Anishinaabe territory named Canada’s first mixed UNESCO World Heritage site

The area straddling Manitoba and Ontario receives the rare designation

Anishinaabe territory named Canada’s first mixed UNESCO World Heritage site

After years of lobbying by local First Nations, UNESCO has awarded Pimachiowin Aki, a mostly untouched region that is home to one of the largest herds of caribou, the rare designation. The vast region of boreal forest straddling the Manitoba and Ontario border has been named the first mixed cultural and natural UNESCO World Heritage site in Canada, a tribute to the area’s exceptional biological diversity as well as to the enduring presence of Indigenous people there.

The preservation of Pimachiowin Aki will help Canada achieve its target under the international Convention on Biological Diversity to protect 17 percent of the country’s land and fresh water by 2020. Currently, just 10.5 percent has been protected and, to meet the commitment, Canada will have to conserve an additional area roughly the size of Saskatchewan.