Government of Canada announces $340 million to support Indigenous-led conservation

Ontario: Indigenous peoples have been stewards of these lands and waters since time immemorial. The Indigenous Guardians and Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas initiatives recognize the many lessons that can be learned from Indigenous partners when it comes to protecting nature and rely on Indigenous experience and Traditional Knowledge to ensure lands and waters are safeguarded for generations to come.

Today, the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, announced an investment of up to $340 million in new funding over five years to support Indigenous leadership in nature conservation, as part of Canada’s historic Budget 2021 investment of $2.3 billion over five years in nature conservation.

From this funding, up to $173 million will fund new and existing Indigenous Guardians initiatives and the development of Indigenous Guardians Networks for First Nations, Inuit and Métis. Indigenous Guardians initiatives support Indigenous peoples in protecting and conserving the environment, developing and maintaining sustainable economies, and continuing the profound connections between Indigenous cultures and their lands. The Government of Canada will also work with Indigenous partners at Parks Canada–administered places to enhance current Guardian initiatives and co-create new ones.

Over $166 million will support Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas (IPCAs), which are lands, waters, and ice where Indigenous leadership is a defining attribute in the decisions and actions that protect and conserve an area. These new investments will build on the success of recent efforts. To date, fifty-two Indigenous communities across the country have received funding to either establish IPCAs or undertake early planning and engagement work that could result in additional IPCAs.

This funding is a vital next step in the process to safeguard Canada’s lands and inland waters. Indigenous-led conservation will play a central role in implementing the Government of Canada’s commitment to protect biodiversity and conserve 25 percent of land and inland waters and 25 percent of marine and coastal areas by 2025, working toward 30 percent by 2030.

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