Plenty Canada is extremely grateful for the opportunity to co-lead, alongside the Conservation Through Reconciliation Partnership and Environment and Climate Change Canada, an event commemorating the Pathway to Canada Target 1 process, during the CBD COP15 (Fifteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity) in Montreal on December 11th.
“Pathway to Canada Target 1” was Canada's initiative to engage rights-holders and stakeholders in advancing Aichi Target 11 (by 2020, at least 17 percent of terrestrial and inland water, and 10 percent of coastal and marine areas are conserved). The Pathway process was notable in that right from the outset and at every step, it was informed by Indigenous governance and protocol.
This initiative was a great success, acting as a catalyst for the national support of Indigenous-led conservation, and provides a valuable blueprint for future projects of a similar nature. Plenty Canada's presentation was created with the goals to celebrate these historical successes and consider how we can use the lessons learned from the Pathway process beyond 2020.
Plenty Canada Executive Director Larry McDermott began the presentation with a smudge ceremony, which was followed by opening remarks and a fascinating panel discussion. Alongside Larry, the panel was filled with prestigious figures, including Chloe Dragon Smith, Curtis Scurr, Marilyn Capreol, Julie Boucher, and Dawn Carr.
The panel covered a tremendous amount of temporal and theoretical ground in a relatively short time. Larry and the other panelists discussed Canada's origin story as it speaks to the original vision of conservation between Indigenous and colonial peoples, the origins of Pathway to Canada Target 1, their personal experiences with the Pathway process, steps taken to date, and plans for moving forward.
During the panel session, the floor was opened to the audience to ask questions and dialogue with the panelists, emphasizing the collaborative nature of both the event itself and the Indigenous/non-Indigenous environmental initiatives that the event described. It was a wonderful event, made all the greater by the eagerness and participation of the delegates and other guests in attendance, highlighting the importance of relationships in conservation work. Plenty Canada hopes that this event demonstrated to the Canadian delegation and other parties how they can work with Indigenous peoples, and their knowledge systems, to work towards the 2030 biodiversity targets and beyond.
If you missed watching the event live, you can watch the recording on Plenty Canada’s YouTube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dfNITaopIYM.
— Breton Campbell