Canada reaches historic milestone on Indigenous-led land conservation in the Northwest Territories

News release

October 13, 2023 – Ottawa, Ontario

Fighting the triple crises of climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution requires collective effort and systemic change in the ways we interact with nature and collaborate with each other. The Government of Canada is committed to working with Indigenous peoples, in true partnership that respects Indigenous leadership, science, and knowledge, to safeguard the ecosystems we all depend on while advancing reconciliation.

This week, the Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, and the Honourable Gary Anandasangaree, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, alongside Indigenous Governments in the Northwest Territories, the Government of the Northwest Territories, and private philanthropies, celebrated the signing of a framework agreement to support one of the largest Indigenous-led land conservation initiatives in the world.

Once completed, this initiative, known as the Northwest Territories Project Finance for Permanence, or NWT PFP, could more than double the amount of conservation in the territory, contributing 2.5 percent or more toward meeting Canada’s commitment to protect 30 percent of the country’s land and inland water by 2030.

This historic milestone in the NWT PFP process was achieved through unprecedented collaboration and builds on a shared vision for an inclusive and long-term approach to climate change mitigation, environmental stewardship, Indigenous rights, and collaborative governance.

The framework agreement outlines the terms and expected outcomes of the initiative in the Northwest Territories, including activities within the scope of investments. Activities include support for establishing new protected and conserved areas identified by Indigenous Governments, as well as ongoing stewardship of existing areas. Guardians’ programs, climate research, investments in conservation-based economic opportunities, and on-the-land, cultural and Indigenous language programs linked to conservation could also be funded.

The NWT PFP will also help communities adapt to climate change by supporting climate monitoring and assessment activities, preparing for fire risks, and other climate-related impacts.

Canada will continue to support Indigenous-led efforts to conserve nature and biodiversity, protect Indigenous cultures and ways of life, and build a healthy future for generations to come while making significant progress toward meeting Canada’s conservation goals.


“Canada’s ambitious conservation goals can only be met in partnership with Indigenous peoples. This agreement is a testament to what can be achieved when we work together to realize a shared goal. By coupling Indigenous and Western science, we can fight the twin crises of climate change and biodiversity loss, strengthen our relationships with Indigenous communities, and build a better future for everyone.”
– The Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada

“This summer’s historic wildfires have been eye-opening for us all. The devastating impacts confirm the critical importance of working together with Indigenous Knowledge Keepers to fight climate change and its disproportionate impacts on Indigenous and racialized communities. That is why Canada is proud to support one of the largest Indigenous-led land conservation initiatives in the world, which empowers First Nations, Inuit, and Métis in the North, as they lead efforts to protect the territory that they call home.”
– The Honourable Gary Anandasangaree, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations

“This historic milestone marks another step in a long journey. Congratulations! The foundation of the PFP model is the critical role of Indigenous communities in stewarding nature. Slowing and reversing biodiversity loss is one huge benefit of the PFP, but it is about so much more than conservation. Reconciliation, economic development, creating long-term jobs, and a growing conservation economy: that’s what the PFP enables.”
– Michael McLeod, Member of Parliament for the Northwest Territories

Quick facts

  • The Project Finance for Permanence is an innovative funding model based on partnerships that leverage government and private funding to support large-scale, long-term conservation efforts.

  • In December 2022, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced $800 million to support up to four Indigenous-led conservation initiatives. Together, these four initiatives could protect up to one million square kilometres, a significant contribution to Canada’s conservation goals.

  • Canada helped to achieve the Kunming-Montréal Global Biodiversity Framework, whose key outcomes include a global target to conserve 30 percent of land and water by 2030, as well as recognizing and supporting the critical role of Indigenous communities in halting biodiversity loss. The PFP model is an innovative tool that implements both of these priorities.

  • NWT PFP partners are working toward finalizing the agreement in December 2023.

  • The Government of Canada has made an initial floor commitment of $100 million, with final contributions to be reflected in the closing agreement.

Associated links


Kaitlin Power
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change

Media Relations
Environment and Climate Change Canada
819-938-3338 or 1-844-836-7799 (toll-free)

Media Relations
Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada

Joshua Kirkey
A/Director of Communications
Office of the Honourable Gary Anandasangaree
Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations

Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Twitter page

Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Facebook page

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