Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I am pleased to be here today to speak about Canada's climate leadership on the international stage.
My name is Isabelle Bérard and I am the assistant deputy minister of the international affairs branch at Environment and Climate Change Canada, or ECCC.
I am joined today by colleagues from my department: Matt Jones, Assistant Deputy Minister of the Pan-Canadian Framework Implementation Office; Catherine Steward, Canada's Chief Negotiator for Climate Change and Director General for Multilateral Affairs and Climate Change; Lucie Desforges, Director General of Bilateral Affairs and Trade Directorate; and Erin Silsbe, Acting Director, G7 Task Team. I am also joined by my colleague from Global Affairs Canada, Anar Mamdani, Director of Environment.
I would like to begin with an overview of ECCC's international engagement. I will then turn to my colleague from Global Affairs Canada who will describe her department's activities on climate change from the broader development assistance perspective.
When it comes to international engagement, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, UNFCCC, is the primary forum for advancing global climate action. I’m very pleased to note that Canada is a key player in this arena. There is a lot of growing momentum, by all actors, on climate change. The growth in size and scope of the UN climate change conference, or COP, is a clear reflection of this reality.
Under the UNFCCC, the Paris Agreement, adopted in 2015, establishes global climate goals, including to limit the increase in global temperatures to well below 2°C and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C.
Canada is a strong advocate of the Paris Agreement because it has obligations for all parties. Under the UNFCCC, what we are doing now is negotiating the implementation guidelines for the agreement, often referred to as the Paris rule book. In general, these guidelines will set out how each party will communicate its plans and actions to address climate change, how it will measure and report transparently on progress and how this information will be used to measure global progress.
The robust and effective implementation of the Paris Agreement is a top priority for Canada. We know that the adoption of common and robust guidelines for all countries will promote ambitious, credible and transparent climate action.
The Paris Agreement also offers the possibility to co-operate with other countries using market-based measures. Markets can help increase mitigation ambition and provide the incentive for public and private investment to achieve the necessary shift toward low-carbon pathways.
Last, if we are to successfully implement the Paris Agreement, we know that we need to continue to deliver on climate finance. As you may know, Canada is delivering $2.65 billion over five years to help developing countries transition to low-carbon, sustainable and resilient growth. Canada has already announced over $1.2 billion of this commitment, providing direction and stability to developing country partners. I will leave it to Anar Mamdani to provide further details on this commitment.
We believe fundamentally that the Paris Agreement will help drive global ambition on climate change. But there are other ways that Canada is providing global leadership on this front.
For example, on the margins of COP23 last year, Canada and the United Kingdom launched the Powering Past Coal Alliance, which is a voluntary coalition of governments, businesses and organizations that are helping to end the use of unabated coal power around the world. The Alliance continues to grow, with 74 members now who recognize the value of this initiative.
Canada has also demonstrated global leadership this past year through the G7 presidency. Just this past September, Minister McKenna hosted the G7 environment ministers' meeting and co-hosted the G7 joint ministerial session on climate change, oceans and clean energy.
We had good exchanges among G7 ministers and representatives of business and civil society on several important issues related to environment, oceans and energy. For example, we saw a number of countries, such as Jamaica and Norway, as well as major multinational businesses, such as Unilever and Volvo, make important commitments to reduce plastic pollution by supporting the Oceans Plastics Charter announced at the Charlevoix G7 Summit. G7 members also came together to establish a G7 Innovation Challenge to address marine plastic litter.
I would like to highlight a few more international initiatives that my branch has helped to further this past year.
For one, Canada, along with China and the European Union, launched the ministerial on climate action, and has co-hosted two meetings among ministers to identify common ground towards adopting the Paris “Rulebook”.
Last May, Minister McKenna also hosted the “Climate Leaders’ Summit: Women Kicking It on Climate”, which brought together high-level women influencers from all sectors to develop climate change solutions that contribute to gender equality and the empowerment of women.
My branch also does a lot of work to advance our bilateral relationships around the world. ECCC works in close collaboration with several countries to advance Canada’s international climate change and environmental protection agenda.
For example, in North America, Canada undertakes co-operative work with the United States and Mexico under the Commission for Environmental Cooperation, the CEC, which is a trilateral organization that has facilitated environmental work since 1994. Under the CEC, parties are committed to continuing this existing co-operation as part of a new environmental co-operation agreement that is being negotiated.
In November 2017, Canada joined with like-minded U.S. states and Mexico to create the North American climate leadership dialogue, committing to work co-operatively on clean transportation, vehicle efficiency, and clean power, and on reducing short-lived climate pollutants. In September 2018, a new statement was endorsed in San Francisco.
Another key partner that we have been working with is China. During Prime Minister Trudeau's visit to China in December 2017, he and his Chinese counterpart issued a joint leaders' statement on climate change and clean growth. This statement establishes the new ministerial dialogues on climate change, environment and energy and recognizes the leading role that Canada plays in the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development, CCICED, for which Minister McKenna is the international executive vice-chair.
We also have considerable engagement with Europe. Canada and the EU have strong bilateral relations on the environment and climate change. On May 24, Canada hosted the Canada-EU high-level dialogue on climate change to share expertise on climate change issues and negotiations.
On April 16, 2018, the France-Canada climate and environment partnership was signed in the presence of Prime Minister Trudeau and President Macron. The partnership includes nine areas of co-operation.
Canada is also working with the U.K. on issues such as climate change adaptation, carbon pricing and phasing out traditional coal under the Canada-U.K. partnership, which was announced by Prime Minister Trudeau and Prime Minister May in September 2017.
ECCC also works closely with Global Affairs Canada to advance Canada's trade and environment objectives which are based on the principle that trade and environment are mutually supportive. A prime example is the new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).
The USMCA incorporates the most ambitious environment commitments Canada has ever included in a trade agreement. It integrates substantive environmental provisions into an environment chapter, subject to dispute resolution, which aims to level the playing field by ensuring parties do not lower their levels of protection to attract trade or investment.
This chapter also includes new commitments to address a range of global environmental issues, such as illegal wildlife trade, sustainable fisheries and forestry management, species at risk, conservation of biological diversity, air quality and marine litter.
To conclude, I would note again that Canada's significant engagement on climate change on the international scene is designed to build trust and capacity among parties for progress on climate goals, to ensure that leading emitters—developed and developing countries—are accountable, and to create conditions for innovation and clean growth for all.
Thank you for your time.
I would now like to turn to my colleague from Global Affairs Canada.