Conservation Network Planning

Healthy Land, Healthy People

What is Healthy Land, Healthy People

Healthy Land, Healthy People: GNWT Priorities for Advancement of Conservation Network Planning 2016-2021 is a five-year work plan that outlines how the Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) is moving forward collaboratively with conservation network planning in the NWT.

Conservation network planning will help make sure biodiversity and ecosystem integrity are maintained into the future.


Healthy Land, Healthy People outlines two clear conservation network planning priorities to be achieved by the GNWT by 2021 in partnership with Indigenous governments and organizations, and other planning partners:

  • Conclude the planning and decision-making for each existing candidate area to point of final decision on establishment.
  • Develop a renewed strategy for conservation network planning, which includes ecological representation planning.

The partners engaged in achieving these two priority outcomes will vary by region, based on commitments made in settled or ongoing land, resources and self-government agreements, as well as private sector interests.


Establishing existing candidate areas and new areas

To move towards establishment of existing candidate areas and new proposed areas, new legislation is being created to make sure areas are established in a timely, streamlined and relationship-oriented manner, and allows for the flexibility needed within a general framework.

An equitable management governance framework will be developed to identify the key components of a governance approach for protected areas and conservation areas. The framework will outline roles and responsibilities of the GNWT and applicable Indigenous governments and organizations. As well, a model establishment agreement will be developed, which will provide a template for legally binding contracts for each established area.]

Developing a renewed strategy for NWT conservation network planning

The GNWT will pursue a renewed strategy to advance a made-in-the-north approach to conservation network planning. The strategy will be based on the principles of the Northern Lands Northern Leadership - The GNWT Land Use and Sustainability Framework (LUSF).

The renewed strategy will build upon the NWT Protected Areas Strategy and be developed through coordination between various GNWT departments and in partnership with Indigenous governments and organizations, and other partners. It will include objectives that are foundation pieces of the strategy and initiatives that are important supporting components.

Foundational objectives include:

  • Clearly defining and communicating the components of an NWT conservation network and the extent of the network
  • Developing a process to implement ecological representation planning, a priority of the LUSF

Supporting components include:

  • Develop a northern approach for balanced assessments of new proposed areas
  • Continue to incorporate the best science and traditional ecological knowledge into conservation network planning for the NWT, including incorporating climate change considerations
  • Create a plan to broadly and consistently manage and monitor across the conservation network
  • Complete regular state of the conservation network reporting and associated public communications
  • Establish a new forum for partner and stakeholder engagement in implementation of the strategy and associated initiatives