Subsidiarity in Action: Effective Biodiversity Conservation and Municipal Innovation
This report examines the important contribution that municipalities can make to biodiversity conservation in Alberta where amendments to the Municipal Government Act empower, and indeed require, Alberta’s municipalities to enhance their environmental protection efforts. An examination of these changes, assessed using the principles of subsidiarity, environmental governance, and biocultural diversity, reveals that municipalities, both large and small, urban and rural, can innovate with novel legal initiatives to improve their biodiversity-related conservation actions. Concurrently, while municipal innovation is possible, improving local biodiversity conservation action also requires innovations in funding, citizen engagement, and regional environmental governance. Municipalities are already recognized contributors to biodiversity conservation and great strides have been made at the municipal level to increase habitat connectivity. Current municipal conservation efforts need to be augmented to harness new statutory powers, capitalize on local knowledge and initiative, and enhance citizen education and engagement.