September 19, 2014 (YELLOWKNIFE) – Leaders and officials from the Government of the Northwest Territories, Inuvialuit Regional Corporation, Northwest Territory Métis Nation, Sahtu Secretariat Incorporated, Gwich’in Tribal Council, Tłı̨chǫ Government, Salt River First Nation and Denínu Kų́ę́ First Nation attended the first Intergovernmental Council meeting today in Yellowknife.
A key feature of the Devolution Agreement is the creation of an Intergovernmental Council to allow governments to cooperate and collaborate on matters related to lands and resource management.
The Council is established by the Northwest Territories Intergovernmental Agreement on Lands and Resources Management (NWTIALRM), which was signed in February of this year. The overall goal of the Intergovernmental Council is to work together to explore ways to collaborate and coordinate on land, water and resource management issues.
Leaders and officials gathered in Yellowknife and talked about processes for future meetings and priority areas for work in the coming year. Leaders approved the Terms of Reference for the Intergovernmental Council Secretariat. This Secretariat was tasked with undertaking work in a number of key areas including:
- Identifying priority legislation for review
- Establishing a working group to investigate options related to Impact Benefit Agreements, including focusing on best practices from the NWT and other jurisdictions and to return to the Intergovernmental Council with those options
- Developing recommendations to improve Aboriginal government capacity throughout the NWT
- Reviewing processes for water management and planning, including improving baseline data related to water
- Reviewing the Land Use Sustainability Framework and providing any agreed upon recommendations
- Establishing a working group to discuss options related to the administration of resource revenue allocations.
The Council provides an important new opportunity for northern leaders to cooperate on land and resource management across jurisdictions, while respecting the autonomy and authority of each government over its own lands.
The inaugural meeting of the Intergovernmental Council is a first step in a new era of cooperation between the Government of the Northwest Territories and Aboriginal governments. It builds on and complements the GNWT’s ongoing work to engage Aboriginal governments in the spirit of respect, recognition and responsibility and foster strong partnerships that will benefit all residents of the NWT.