What is the key to a healthy territory? Flowing rivers. Abundant moose. Traditional food for your family. Robust fish stocks. Connections between youth and elders. These are just a few of the values identified by participants from Indigenous communities in Manitoba, Alberta and the Northwest Territories at a natural resources planning workshop hosted by Nature United in August 2017.
When people involved in a planning process feel empowered and invested in the output, that plan is more likely to succeed. Healthy Country Planning is one of the Indigenous-led models that Nature United supports.
Healthy Country Planning is an Indigenous-led process for land and water planning and management.
A Shared Solution
Healthy Country Planning was developed in collaboration with many communities, and it does not belong to any one organization or person. It is licensed under Creative Commons. Find more information on the Conservation Coaches Network website.
First developed with Indigenous people in Australia, Healthy Country Planning was created to ensure that Indigenous knowledge and people are central to planning processes in their country. It has since been used worldwide for developing and implementing land-use plans, wildlife management plans and protected area plans, including in Canada’s Northwest Territories.
Healthy Country Planning encourages strong community engagement by tailoring language, facilitation and tools to the community’s needs. It also provides an approach to connect community values, Indigenous knowledge and western science, helping parties understand each other and giving a platform to implement appropriate solutions.
Elements of Healthy Country Planning
Healthy Country Planning was developed for an inclusive community approach to ensure cultural, environmental and social values are considered equally. The process creates well thought-out pathways to improve the health of lands, waters and the people who care for them. HCP follows a cycle of simple steps to build and use a plan in the right way, with the right people.
Finding ways to tell the story; helping others learn from it.
Developing a vision, identifying values on the territory and threats to those values by working with Elders, community members and leaders.
Working together to develop goals, strategies, and actions.
Work and Monitor
Implementing the plan on the ground in the territory; working with partners; identifying indicators to monitor progress.
Recording information about lessons learned; Modifying approach based on learnings.
Nature United provides facilitation and other tools to support Indigenous-led planning processes.
Trainings To Date Across Canada
- 2015, Northwest Territories
- 2017, British Columbia
- 2019, Manitoba
Indigenous stewardship is at the centre of Nature United's work, with a focus on working in partnership with Indigenous communities as they strengthen governance, build on-the-ground stewardship capacity, support and build leaders, and catalyze local economies. As an affiliate of the world's largest conservation organization, The Nature Conservancy, Nature United has access to a global network of community conservation programs and practitioners. We draw on these connections whenever possible to share ideas and innovative tools from around the world with our partners in Canada.
How We're Supporting Healthy Country Planning
There is an expanding interest among Indigenous communities in Canada to use Healthy Country Planning. As an organization we are committed to supporting our partners in using this Indigenous-led planning process.
Train Canadian-based facilitators who can lead and provide technical support for the Healthy Country Planning process.
Providing access to trained facilitators and co-facilitation support to Indigenous communities interested in Healthy Country Planning
Adapting the Process
Advocate and participate in the development and adaptation of Healthy Country Planning in a Canadian context as tool to support Indigenous-led planning.