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Indigenous protected areas: Transformative opportunities, part two – Law360 Canada

October 17, 2023

In 2018, an inflection point in conservation efforts was marked. The Indigenous Circle of Experts (ICE) proposed strategies for Canada to achieve the global target of protecting 17 per cent of land and water by 2020, predominantly through establishing Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas (IPCAs).

But what are IPCAs? In the words of ICE, they are the “lands and waters where Indigenous governments take the reins, leading the protection and conservation of ecosystems through a tapestry of Indigenous laws, governance, and centuries-old knowledge systems.” While these areas take distinct shapes across different communities, they are united by three non-negotiable pillars:

1) they are Indigenous-led,

2) they elevate Indigenous rights and responsibilities, and

3) they are a long-term commitment to conservation.

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