Government of Canada announces $340 million to support Indigenous-led conservation
August 12, 2021 – Ottawa, Ontario
Indigenous peoples have been stewards of these lands and waters since time immemorial. The Indigenous Guardians and Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas initiatives recognize the many lessons that can be learned from Indigenous partners when it comes to protecting nature and rely on Indigenous experience and Traditional Knowledge to ensure lands and waters are safeguarded for generations to come.
Today, the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, announced an investment of up to $340 million in new funding over five years to support Indigenous leadership in nature conservation, as part of Canada’s historic Budget 2021 investment of $2.3 billion over five years in nature conservation.
From this funding, up to $173 million will fund new and existing Indigenous Guardians initiatives and the development of Indigenous Guardians Networks for First Nations, Inuit and Métis. Indigenous Guardians initiatives support Indigenous peoples in protecting and conserving the environment, developing and maintaining sustainable economies, and continuing the profound connections between Indigenous cultures and their lands. The Government of Canada will also work with Indigenous partners at Parks Canada–administered places to enhance current Guardian initiatives and co-create new ones.
Over $166 million will support Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas (IPCAs), which are lands, waters, and ice where Indigenous leadership is a defining attribute in the decisions and actions that protect and conserve an area. These new investments will build on the success of recent efforts. To date, fifty-two Indigenous communities across the country have received funding to either establish IPCAs or undertake early planning and engagement work that could result in additional IPCAs.
This funding is a vital next step in the process to safeguard Canada’s lands and inland waters. Indigenous-led conservation will play a central role in implementing the Government of Canada’s commitment to protect biodiversity and conserve 25 percent of land and inland waters and 25 percent of marine and coastal areas by 2025, working toward 30 percent by 2030.
“Indigenous peoples are key partners as we work to protect more nature, conserve biodiversity, and combat the worst effects of climate change. We understand that Indigenous peoples have a deep knowledge and understanding of land management, which is why IPCAs are being established, where Indigenous leadership is a defining attribute in the decisions that protect and conserve an area. Indigenous Guardians are able to not only look after the lands, waters, and ice in their territories, but also to practise and teach their cultures in impactful ways. Canada has a lot to learn from Indigenous peoples in the way we steward nature, and by supporting IPCAs and Indigenous Guardians initiatives, we can continue that education.”
– The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Environment and Climate Change
“First Nations, Inuit, and Métis bring forward Indigenous knowledge and perspectives that are to learn from as we face the immense environmental challenges as a result of climate change, and as we work towards a more inclusive society. Programs like the Indigenous Guardians initiatives help support Indigenous peoples in protecting and conserving the environment, and help all Canadians to learn more about Indigenous ways of knowing for this generation and seven generations to come.”
– The Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations
“In many ways, people have become disconnected – from each other, from themselves, and from the land. The climate crisis is a direct reflection of this disconnection. As rights holders, Indigenous peoples and Land Guardians are leading the work to mend these disconnections in the form of robust climate action, environmental protection, and conservation efforts. The AFN Yukon Region welcomes this investment as an indication of the federal government’s commitment to supporting Guardians and Indigenous peoples as the original stewards of the land and who can lead the work that is necessary in order to mend what has been broken.”
– Kluane Adamek, Yukon Regional Chief, Assembly of First Nations
“As stewards and knowledge holders of Inuit Nunangat’s land, sea and ice, Inuit are positioned to create meaningful and responsive programming to mitigate the effects of climate change. This investment gives Inuit the resources to further build on the success of the Indigenous Guardians Program and to reach further, defining conservation through an Inuit lens. The wellbeing of Inuit is inextricably linked to the health of the environment and ITK looks forward to strengthening these partnerships that benefit rights holders, Inuit Nunangat and all of Canada.”
– Natan Obed, President, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami
“The Métis Nation Guardians projects are based on respect for the special relationship between our citizens and our traditional lands and environment, and will promote the engagement of our youth in the conservation and protection of our homeland.”
– Clément Chartier, President, Métis National Council
“Indigenous nations are proud to contribute to global efforts addressing biodiversity loss and climate change. Indigenous-led conservation and stewardship have the power to help Indigenous communities heal from the legacies of colonialism and residential schools, while building brighter futures for us all.”
– Valérie Courtois, Director, Indigenous Leadership Initiative
Under Budget 2021, the Government of Canada has made a historic investment of $2.3 billion over five years in Canada’s Nature Legacy to address the biodiversity crisis, protect and conserve nature, and create jobs in nature conservation and management.
The Government of Canada is committed to achieving reconciliation with Indigenous peoples through a renewed nation-to-nation and government-to-government relationship based on recognition of rights, respect, co-operation, and partnership as the foundation for transformative change.
Grounded by science, Indigenous knowledge and local perspectives, Canada is committed to conserving 25 percent of marine and coastal areas by 2025, working toward 30 percent by 2030.
To date, fifty-two Indigenous communities across the country have received funding to either establish IPCAs or undertake early planning and engagement work that could result in additional IPCAs.
Since 2018, the Indigenous Guardians Pilot has invested over $20 million in more than eighty initiatives across the country.
Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change
Environment and Climate Change Canada
819-938-3338 or 1-844-836-7799 (toll-free)
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