The city is implementing the Convention and the 2010 biodiversity target, notably through the adoption of several plans and policies with its Master Plan, which defines a framework for urban planning activities. It includes explicit commitments to promote Montréal's natural heritage. The Heritage Policy identifies the conservation and enhancement of Montréal's natural heritage as primary concern.

Montréal also has implemented a policy respecting the protection and enhancement of the natural environment. The goal is to increase the aggregate hactarage of protected natural spaces on the Island of Montréal by reconciling economic, social and environmental interests. The city has invested $35 million in these efforts. Ten ecoterritories have been designated recently in the Master Plan. Two other sectors are the focus of attention: existing parks and riverbank environments.

Montréal also has adopted a Tree Policy that aims to diversify the species of tress lining city streets, in order to better withstand the effects of climate change and devastating insect infestations. In 2006, Montréal planted 9,000 trees with the objectives of planting "the right tree at the right place", creating a greater diversity of tree species and expanding the canopy cover to offset the heat-island effect.

Arising from the Montréal Summit held in 2002, development and implementation of the first Strategic Plan for Sustainable Development (SPSP), introduced in April 2005, are characterized by a unique, participative approach. Over 80 partners from various sectors of the community and over 40 municipal administrative units (local and corporate administrations) have given priority to certain environmental affairs goals and have carried out 24 different projects as a result.

Between 2007 and 2009, community mobilization will continue in the following areas:
  • Air quality improvement and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions
  • Improvement to the quality of residential living spaces
  • Responsible resource management
  • Sound, sustainable development practices at corporations, institutions and businesses
  • Protection of biodiversity, natural environments and green spaces

At the 11th session of the Conference of the Parties to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 11/MOP 1), held in Montréal in December 2005, Montréal undertook to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 20% between 2002 and 2012. Given that it had already reduced its emissions by more than 80% between 1990 and 2002, this was a very ambitious objective. To achieve this, an action plan was adopted by the city administration, which consisted of 12 different actions aimed at improving energy efficiency in the following areas:
  • Vehicles and municipal buildings
  • Infrastructures (water treatment plant, drinking water production, etc.) as well as a process and the sharing of information.

Moreover, Montréal is currently developing an action plan to adapt to climate change. This will affect its most sensitive areas, i.e.:
  • Infrastructures
  • Heat islands
  • Biodiversity on riverbanks and in parks

Playing a leadership role in the Montréal community’s movement towards sustainable development, Montréal drew up an inventory of greenhouse gas emissions throughout the community, in 2002 and 2003. This serves as a call to action for stakeholders, specifically those industries that account for a significant percentage of the emissions. As a community, Montréal has joined other large cities of the world that have already set targets for greenhouse gas reduction within their communities, i.e. 20% by 2010, 30% by 2020 and 80% by 2050.

The significant work achieved by the Montréal nature museums is notable. Their mission is to increase public knowledge of nature and related disciplines, contribute to the study and preservation of biodiversity and promote responsible environmental behaviour. Each establishment contributes to the achievement of this mission in its respective field of expertise. Several programs and initiatives have been put in place. For instance, the “Conservation Emergency Program” has been established at the Montréal Botanical Garden, which aims to: establish, within the existing collections, a “path to the biodiversity of Québec”, enabling visitors to appreciate local endangered plant species, develop awareness regarding conservation, sustainable use of natural resources and protection of wild habitats, as well as implement a research program aimed at establishing the bases of ex-situ and in-situ conservation of Québec’s rare plants. The “Wild Leek Restoration Program” is another initiative of the city through the Biodôme. More than 1,100 owners of stands of maple were interested in safeguarding the seeds of this endangered species. Montréal has also identified an amazing green tool for cities: the willow. This species, Salix vinimalis, can be used for biomass, erosion control, phytoremediation or roadside noise barriers. Finally, a research project has been conducted at the Garden, involving the study of traditional knowledge of the First Nations. This has led to the rediscovery of the medicinal potential of many wild species and highlighted the importance of those species on the health of these nations.

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  • United Nations
  • United Nations Environment Programme