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Opinion

Indigenous-led conservation offers opportunity for Canada—and the world

By Ethel Blondin-Andrew      

The growing Indigenous conservation movement offers Canada a powerful opportunity to keep our promises to the world.

Last August, the Lutsël K’e Dene First Nation signed an agreement with the Government of Canada and the Government of the Northwest Territories to permanently protect 26,376 square kilometres of vibrant lands. Called Thaidene Nëné, it is an Indigenous protected area and parts are also a national park, territorial park, and wildlife conservation area. Across the country, Indigenous nations are advancing some of the biggest, most ambitious conservation initiatives, in places we have called home since long before Canada existed. Indigenous leaders are approaching conservation at the grand scale required to turn things around, writes Ethel Blondie-Andrew. Photograph courtesy of Pixabay

YELLOWKNIFE, N.W.T.—Canada needs to keep its promise to the world. Struck by increasing declines in wildlife and other species, Canada was among the first countries to commit to doing something about the biodiversity crisis. Under the international Convention on Biological Diversity, now supported by almost every country on earth, we pledged to protect increasing amounts of our natural lands. The next benchmark requires every nation to protect at least 17 per cent of lands by 2020.

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