Bringing Policy down to Earth

In simple terms, “policies” are the foundation that provide a framework for the development of plans, programs and services.  The NVision team has worked on policy development at the organizational, local, territorial and federal levels. One of our most challenging and exciting projects has been our long-term engagement with Nunavut Parks and Special Places (Government of Nunavut).


Parks, Policy, and Nunavut

The Nunavut Land Claim Agreement (NLCA) is the guiding statutory document for Nunavut. It defines the rights of Inuit, and sets out principles and processes that shape governance throughout the Territory.

The NLCA states that the “social, cultural and economic endeavors of the human community must be central to land use planning and implementation”. The NLCA, and an Umbrella Inuit Impact and Benefit Agreement for Territorial Parks (IIBA), both set out the goal of establishing a system of parks in Nunavut to be co-managed with Inuit.  These documents established a baseline for policy; our challenge was to create a process that could realistically achieve this new park system in a way that would be meaningful to Inuit.


Bridging Cultural Perspectives

Many people think of “parks” as pieces of land set aside, distinct from the broader landscape. But that’s not a concept that exists in Inuit culture; it was clear that a system of Territorial Parks in Nunavut would need to combine Inuit cultural values and perspectives with current planning and management practices.

Through close collaboration and consultation with community representatives and GN officials (and with much careful listening),  we developed a series of “Framework” documents to define the rationale and elements of a Nunavut Parks system, and set out a collaborative process for park planning and management. Our starting point for these policies was Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit (often referred to as “IQ”),   a set of principles reflecting Inuit values and beliefs. This helped to ensure that each framework was based on a body of knowledge that incorporated Inuit culture, environment awareness, and sustainability.


Planning for Success

Our work involved Inuit across the Territory in identifying terminology, defining appropriate methodologies, and ensuring Inuit participation in the planning and management of each community’s significant landscapes. The result was four major policy documents, frameworks for Inventories of Park Resources, Master Plans, Management Plans, and Heritage Appreciation, representing a unique and innovative fusion of IQ with national standards and best practices for park planning and management.


Having an Impact

Presented to local Park Planning and Management Committees and other groups through training and planning sessions, the Frameworks and the approaches they embody have generated positive responses and real community participation. A member of a community joint planning and management committee summarized it very well: “Inuit benefit from the cultural point of view told in our park, to keep our way of life strong, and to protect these places that are important to both our past and our future.”