Under the protected areas strategy, communities continue to identify land and processes to protect important areas. Last year, lands were withdrawn for protection in the Edhzhie or Horn Plateau. Currently, nine protected area candidate initiatives are in progress. In addition, the PAS Implementation and Advisory Committee recently approved a five-year management plan in partnership with the federal Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development that will see more than $17 million invested to protect areas of significant value in the Northwest Territories prior to the construction of a pipeline.
Climate change is also of great concern to territorial residents. The department developed both the greenhouse gas strategy and the energy strategy to encourage residents, businesses and governments to conserve energy and develop affordable and sustainable sources of energy. We have taken a leading role on behalf of this government to work with other Canadian governments toward the adoption of the Kyoto Protocol, which will curb the emission of these gasses on a global level. We continue to develop and adopt new standards, under our Environmental Protection Act, to manage air quality.
In the past two years, the department has coordinated our government's participation in eight major environmental assessments relating to proposed tungsten, diamond, forestry and oil and natural gas developments. The environmental assessment unit was formed this year to help coordinate more effective environmental assessment.
In addition, the department negotiated and signed the Yukon-NWT trans-boundary water management agreement in February 2002, to facilitate closer cooperation and more effective management of shared water resources.