Canada to Host Major International MPA Conference in 2021

Vancouver, Canada – The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) is delighted to announce that Canada will be hosting the 5th International Marine Protected Area Congress (IMPAC 5) in Vancouver, Canada, in 2021.

“It is our hope that by 2021 when the world comes together for IMPAC5 in Vancouver, that we will be celebrating great leaps forward in marine conservation, both in Canada and globally,” said Sabine Jessen, CPAWS’ National Ocean Program Director. “Canada, together with many other countries in the world, has made a strong commitment to protect at least 10% of our ocean by 2020, so IMPAC 5 will give us an opportunity to celebrate that achievement, and to chart a course to protecting 30% of our ocean by 2030,” adds Jessen.

IMPAC is an international forum to discuss marine protected areas (MPAs) that assists in the establishment and management of MPA networks by informing, involving, and influencing stakeholders. The congress happens every four years and brings together marine conservationists, managers, practitioners and scientists from across the world to share their experiences and knowledge of marine conservation and marine protected area establishment.

The 4th International Marine Protected Area Congress takes place this week in Chile where CPAWS will lead a delegation of Canadian representatives in the hand-over event, effectively transitioning the organization of the conference from Chile to Canada.

“CPAWS looks forward to working closely with our partners at the Vancouver Convention Centre and Tourism Vancouver, as well as the Government of Canada, the Province of BC, First Nations, and the IUCN to organize the fifth annual International Marine Protected Area Congress,” said Alexandra Barron, Ocean Conservation Manager for CPAWS-BC and delegate at IMPAC 4 in Chile. “We look forward to hosting this meeting and showcasing the best of Canada and British Columbia, on an international stage,” added Barron.

In a letter of support for Canada’s nomination to host IMPAC 5, Canada’s Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and Canadian Coast Guard and Minister of Environment and Climate Change stated, “IMPAC 5 will be an excellent opportunity to demonstrate our support for global efforts to conserve the marine environment, highlight the important role of Indigenous Peoples, stakeholders, and the public in these initiatives, and promote our domestic marine conservation programs.”

With 37,000 km of coastline and 12,000km2 of coastal waters, the Province of British Columbia has played a leading role in advancing marine conservation in Canada. In a letter of support from the Provincial Government, Deputy Minister of Forests Lands and Natural Resource Operations said, “More than three-quarters of BC’s population lives in the coastal zone and many make their living from the province’s vibrant tourism industry, marine shipping and transportation sector, diverse fishing economy, and other coastal activities. Given this, we recognize the importance of the health of our marine environment and the role that it plays in supporting our way of life.”

Patrick Kelly, Board Chair and CEO of Coastal First Nations, expressed support, stating, “we have always believed that those of us who work in marine conservation stand to gain an enormous amount by collaborating to protect our waters and resources.”

Tourism Vancouver and the Vancouver Convention Centre supported the bid to host IMPAC 5. “It was our privilege to support the bid process and we look forward to welcoming experts in the marine conservation field to Vancouver in 2021,” said Ty Speer, president and CEO of Tourism Vancouver.

“We are committed to delivering an exceptional guest experience and are confident our LEED® Platinum-certified convention centre – home to a thriving restored marine habitat – will provide an inspiring platform for the global marine conservation community to address important issues facing our society,” said Craig Lehto, General Manager, Vancouver Convention Centre.