By Margot Bishop. For more information, please Contact Eli Enns, ICCA Consortium Coordinator for North America.
The Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas (IPCA) Gathering was held in Treaty 7 on October 15th- 18th, 2018, within the traditional territories and home of the Stoney Nakoda, Blackfoot, and Tsuut’ina Nations, and Métis Nation of Alberta Region 3. The gathering was hosted by former members of the Indigenous Circle of Experts (ICE), the Alberta Government, and the federal government (led by Environment and Climate Change Canada with support from Parks Canada) and set out to discuss how to implement IPCAs.
As part of the Pathway to Canada Target 1, the ICE produced a report on how IPCAs can support Canada in reaching 17% protection by 2020. IPCAs are lands and waters where Indigenous governments have the primary role in protected and conserving ecosystems through Indigenous laws, governance and knowledge systems. Culture and language are the heart and soul of an IPCA. (ICE Report, p.35) To advance the recommendations in the report, the gathering brought together nearly 140 participants composed primarily of Indigenous government representatives leading the work of IPCAs and their prospective partners, including government, non-profit and academic representatives.
The gathering focused on how to implement successful IPCAs in Canada – discussing the tools, types and partnerships available – and created the space for participants to meet, share their lessons learned, and forge new partnerships. Through breakouts and panel discussions, the gathering broadened the understanding of IPCAs and shared tools designed to empower IPCAs in a regional context. Throughout the final day of the gathering, the commitment for further and deeper discussions at a regional level of IPCA opportunities was shared amongst participants. For more information about IPCAs and the Pathway to Canada Target 1, please follow this link.
Credits of the featured photo: River Voices productions