The residents of the NWT have a long relationship with the land. But the way we use land is changing. There has been a movement away from traditional land use and harvesting activities towards an increasing reliance on the wage economy. Where we are living, what we are doing and global effects of climate change are all having impacts on our land.
The land management and governance context in the NWT is also evolving. Land-claim and self-government agreements are being negotiated and implemented. Legislation governing the NWT regulatory regime is changing. Through devolution, the GNWT is acquiring new authorities and responsibilities for land management.
The GNWT has been working towards a clear vision and framework to support the GNWT’s participation in various land-use decision-making processes, whether it be approval of land-use plans, environmental impact assessments, permitting of development projects, establishment of national parks, or protection of land and water for cultural or environmental reasons. In July 2012, the GNWT released Land is Life: Towards a GNWT Land Use and Sustainability Framework. This discussion paper proposed the GNWT’s vision, principles and interests for land-use and management. Aboriginal and community governments, land and water managers, environmental organizations and industry representatives across the NWT were asked to provide comments and their views on the GNWT’s roles and responsibilities in a post-devolution land-management regime.
Based on what we heard, as well as the requirements for implementation of the devolution agreement, the GNWT has finalized the Land Use and Sustainability Framework. It will guide us as we assume our responsibilities as the public government responsible for public lands and resources.