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Indigenous-led Conservation and the Great Bear Sea PFP – CFN

February 3, 2023

As First Nations of the North Pacific Coast, we have governed our territories for countless generations. Our lands and seas are among the richest and most productive ecosystems on Earth. For decades, we have worked with Canada and BC to set aside unsustainable industrial resource extraction in favour of Indigenous-led conservation models grounded in our knowledge and stewardship responsibilities.

The first landmarks in this effort were the Great Bear Rainforest Agreements in 2006 and 2007: government-to-government conservation and management agreements spanning 6.4 M ha of coastal temperate rainforest. These agreements were accompanied by an innovative finance model that united investments from federal and provincial governments and philanthropic funders. This groundbreaking approach has inspired similar models of large-scale conservation finance – now known as “Project Finance for Permanence,” or PFPs – around the world.

These agreements also established Coast Funds, an Indigenous-led conservation finance institution. Since its launch in 2008, Coast Funds has proven to be a powerful engine for economic development. Through the Great Bear Rainforest PFP, coastal nations were able to expand existing programs and create new projects, resulting in 1200 new jobs and 130 new businesses while diversifying the regional economy, increasing household incomes, empowering youth, improving food security, and more.

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