Shane Thompson: Conservation Network Gathering

Yellowknife — March 2, 2020
Ministers' Statements and Speeches

Check Against Delivery

Mr. Speaker, the 19th Legislative Assembly believes our decisions must reflect a full understanding of our communities and regions. It is our responsibility to ensure that the needs of our residents are reflected in the decisions that will impact them.

This is especially important when it comes to decisions about the land, Mr. Speaker. That’s why our northern Indigenous governments and communities are at the heart of our northern approach to establishing and managing protected areas.

The Northwest Territories is a leader in Canada when it comes to conservation planning. We work closely with our Indigenous partners to protect the Northwest Territories’ natural and cultural diversity. 

Today, I am pleased to tell you about a gathering that was held in Yellowknife recently to help advance this important work.

On February 26th and 27th, 2020, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources hosted this territory’s first Conservation Network Gathering. The idea behind this gathering, Mr. Speaker, is to share experiences and build partnerships to manage territorial protected areas under the new Protected Areas Act.

More than 100 partners from across the Northwest Territories took part in the two-day gathering, including Indigenous governments and organizations, territorial and federal departments, funders, academics and conservation leaders from across Canada.

Topics discussed included:

  • new ideas in conservation and stewardship;
  • the role of Indigenous guardians; and
  • on-the-land success stories.

They also talked about the financial realities of protected areas, and best practices for management and research.

Healthy Land, Healthy People is our five-year plan for conservation network planning. It lays out how the Government of the Northwest Territories is moving forward together with its partners to protect the integrity of our northern ecosystems.

Protected areas can also provide new job opportunities for small communities,
Mr. Speaker. Guardian programs, land-based products and cultural tourism are all ways we can expand and diversify our economy.

Over the coming months, Environment and Natural Resources will work closely with our partners to develop a new Healthy Land, Healthy People work plan to guide us over the next five years. Mr. Speaker, we need to hear from all stakeholders as we determine a path forward. That is why I am pleased to confirm that we have secured federal funding for the next three years to make the Conservation Network Gathering an annual event.

Mr. Speaker, we look forward to working together to develop the next made-in-the-North conservation work plan, to keep our land healthy for current and future Northerners and visitors to enjoy.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.