The Bras d’Or Lakes Collaborative Environmental Planning Initiative (CEPI) arose in response to a request by the Cape Breton First Nations Chiefs in 2003 to develop an overall environmental management plan for the Bras d’Or lakes and watershed lands.
To date, two successful workshops have been held, with over 250 people attending, to engage government partners from all levels and the broader community of the Bras d’Or Lakes watershed in this process.
The Unama’ki Institute of Natural Resources (UINR), an organization representing the five First Nations bands in Cape Breton on environmental and natural resource issues, has been endorsed to play a coordination role (Secretariat) for these efforts, with support provided by four levels of government – First Nations, Municipal, Provincial and Federal.
Currently the Bras d’Or Lakes CEPI has a functioning organizational model which includes a Steering Committee that meets quarterly (with federal, provincial, municipal, and Mi’kmaq governments, industry, academia, and NGO representation), a Management Committee which meets monthly, Task Teams (Management Plan, Funding, etc.), a Mi’kmaq Elder Advisor, an Elders Council, and a Senior Council that meets annually (federal Regional Directors General, provincial Deputy Ministers, municipal Mayors and Wardens, and First Nations Chiefs).