The Collaborative Environmental Planning Initiative (CEPI) is a fourteen year-old, intersectoral partnership focused on the health and wellbeing of the Bras D’Or lakes watershed, including human communities. CEPI was formalized in 2005 when representatives from all four levels of government (municipal, provincial, federal, and First Nations), who share responsibility for the management and protection of the Bras D’Or Lakes, signed the Bras D’Or Charter. The initiative has been guided by principles of two-eyed seeing since its inception. The charter was generated during a collaborative workshop in 2004 and includes the following statements:
Vision: To lead a unique collaboration of partners that incorporates both traditional Mi’kmaq and western perspectives in order to foster a healthy and productive Bras D’Or Lakes watershed ecosystem.
Objective: A balance of environmental, social, cultural, and institutional objectives will be pursued to ensure the health and sustainable use of the Bras D’Or Lakes watershed ecosystem.
Purpose: To develop and overall management plan for the Bras D’Or Lakes watershed ecosystem, and to facilitate it’s implementation by government and other stakeholders.
This project aims to foster and deepen reconciliation amongst CEPI members and stakeholders. It supports CEPI’s goals to establish a renewed and nuanced commitment to two-eyed seeing within the organization and to explore possibilities for sustainable economic development such as renewable energy. Furthermore, the CEPI project meets key objectives of A Shared Future and serves as an exemplar to other program partners, projects, and others throughout Canada.
Mary Beth and Carolyn began Phase One of the research process in November 2019 with individual interviews, after approving the interview guide with Stan, Lisa, and the CEPI Management Committee. In total, 20 interviews with knowledge holders from CEPI have been conducted and transcription and thematic analysis is underway. In mid-April, Heather will participate electronically in the thematic analysis with the CEPI research team. The anticipated May 2020 gatherings with CEPI members to review, discuss, and refine themes found in the Phase 1 data are currently on hold given current estimated timelines regarding COVID-19 social distancing precautions.