Shane Thompson: Conservation Network Gathering, Opening Remarks

Yellowknife — February 27, 2020
Ministers' Statements and Speeches

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Good morning, and welcome to the second day of the Conservation Network Gathering.

It sounds like you all had a full day yesterday, which I hope you found productive and inspiring.

I’m grateful for the chance to speak to all of you, and thank you in person for the incredible work you do.

Keeping the land healthy is a priority for the Government of the Northwest Territories. Not just our natural environment, of course, but also our connection to the land.

That’s why our communities are at the heart of conservation planning in the Northwest Territories. By protecting the areas that are important to our communities, we can help maintain our natural and cultural resources for generations to come.

The conservation network in the NWT is diverse and evolving, and I am excited about upcoming opportunities.

Yesterday, you talked about Indigenous guardian programs and ways to get more of our youth out on the land, and connecting to their culture.

These kinds of programs are near to my heart, as they help to revitalize and strengthen our communities.

Today you’ll hear about other ways protected areas can support communities to develop and diversity their local economy, through culture, education, tourism and recreation.

Building a more diverse economy and creating jobs in small communities are priorities for the GNWT.

As you know, sustainability is key. That’s why we continue to look for long-term funding options for our NWT protected areas.

All of these conversations will help ensure we are building a conservation network that respects and protects the values of our communities and Indigenous partners.

It is up to all of us to ensure our newly-established protected areas can fulfill their promise of contributing to social wellbeing, ecological health, sustainable livelihoods and economic prosperity.

I look forward to continuing to work together to protect our land and northern way of life.

Thank you, and please enjoy the rest of the gathering.