Eleven Quebec universities unite for biodiversity

Published: 8 December 2022

Eleven Quebec universities have joined forces and signed the Nature Positive Pledge, becoming founding members of an international movement that includes 117 universities worldwide.

The Nature Positive Universities Alliance is a joint initiative of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and Oxford University as part of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration. The universities that sign the Nature Positive Pledge recognize that institutions of higher education and research have a vital role to play in the fight to halt biodiversity loss and restore ecosystems. By joining the movement, Quebec universities are acknowledging their responsibility to address the biodiversity crisis and are committing to be part of the solution.

Universities that take the Pledge undertake to conduct a baseline assessment of their biodiversity footprint, set attainable and quantifiable targets, develop an action plan and use their influence to achieve the targets, and report annually on their progress.

The École de technologie supérieure, HEC Montréal, Institut national de la recherche scientifique, McGill University, Polytechnique Montréal, Université de Montréal, Université de Sherbrooke, Université du Québec à Montréal, Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières, Université du Québec en Outaouais, and Université Laval are teaming up because they believe in the need for concerted action to protect biodiversity. Through their management of their own campuses and operations, their teaching and research activities, their partnerships and their efforts to raise awareness in the broader community, they must set an example and take the lead in the movement to restore nature.

Biodiversity loss and climate change are intertwined. The ranges of many species can be expected to change considerably in the coming years. As Quebec’s universities are located at the northern limit of many plant and animal species of the Americas, they have an important role to play in the conservation of natural habitats and habitat connectivity, and in supporting the adaptation of biodiversity to new conditions.

The Quebec universities that are committing to the Nature Positive movement intend to do their part for biodiversity by pooling their knowledge for the greater good and working together to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals for 2030.

The role of universities in biodiversity

The research and student communities are participating in COP15, which is currently being held in Montreal. On the sidelines of COP15, a conference on the role of universities in preserving biodiversity will be held in Montreal on December 13-14. It will include two panels from Quebec universities: the first will discuss how universities are managing the development and operations of their campuses with a view to conserving and enhancing biodiversity, and the second will focus on research and education with a discussion of how the panelists’ research contributes to the study, conservation, and enhancement of biodiversity.

Participating universities

  • École de technologie supérieure (ÉTS)
  • HEC Montréal
  • Institut national de la recherche scientifique (INRS)
  • McGill University
  • Polytechnique Montréal
  • Université de Montréal
  • Université de Sherbrooke (UdS)
  • Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM)
  • Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières (UQTR)
  • Université du Québec en Outaouais (UQO)
  • Université Laval

About McGill University

Founded in 1821, McGill University is home to exceptional students, faculty, and staff from across Canada and around the world. It is consistently ranked as one of the top universities, both nationally and internationally. It is a world-renowned institution of higher learning with research activities spanning three campuses, 11 faculties, 13 professional schools, 300 programs of study and over 39,000 students, including more than 10,400 graduate students.

McGill’s commitment to sustainability reaches back several decades and spans scales from local to global. The sustainability declarations that we have signed affirm our role in helping to shape a future where people and the planet can flourish.

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