The Canadian Parks Council (CPC) Climate Change Working Group and the Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) partnered to host a climate change workshop in Yellowknife on June 6th and 7th.
More than 70 participants attended from the Northwest Territories (NWT) and Yukon, including protected areas practitioners, community leaders, researchers, elders, and youth. The workshop focused on building relationships and initiating an exchange of knowledge between parks and protected areas practitioners, and climate change researchers in a northern Canadian context.
Over the two-day workshop, participants had the opportunity to learn about the state of climate knowledge in the NWT and Yukon, how to access data and funding, meet with researchers, and network with people engaged in Indigenous-led stewardship and conservation planning initiatives.
The end of the workshop was marked with a closing circle where all participants shared an action they plan to undertake in their home communities, informed by what they learned at the workshop. A report will be produced by the CPC that includes summaries of the tools and initiatives showcased at the workshop.
The workshop complements two current GNWT initiatives:
- The 2030 NWT Climate Change Strategic Framework which lays out the GNWT’s long-term approach to: developing a strong, healthy economy less dependent on fossil fuels; increasing our understanding of the impacts of climate change; and improving our ability to build resilience and adapt to a changing climate.
- Healthy Land, Healthy People: GNWT Priorities for Advancement of Conservation Network Planning 2016-2021 which outlines conservation network planning priorities to be achieved by the GNWT with Indigenous partners by 2021.
As the GNWT advances new territorial protected areas in partnership with Indigenous governments, we aim to incorporate climate change considerations based on the best science, traditional and local knowledge.
Northern parks and protected and conserved areas not only ensure the continuation of important ecosystem services, such as clean water; they also protect cultural and spiritual landscape values, increase social well-being, provide food provision services, and contribute to the diversification of economy.
The integration of climate change considerations in the establishment and management of northern parks and protected areas is essential to make sure these areas can fulfill their promise of contributing to social well-being, ecological health, sustainable livelihoods and economic prosperity.