NWT Cumulative Impact Monitoring Program (CIMP)
In an effort to ensure that environmental information is collected and available to Northerners, decision-makers and industry, the NWT CIMP aims to watch and understand the land and use it respectfully forever. The program coordinates, supports and conducts both monitoring related initiatives in the NWT by incorporating both scientific and traditional knowledge, while taking into consideration both human and biophysical environments. The NWT CIMP strives to fill information gaps in current monitoring activities, report on the state of the NWT environment and the cumulative impacts of land and water uses and waste deposits, and encourage and support community-based monitoring, capacity building and training.
The NWT CIMP follows a community-based approach. Communities are involved in a meaningful way throughout the program, including the design, monitoring, analysis/interpretation and reporting of traditional knowledge or science-based activities. The information collected through the NWT CIMP is important and relevant to Northerners, therefore the program is largely guided by the expertise and efforts of northern residents. The NWT CIMP operates as a partnership known as the NWT CIMP Working Group (with representatives from Aboriginal organizations, territorial and federal governments, and observers from other organizations) that guides the design and implementation of the program.
In summary, the NWT CIMP will result in:
- a standardized, inter-connected system of data collection;
- improved data management, and analytical and reporting capacity;
- the use of scientific and traditional ecological knowledge in monitoring;
- enhanced community capacity and involvement;
- increased accessibility and compatibility of information; and,
- a better informed decision making process.
The NWT CIMP has existed since 1999 as a statutory requirement that supports informed resource management decisions throughout the NWT. The monitoring of cumulative impacts is a constitutional obligation contained in the Sahtu, Gwich’in and Tlicho comprehensive land claim agreement and a statutory requirement of Part 6 of the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act.
How is the NWT CIMP funded?
Ongoing funding for the NWT CIMP and the Nunavut General Monitoring Plan (NGMP) was announced in the Federal Budget 2010 and under the Action Plan to Improve Northern Regulatory Regimes. This funding provides approximately $25 million for both programs over five years and $5 million/year on-going.
Since 1999, the program has been able to fund over two hundred small-scale projects through a competitive process. Now, with secure funding, the critical requirement to monitor the environment can proceed in a stable, strategically-planned fashion.
Why is the NWT CIMP needed in the NWT?
The rationale and need for the NWT CIMP extends beyond the constitutional and statutory requirements. Northwest Territories’ residents and other interested parties have long-standing concerns about the potential cumulative effects of resource development activities on the environment. Cumulative impact monitoring is critical for sustainable development in the North in order to better understand and respond to changing environmental conditions and improve resource management and development decision-making.
The need for cumulative impact monitoring and environmental auditing is heightened in the context of rapidly increasing development pressures throughout the Northwest Territories. As these pressures intensify, they are likely to contribute to cumulative impacts, adding to the need to understand environmental baseline conditions against which to predict and assess change. As such, the NWT CIMP is a critical tool in producing and sharing improved baseline information to ensure that responsible economic development occurs in the context of sound and adaptive environmental management.
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