Conference Opens the Door to Cumulative Effects Work
The 2022 Virtual Indigenous Conference on Cumulative Effects is a great way for First Nations, Métis and Inuit to learn more about the importance and benefits of cumulative effects work.
Indigenous communities across Canada are building their environmental capacity and more specifically in the area of cumulative effects like never before. Many Indigenous governments and organizations now employ environmental experts, consultants, Indigenous traditional knowledge practitioners, and consultation advisors whose role is to assess and interpret concerns and pressures on their traditional territories.
With that, there is a movement towards participating, and even leading, more formal processes and tools that aide in assessing the cumulative effects from various types of development in our territories. For example:
Impact Assessments are tools used to identify the environmental, social and economic impacts of a particular project proposal prior to decisions being made. Impact assessments give Indigenous peoples a say in what happens in their traditional territory. No impact assessment process is complete without the consideration of cumulative effects.
Indigenous Traditional Knowledge (ITK) studies are tools used to assess the historic and current use of the land that includes Indigenous land uses such as trapping, hunting, and fishing while also scoping in the cultural and social values of the plants, animals and landscapes. ITK is key to understanding cumulative effects in our territories.
While these studies are incredibly valuable to project decision making, new tools and frameworks are being established to aid in the assessment of cumulative impacts over time, and involving multiple human activities and natural processes.
Cumulative Effects (CE) Monitoring and Management are important processes supporting and complementing the assessment of impacts in our territories. They include determining the focus and scope of the study, collecting data, assessing the spectrum of effects and determining a course of action towards monitoring and management of those effects.
As jurisdictions across Canada are developing policy and guidance with respect to cumulative effects, there is a greater need for Indigenous communities to be involved in cumulative effects assessment, management and monitoring. There will be new opportunities for First Nation, Métis and Inuit to lead cumulative effects work.
The Indigenous Centre for Cumulative Effects (ICCE) was established in 2019 to support the capacity of Indigenous communities to undertake cumulative effects work.
ICCE is hosting the 2022 Virtual Conference — ICCE Virtual Conference Cumulative Effects: A Health and Well-Being Perspective — on March 1 to 2, 2022.