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Implementation of sustainable development provisions in the Yukon First Nations Final Agreements

Koh, Glenda Rhea





The settlement of land claim agreements between First Nation groups and the governments of Canada and the Yukon has ushered in a new era in land and resource management in the Yukon Territory. The Yukon First Nations Final Agreements are detailed documents that create a structure for shared responsibility, jurisdiction, and ownership over land and resources. This project examines the provisions of the Yukon First Nations Final Agreements in terms of their ability to promote sustainable development. The project undertakes four main tasks. Firstly, it explores the tricky and often overused term sustainable development and proposes a functional definition of its principles. Secondly, it identifies the provisions of the Final Agreements that address these sustainable development principles. Thirdly, it examines implementation of the Final Agreements to date, just 6 years after the first four of 14 anticipated agreements have been signed. Finally, the project makes recommendations as to how implementation of the Final Agreements can better promote sustainable development. The main conclusions of the project are that sustainable development must be addressed collaboratively at all levels of government activity, from working-level co-management boards, to government policy makers. Moreover, if the issue of sustainable development is to be usefully addressed through the Final Agreements, it can only be done concurrent with the development of a First Nations governance that recognizes the original goals of self-government: the preservation and promotion of First Nations culture, values, rights and methods of decision-making within a formal government system.

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