by an organization or individual.” In simple terms, it is not what we do, but rather how we do something.

 

Some policies are the domain of government, like acts of the legislature, or guiding documents for how those laws will be interpreted. Others are the domain of the courts, including case law, court decisions.

 

As well, there are many policies that are not entirely in the public realm, which can affect nature – those of industry players, academia, NGOs, community groups. 

 

But even ‘public policy’ is broadly defined as, “the principles, often unwritten, on which social laws are based.” In other words, government policy guides our actions, and our collective social laws guide government policy. 

 

Policy is everyone’s job – whether they realize it or not.

What is ‘nature policy’?

The policy that impacts our ability to conserve nature comes in many forms. Some of those policies have names that contain the words ‘conservation’, ‘biodiversity’, ‘environment’, ‘protection’, ‘ecosystem,’, etc. But most often, their names include ‘planning’, ‘management’, ‘resource’, ‘transportation’, ‘parks’, ‘development’, ‘utilities’, ‘servicing’, etc.

 

‘Nature policy’ is policy that can affect nature, whether its name tells you that or not.

 

Likewise, a ‘policy’ can use that word, but it is a broad concept, encompassing documents entitled, ‘law’, ‘act’, ‘guideline’, ‘bylaw’, ‘procedure’, ‘directive’, ‘strategy’, ‘plan’, etc. A policy can be as simple as a line in an otherwise unassuming document that guides our activities.

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