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Enabling Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas

Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas (IPCAs) are lands and waters where Indigenous Peoples have the primary role in protecting and conserving ecosystems through Indigenous laws, governance and knowledge systems.[1] 

IPCAs support a vision where ecosystems are thriving in balance with resilient communities and Indigenous Peoples. Efforts to enable and recognize IPCAs through the Pathway to Canada Target 1 reflect a growing global trend where governments are recognizing areas conserved by Indigenous Peoples and local communities.

“There are a range of management models that can apply to IPCAs and other protected and conserved areas that support a meaningful role for Indigenous Peoples. Some IPCAs may employ a co-management or cooperative management model where Indigenous Peoples, federal, provincial, territorial or municipal governments and others adopt shared decision-making, joint management or advisory mechanisms. In some cases, areas governed by Indigenous Peoples will be the desired option.”[1] 

IPCA governance model.PNG

Contributions from Pathway


IPCA Gathering, 2018


An NSC IPCA working group has been created through the Pathway to Canada Target 1. Through Indigenous leadership and engagement in conservation, the working group is exploring opportunities, tools, and challenges for implementing IPCAs in Canada.

Find out who is involved in the NSC IPCA Working Group

  • Assembly of First Nations
  • Métis National Council
  • Canadian Parks Council
  • Local government representative
  • Parks Canada Agency
  • Government of Alberta
  • Government of Manitoba
  • Government of Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Government of Northwest Territories
  • Government of Nova Scotia
  • Government of Saskatchewan
  • Government of Yukon
  • Environment and Climate Change Canada

Contributions from the Indigenous Circle of Experts (ICE)



Bilingual ICE summary video

Western Gathering Video

Eastern Gathering Video

Northern Gathering Video

Central Gathering video

For more ICE videos, see River Voices Productions