December 7, 2023 – Ottawa, Ontario
Empowering Indigenous Guardianship: A Year of Progress
In the heart of Canada, First Nations, Inuit, and Métis communities, the ancestral guardians of the land, are spearheading transformative efforts to preserve their territories. Celebrating one year since the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP15) in Montréal, Quebec, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau reflects on the strides made in supporting Indigenous-led conservation initiatives.
$800 Million Commitment Transforms Conservation Landscape
One year ago, on the sidelines of COP15, Prime Minister Trudeau pledged up to $800 million to bolster four Indigenous-led conservation projects. Anchored in the innovative Project Finance for Permanence model, this commitment fosters collaboration between government, communities, and philanthropy. The goal: is to protect nature, fortify communities, and cultivate local economies.
Landmark Achievements Over the Past Year
The Prime Minister, along with project partners, highlights significant milestones achieved in the past year:
- Qikiqtani Project Finance for Permanence (PFP): An Agreement in Principle is signed for a groundbreaking initiative in eastern Nunavut. This project aims to establish one of the largest Inuit-led protected areas globally, covering nearly one million square kilometers. Inuit knowledge guides the management of lands and waters, fostering local employment and opportunities.
- Northwest Territories Project Finance for Permanence: A historic Framework Agreement, involving 26 partners, signals progress in one of the world’s largest Indigenous-led land conservation initiatives. When completed, it could contribute 2.5% towards Canada’s commitment to protect 30% of its lands and waters by 2030.
- Great Bear Sea Marine Protected Area Network: Seventeen First Nations, along with the governments of Canada and British Columbia, endorse the action plan. This initiative safeguards the Northern Shelf Bioregion, preserving vital marine ecosystems, including endangered species like whales, corals, salmon, and sea birds.
- Omushkego Homelands Conservation: Collaborative efforts with the Mushkegowuk Council continue to conserve a significant part of the boreal forest and Hudson’s Bay Lowlands in Ontario and Nunavut. Simultaneously, the initiative advances local economic growth.
Commitment to Sustainable Partnerships
The Prime Minister reaffirms Canada’s commitment to a comprehensive, whole-of-government approach in collaboration with provinces, territories, and Indigenous communities. These initiatives, funded for long-term success, leverage philanthropic support to create a sustainable model for stewardship, ensuring the well-being of these regions for generations to come.
Voices of Indigenous Leaders
K̓áwáziɫ Marilyn Slett, President of the Coastal First Nations-Great Bear Initiative, and Dallas Smith, President of the Nanwakolas Council:
“Indigenous-led conservation, backed by durable finance, delivers real returns for nature, the economy, and communities.”
Leo Friday, Grand Chief of the Mushkegowuk Council:
“Conserving our Homelands is a gift to the world…a vision of conservation and access to minerals critical to the green transition.”
Jackson Lafferty, Grand Chief of the Tłı̨chǫ Government:
“The Northwest Territories PFP will create one of the largest Indigenous-led land conservation initiatives in the world.”
As Canada forges ahead on this journey of conservation and collaboration, it stands as a testament to the power of partnership in building a sustainable future.