St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador – Protecting nature is vital to the health and well-being of Canadians and is key to the fight against climate change and biodiversity loss. Indigenous Peoples know this, and since time immemorial they have been stewards and managers of the land, waters and ice, and leaders in ecosystem conservation. Recognizing this, and in the spirit and practice of reconciliation, the Government of Canada partners with Indigenous communities on nature conservation.
The Minister of Environment and Climate Change, the Honourable Steven Guilbeault, has announced that the Government of Canada is providing almost $3 million to Miawpukek First Nation to support their area-based conservation work. This funding will enable Miawpukek First Nation to conduct activities that will help them establish a new Indigenous Protected and Conserved Area. Once complete, the Indigenous Protected and Conserved Area will contribute significantly toward Canada’s goal of protecting 25 per cent of land and inland waters by 2025.
Through this funding, the community has hired four Indigenous community members as Indigenous Guardians. These Indigenous Guardians are using their Two-Eyed Seeing to collect data for negotiations toward a potential Forest Management Agreement with the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador. This work has resulted in finding sites of cultural and historical significance on the land.
The Government of Canada’s work to protect more nature comes as we prepare to welcome the world to Montréal in December 2022 for the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP15) to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). COP15 presents an opportunity for Canada to show its leadership along with international partners in taking actions to conserve nature and halt biological diversity loss around the world, in partnership with Indigenous Peoples, the original guardians of the land.
“This is an example of the great things that can happen when we come together to support the environment. Miawpukek First Nation has a deep dedication to sustainable development and nature conservation. By collaborating with the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador, they set a standard for how people and nature can thrive together.” – The Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada
“Miawpukek First Nation appreciates the support provided by the Government of Canada for Indigenous-led conservation that we will undertake within our Traditional Territory. This funding will result in the direct employment of Indigenous Guardians, who will spend time on the land documenting conservation values and continuing our traditions and way of life. We welcome the collaboration with the Government of Canada and the Newfoundland and Labrador government on this important project, as all governments move forward in reconciliation with the Indigenous people.” – Chief Mi’sel Joe, Miawpukek First Nation
- Indigenous Peoples are recognized worldwide as the protectors of nature, with Indigenous Peoples’ territories containing as much as 80 percent of the world’s remaining forest biodiversity.
- The funding announced today comes from the historic Nature Legacy investments, established to help Canada meet its international commitments for biodiversity, sustainable development and climate change.
- Canada’s network of protected areas plays a vital role in conserving and restoring healthy, resilient ecosystems and contributing to the recovery of species at risk.
- The Government of Canada has made commitments to conserve 25 percent of land and inland waters in Canada and 25 percent of oceans by 2025, and is working toward 30 percent of each by 2030.
- The Government of Canada is committed to working toward halting and reversing nature loss in Canada by 2030 and achieving a full recovery for nature by 2050.