Policy Brief: Indigenous-Led Conservation Job and Economic Opportunities that Work for Nature
New federal investments in Indigenous Guardians and Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas will create immediate, vital new jobs in Indigenous communities across the country. New investments in this work will help transform local and regional economies – particularly in remote and Northern communities – towards a more sustainable future. It will offer new job opportunities for youth, create new business opportunities for Indigenous and non-Indigenous businesses alike, and help build new, more resilient economies.
Indigenous Guardians are trained experts that care for the land and water. Supporting Guardians programs help Indigenous nations create more resilient futures, by providing good local jobs that contribute to more vibrant local economies – and a sense of pride and possibility for Indigenous youth.
Indigenous Guardians support land use planning efforts, which identify areas for both conservation and sustainable development, thereby providing certainty for resource development and support for stronger rural and northern communities. Guardians often work with industry and regulators to support monitoring and implementation of environmental agreements at mining sites and other resource development projects. In a time of increasingly constrained travel, they are poised to be increasingly critical partners in on-the-ground monitoring and research for industry and academia alike.
Indigenous Guardians also help establish and manage Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas (IPCAs) – places that sustain healthy populations of caribou and salmon, clean water, and a more stable climate through protection of some of the largest carbon storehouses on the planet.
The creation of IPCAs is also the single most important pathway for Canada to achieve its international and domestic nature conservation goals – in particular, the Speech from the Throne commitment to protect 25% of Canada’s lands and inland waters by 2025. Indigenous-led land use plans and IPCAs will be essential to Canada’s ability to bridge the gap from current protection levels to 25% and beyond.