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Lessons from Canada: Regional cumulative effects and Indigenous knowledge

Dr Jenny Pope and Alan Ehrlich

[Pictured above is Dr Jenny Pope with Dave Nordquist of the Adams Lake Indian Band, who are undertaking some cutting edge Indigenous-led RCEA in British Columbia.]


Dr Jenny Pope holding a piece of paper with Dave Nordquist

Jenny with Alan Ehrlich of the McKenzie Valley Environmental Impact Review Board, with hand-drawn systems diagram showing the interconnectedness of impacts for a proposal the MVEIRB was assessing

CRC TiME Project 4.7: A Systematic Approach to Regional Cumulative Effects Assessment (RCEA) to Support Transitions in Mining Economies – Stage 1 is led by Dr Renee Young of the Western Australian Biodiversity Science Institute (WABSI) and Dr Jenny Pope of Murdoch University. The project aims to demonstrate through analysis of Australian and international case studies how RCEA in its various forms can add value to regional scale planning and decision-making related to mining transitions.

As Canada has a well-established and diverse body of practice in RCEA, Jenny spent a month in Canada over May and June, conducting 28 interviews in 9 cities with participants in selected RCEA case studies and other experts, travelling from Vancouver as far east as Ottawa and as far north as Yellowknife in the North West Territories. She also attended the annual conference of the Indigenous Centre for Cumulative Effects (ICCE), an organisation that supports First Nations and other Indigenous groups to conduct cumulative effects assessments within their territories.

Dr Jenny Pope speaking at ICCE conference

Jenny at the ICCE conference

On the way home, Jenny also stopped in Canberra, where she conducted further interviews related to Australian case studies and attended the EIANZ Impact Assessment Symposium, entitled EPBC reforms: How can impact assessment deliver nature positive outcomes? Jenny participated in a panel on regional planning, where she was able to contribute some of the preliminary findings from the RCEA project into the discussion of how regional planning might be undertaken as part of the Nature Positive reforms.

For more details about this project, see the project summary. Renee and Jenny are now in the process of developing the proposal for Stage 2 of the project which will commence in 2024, focusing on developing a toolkit for RCEA. If you are interested in learning more or being involved, please contact Renee at or Jenny at