Editor: CPAWS-NWT is pleased to see the steps the Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) is taking to continue the work started under the NWT Protected Areas Strategy (PAS) through the Draft NWT Conservation Areas Action Plan.
The Draft Action Plan builds on conservation work conducted since 1999 in the PAS by NWT communities in collaboration with regional Aboriginal organizations, the federal and territorial governments, environmental non-governmental organizations, and industry. It smartly incorporates the PAS into the post-devolution context by planning to integrate identified proposed core protected areas into a conservation areas network that will work to achieve international biodiversity conservation targets. As well, the plan would create the necessary legislative, policy and decision making framework to support comprehensive conservation planning.
Planning for conservation is critical for the long-term sustainability of our territory. The NWT has one of the greatest opportunities in the world to proactively conserve important places for current and future generations. By setting in place a robust NWT conservation areas plan now, we will ensure that our unique biodiversity and cultural heritage can be conserved. Through proactive conservation we can also lay the groundwork for increased land use certainty, secure opportunities to diversify local economies and provide a broader range of long-term employment opportunities for NWT residents.
We know that NWT residents highly value our land, water and wildlife, and support conservation of important areas – in a 2013 survey about the future of the NWT done by EKOS Research, the single top concern identified by residents was environment/conservation/pollution. Many NWT communities have been working for over 15 years to identify special places on the land that are important to them and for which they want protection.
CPAWS-NWT looks forward to continuing to work with the GNWT and other interested parties to further develop the Conservation Areas Action Plan to achieve the best possible future for all people of the NWT, through careful stewardship of our shared natural and cultural heritage.
Executive Director, CPAWS-NWT