CEM in Dublin, Ireland for the IAIA24 Conference

By Katerina Kwon, CEM Advisor and SFU PhD Candidate

I recently traveled to Dublin, Ireland to present at the 2024 International Association for Impact Assessment Conference (IAIA24) in Dublin, Ireland. This year’s conference was the biggest ever for IAIA, with over 1,000 attendees from countries all over the world. The theme for this conference was “Impact Assessment for a Just Transformation” (https://2024.iaia.org/)

There were several sessions at the conference focused on Indigenous perspectives and it was exciting to see so many communities working on Indigenous-led impact assessment and cumulative effects initiatives.

Our presentation, titled, “Linking Indigenous-led cumulative effects management with impact assessment” was part of an engaging session on Meaningful Impact Assessments through Indigenous Leadership. It’s important for us to share our work to raise the profile of Metlakatla and the CEM Program.

A quick summary about our presentation:

The Metlakatla CEM Program has identified priority values that are important to the community, developed community-based monitoring programs, set tiered management triggers, and is now developing CEM action strategies. Most of this work has focused on internal management processes for the Metlakatla, but Metlakatla leadership recognizes the importance of utilizing CEM tools and data to support Indigenous decision-making in external processes, particularly in impact assessments. To better understand the relationship between Indigenous-led CEM and impact assessment processes, we interviewed managers working on impact assessment and CEM for 10 Indigenous communities in BC and Canada. We present and analyze the results of those conversations: (1) highlighting unique challenges for Indigenous communities in how cumulative effects are addressed in impact assessment, (2) identifying how Indigenous-led CEM programs currently interact with impact assessment processes, and (3) exploring strategies for CEM to guide and support Indigenous participation and decision-making in impact assessment.

In order to secure and enhance the well-being of future generations in Metlakatla, it is imperative that we handle past, present, and potential future activities with efficiency, effectiveness, and consistency. Chief Robert Nelson, 2024, Metlakatla First Nation