Daily Commercial News by ConstructConnect | Oct 5, 2022
Eric Wilson, EIT, B.Eng, MASc, PhD Candidate | Indigenous Projects Liaison

A conference held on the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation explored how engineers, architects and construction professionals can be better allies to Indigenous Nations and honour the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action by supporting Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas (IPCA).

Building a Foundation for Reconciliation 2022: The Interconnections between Infrastructure, Culture, and Environment was hosted by RJC virtually Sept. 30.

“IPCAs are lands and waters where Indigenous governments have the primary role in protecting and conserving ecosystems through Indigenous laws, governance and knowledge systems,” explained Eric Wilson, who holds a joint position in a partnership between RJC Engineers and the IISAAK OLAM Foundation.

“IPCAs represent two different worldviews coming together in mutual respect to find solutions to the major issues of our time. IPCAs are a progressive opportunity to heal our relationships with Mother Earth and with one another.”

Eli Enns, CEO and president of the IISAAK OLAM Foundation, provided an overview of IPCAs.

“The difference between an Indigenous Protected and Conserved Area and a conventional protected area like a national or provincial park is that we do see humanity and society as a part of the environment. That’s not just guardians, it’s holistic…that includes top to bottom community infrastructure, housing, energy systems, food systems,” said Enns.

“In the spirit of reconciliation, let’s look at how we can bring our various skills and abilities to bear in this endeavour of nation building creating more resilient communities both technically and also spiritually.”

In 2017 an engagement process looking at the state of conservation in Canada led to the IPCA land designation. It was aimed at meeting Canada’s targets to 20 per cent of land and waters conserved by 2020 and now 30 per cent conserved by 2030.

“Currently Canada is at 12.8 per cent,” said Wilson. “IPCAs are seen across all government parties as a way to meet these conservation targets.”

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