CMN releases 2019 – 2022 Strategic Plan to advance mountain research in Canada
Mountains make up one-quarter of Canada’s land-mass and provide important resources and benefits to Canadians, such as freshwater, natural resources, energy, shelter, recreation, and a cultural and spiritual connection. As our population continues to grow, mountain ecosystems face unprecedented threats to their sustainability, including climate change impacts, biodiversity loss and lack of water.
The Canadian Mountain Network (CMN) has released their 2019-2022 Strategic Plan to support the resilience and health of mountain peoples and places across Canada by improving our collective understanding of mountain systems. The Strategic Plan reflects the work and ideas of hundreds of Canadians and experts from around the world. It provides a roadmap as to how the Network will develop and implement an integrated, solutions-oriented research, training, and knowledge mobilization agenda with its partners and participants.
CMN was established in 2019 is to support the resilience and health of Canada’s mountain peoples and places through a five-year, $18.3 million grant from the Networks of Centres of Excellence program. CMN is the country’s first formal research organization dedicated to advancing our understanding of mountain systems, which provide diverse and important benefits to Canadians living both near and far from these distinctive and iconic landscapes.
The Strategic Plan outlines the key goals of CMN, which span environmental, economic and social considerations, and decision-making and actions at multiple levels. Other goals include forming a diverse collaborative community of mountain systems researchers, developing innovative partnerships, and enhancing the understanding, appreciation and funding for mountain systems.
Integrating Indigenous and Western ways of knowing is of crucial importance for CMN: “For the first time, Indigenous communities and their representatives will have leadership roles in not only in a network’s research program but also in its management and governance”, says Norma Kassi, CMN co-Research Director and Director of Indigenous Collaboration at the Arctic Institute for Community-Based Research.
“Our Board of Directors has approved a concrete plan that ensures that Canada strategically invests in a coordinated research program that takes into account ecological, cultural and societal aspects of mountain regions and reconciles Indigenous and Western ways of knowing”, says CMN President and co-Research Director, Dr. Stan Boutin, who is also Professor at the University of Alberta.
A full list of all of CMN’s funded projects and principal investigators in charge are provided in the Plan. These research projects address CMN’s research priorities, which focus on Indigenous culture, knowledge and decision-making; research on impacts and mitigation of climate change and human activities; as well as planning, risk management and governance. The Operation Strategy details CMN’s four integrated program strategies – research, training, knowledge mobilization, and networking and partnerships – put in place to achieve CMN’s goals, vision, mission and values.
Canada’s extensive mountain systems provide a wide range of benefits to Canadians. The launch of this Strategic Plan marks a new era in mountain research and conservation in Canada. CMN hopes to position Canada as a global leader in mountain systems research through strategic and coordinated planning and action.