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Government of Canada continues partnership with First Nations on climate action

Press Release

From: Environment and Climate Change Canada

News release

July 13, 2022

Today, in the spirit of partnership and in recognition of First Nations Climate Leadership, the First Nations–Canada Joint Committee on Climate Action (JCCA) released its fourth annual report to the Prime Minister and the National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations. The JCCA provides a unique opportunity for federal and First Nations representatives to work together to develop and implement a model of partnership for climate action to grow an inclusive, clean, and prosperous future together.

First Nations are uniquely and disproportionately affected by climate change. They are experiencing an increase in threats caused by wildfires, permafrost thaw, changing wildlife patterns, diminishing access to traditional food sources, and flooding. First Nations’ knowledge systems, self-determination, and rights must be woven into all federal climate policy and program development as their experiences and knowledge related to the environment and climate change are diverse and unique.

A growing body of evidence demonstrates that mobilizing Indigenous Knowledge in decision‑making can increase the viability of Canada’s responses to the various dimensions of climate change, including food, energy, and water security; resource co-management; the conservation of lands, waters, and ice; economic development; community infrastructure; and health and well-being. Canada is prioritizing initiatives that support self-determined climate action and amplify the leadership of First Nations to advance reconciliation and to address the impacts of climate change.

The JCCA made progress on many priorities in 2021, despite the ongoing challenges of the pandemic, as well as the devastating fires and floods that severely impacted many communities throughout British Columbia, including Lytton First Nation. This collaboration has been critical to advancing First Nations’ full and effective participation in clean growth and climate change programs, and ensuring that Canada’s climate solutions build on First Nations Climate Leadership and promote the full inclusion of First Nations.

The report highlights five priority areas for the JCCA discussions and activities in 2022, including

  1. Accelerating First Nations’ full and effective participation in clean growth and climate change programs, including informing the upcoming National Adaptation Strategy.
  2. Advancing the development of First Nations Climate Leadership through meaningful dialogue.
  3. Monitoring and evaluating progress on First Nations Climate Leadership and the full and effective participation of First Nations in climate change programs.
  4. Developing new communication tools to improve transparency, accountability, and engagement through JCCA activities.
  5. Embedding an intergenerational and intersectional dialogue on climate change in all JCCA activities.

Indigenous Peoples’ leadership is key to Canada achieving its climate objectives. The Government of Canada will continue to engage with First Nations as partners in climate action as it implements measures under the 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan, and as Canada works toward a net-zero future.

Quotes

“For many First Nations, climate change is not a future issue, but one that is having financial, cultural, and environmental impacts on their communities as we speak. We have much to learn from First Nations’ experiences and unique relationships with the land. Indigenous Knowledge can and must be central to the development of effective climate policy. I am honoured to work in partnership with First Nations and the Government of Canada to advance the priorities of the Joint Council. I want to thank the JCCA for their work, and say that we are ready to meaningfully collaborate on the priorities identified in this year’s report.”

– The Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change

“As climate leaders, First Nations must have meaningful opportunities to shape the vision and approach of all climate action. The Joint Committee on Climate Action is one such approach, where First Nations governance, laws, and priorities can breathe life into an approach that centres First Nations leadership in climate action and provides a more holistic approach to fighting climate change. First Nations people are often the first to feel the impacts of climate change and we have the knowledge to inform meaningful solutions to the very real impacts on Mother Earth. We look forward to our continued work with the JCCA and demonstrating First Nations climate leadership, including through the AFN National Climate Strategy.”

– Kluane Adamek, Regional Chief, Assembly of First Nations – Yukon Region

Quick facts

  • The Joint Committee on Climate Action follows on from the Assembly of First Nations resolution 22/2017. It was established in 2016 by the Prime Minister and the National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations. It focuses on climate change and clean growth, and is based on the recognition of rights, co-operation, and partnership.
  • The JCCA seeks to promote First Nations’ full and effective participation in federal climate action. It serves as a unique forum where First Nations representatives and federal officials come together to discuss climate change priorities and collaborate on climate policy.
  • The Committee’s mandate does not replace or alleviate the Crown of its duty to consult First Nations’ rights holders at the local, regional, and national level on climate change issues.
  • Its work includes identifying barriers to First Nations’ participation in decision making and access to climate change programs, and identifying ways to advance First Nations’ self determination in climate action.
  • The JCCA is made up of First Nations representatives from all regions in Canada, representatives of the Assembly of First Nations, and Government of Canada officials from numerous federal departments, including Environment and Climate Change Canada, Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada, Indigenous Services Canada, Natural Resources Canada, and Infrastructure Canada.

Associated links

Contacts

Kaitlin Power
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change
819-230-1557
[email protected]

Media Relations
Environment and Climate Change Canada
819-938-3338 or 1-844-836-7799 (toll-free)
[email protected]

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