Research and Engagement Services – Supporting First Nations capacity-building and marine Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas Toolkit development


The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) is a national organization that represents and advocates for the interests of 634 First Nations across Turtle Island as directed by the First Nations-in-Assembly. The AFN’s work includes facilitating and coordinating national and regional discussions, advocating for First Nations interests, conducting legal and policy analysis, and communicating with governments and non-government parties.

The AFN invites qualified individuals or companies to submit proposals to develop an environmental scan and facilitate engagements to support capacity-building for First Nations on Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas (IPCAs) in coastal and marine environments.



The objective of this Request for Proposals (RFP) is to select a who demonstrates high professionalism, integrity, and confidentiality in developing an environmental scan and facilitating engagement sessions. The environmental scan will involve engagement with the AFN Marine IPCA SWG (SWG) and include a session at the AFN’s First Nations Climate Gathering between October 7-10, 2024. The services will also include three additional engagement sessions with the SWG.

This project supports ongoing efforts to identify and address capacity needs and develop a comprehensive Marine IPCA toolkit to aid First Nations in their conservation and stewardship efforts. It also aligns with broader AFN advocacy efforts to bolster First Nations leadership in conservation as outlined in Resolution 41/2021: Marine Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas.



In 2021, the First Nations-in-Assembly passed a resolution, Resolution 41/2021, mandating the AFN to support advancing First Nations-led IPCAs in marine and coastal waters. This mandate includes ensuring that First Nations have adequate resources to participate in all decision-making processes and support for First Nations-led conservation initiatives. A consistent barrier to advancing First Nations leadership in conservation is insufficient capacity. This project aims to identify the necessary elements to ensure that the development of a toolkit for First Nations is relevant, strategic, and valuable.

The SWG is a sub-committee of the Advisory Committee on Climate Action and the Environment (ACE), the AFN’s chiefs’ committee established to support the implementation of AFN mandates on environmental and climate matters. The SWG was developed to support the implementation of Resolution 41/2021 and compromises technical experts from First Nations organizations with interest and experience in marine IPCAs. The SWG is a forum to discuss First Nations experiences, issues, priorities, and concerns, providing opportunities to share information, build relationships, and build capacity.


The services sought will assist in designing, preparing, and facilitating meetings with the SWG, supporting the AFN’s mandates.  

The scope of the environmental scan and engagement services include, but not limited to:

Environmental Scan

  1. Attend monthly meetings with the AFN, as required to support project delivery
  2. Conduct desktop research to identify existing IPCA tools and resources available and assess their purposes, accessibility, and gaps. The review of potential tools and resources may include funding support tools, stewardship plan templates, community engagement processes or community engagement plan templates, and outreach and engagement materials.
  3. Identify the appropriate methods and tools to design and carry out research for an environmental scan
  4. Compile an inventory of existing resources categorized by function.
  5. Identify tool and resource gaps informed by the desktop research and engagement with the SWG and at the First Nations Climate Gathering, as applicable.
  6. Provide recommendations for tools as part of the AFN Marine IPCA Toolkit
  7. Submit a final report that includes, but is not limited to, research methodologies, findings, analysis, conclusions, and recommendations.
  8. Present findings to the AFN and SWG


  1. Design, prepare, and facilitate four meetings with the SWG, a two-three day in-person session, and three virtual two to three-hour sessions.
  2. Design, prepare, and facilitate a three-hour session related to Marine IPCAs and capacity building at the AFN First Nation Climate Change Gathering in Calgary
  3. Prepare a meeting summary for each engagement session including any outcomes and action items.
  4. Where applicable, integrate feedback into the environmental scan.

Project Timeframe:

The work shall be completed between July 15 2024 and March 31 2025.

Project Deliverables

The following dates are set forth for informational and planning purposes and may be changed at the AFN’s sole discretion.

Project Stage

Deliverables and/or Milestones


Initiation and Planning

Draft research and engagement approach

July 2024

Research and Engagement

Draft inventory list 

Deliver two engagement sessions

Engagement summaries

Oct. 2024

Oct. 2024

Aug. 2024 – Mar. 2025

Draft Report

Final Report

Draft environmental scan for review

Final report

Dec. 2025

Feb. 2025



All proposals shall be received by email to Jamie Lavigne ([email protected]) no later than June 28.

All proposals must clearly identify the name of the proponent and note “RFP for Research and Engagement – Marine IPCAs in the email subject line.

Late submissions will not be accepted and will be returned unreviewed without exception.


All proposals shall include the following information:

  1. Workplan Summary: Summarize the project proposal’s objectives, project tasks, overall approach, milestones, timelines, and the roles and responsibilities of the proponent and AFN.
  2. Proponent Description: Provide a detailed description of the proponent’s qualifications and experience related to the project’s scope, particularly any experience working with First Nations.
  3. Team Organization: Identify the members of the proposed project team, their roles, and their cumulative experience (in years) with working with First Nations, especially regarding marine conservation, and provide three recent project examples.
  4. Cost Breakdown: Provide a detailed cost breakdown for the proposed services. This should include the total cost in Canadian dollars (inclusive of HST) for all services, deliverables/milestones, materials, travel expenses, and any software/hardware costs (if applicable). The travel costs should account for travel to Calgary for a two-hour engagement session and to Vancouver for a three-day engagement session.



The AFN reserves the right to:

  1. reject any or all proposals received in response to this Request for Proposals;
  2. enter into negotiation with one or more bidders on any or all aspects of their respective proposals;
  3. accept any proposal in whole, or in part;
  4. cancel and/or re-issue the modified version of a given RFP requirement at any time;
  5. award one or more contracts;
  6. verify all information provided with respect to a given RFP requirement, including the right to request a confirmation of the bidder’s legal status and signed documentation; and
  7. award contracts without competition for follow-up work, if any, to the selected bidder for a given project



The AFN will select the Proponent(s) which, in the AFN’s sole discretion, best serves the needs of the AFN. The following is a summary of the general considerations that will be used to determine the Proponent(s) that will be selected:


1. Expertise of Firm/Organization submitting the proposal


2. Experience in facilitation, engagement, and research in related to First Nations-led marine conservation and IPCAs.


3. Proposed Work Plan and approach


4. Experience in project management, project planning, strategy development, relationship building, facilitation, communications, and budgeting


5. Total price/budget




The following dates are set forth for informational and planning purposes and may be changed at the AFN’s sole discretion.

RFP Posted

June 14, 2024

Deadline for questions

June 21, 2024

Deadline for proposal submissions

June 28, 2024

Contract start date

July 15, 2024




Responses to this RFP will be considered as confidential information by the AFN and will be used solely for the purposes of selecting the successful bidder.

Clarification/ Questions

All on-time proposals will be acknowledged.

Requests for clarification and/or questions regarding this RFP should be directed to:
Magena Warrior
Policy Analyst
Telephone: (343)-596-8917 
Electronic Mail: [email protected]

Responses/ Submission

Only those submissions that meet the deadline will be considered.

Responses to this RFP must be received by Jamie Lavigne ([email protected]) by the close of business (5:00 pm EST) on June 28, 2024.