Government of Canada creates new position to promote Indigenous Peoples’ knowledge and participation in the United Nations climate negotiations and to support the Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples Platform

News release

December 13, 2018 – Katowice, Poland

Canada recognizes and values the contributions of Indigenous Peoples to climate leadership at home and around the world. Their traditional knowledge and unique insights into the natural world are critical in tackling a challenge we must all face together: climate change.

Today, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna, announced—in Katowice, Poland—that the Government of Canada will enable the creation of the Indigenous Peoples Focal Point at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to promote global Indigenous knowledge on climate change. This new position is the first of its kind and will be supported through an $800,000 investment by Canada over four years.

The Indigenous Peoples Focal Point is a critical position for supporting the Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples Platform, and it will enhance Indigenous Peoples’ participation and the consideration of their knowledge at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The Focal Point will coordinate and lead work on issues related to Indigenous Peoples and climate change, promote awareness of Indigenous perspectives on climate change, and serve as a technical expert and advisor.

Indigenous knowledge is a valuable asset the world can use to better understand climate impacts. In the lead-up to and at COP24, Canada has been actively engaged in advancing the Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples Platform. Canada continues to encourage Parties to respect, promote, and consider their respective obligations on Indigenous rights when implementing the Paris Agreement. As part of its unwavering commitment to reconciliation, Canada will continue to promote and recognize the contribution of Indigenous Peoples in building resilient communities and tackling climate change.

Quotes

“We need to recognize the valuable knowledge Indigenous Peoples have in understanding the environment and tackling climate change. Indigenous Peoples have been observing climate for millennia. Their leadership, resiliency, and knowledge will be great assets to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in tackling climate change and protecting our communities.”
– Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change

“This investment is critical to support First Nations voices in advancing climate action internationally. While I am encouraged by the decision on the Indigenous Peoples Platform and by our participation at COP24, we must continue to press for full involvement, particularly as it pertains to the Paris rulebook. As Indigenous Peoples, we will work to ensure all Parties respect, promote, and advance their respective obligations to the rights of Indigenous Peoples climate action.”
– Kluane Adamek, Yukon Regional Chief of the Assembly of First Nations

“The Inuit Circumpolar Council Canada and Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami welcome Canada’s announcement and the recognition of the important role of Indigenous Peoples within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Especially important is participation of arctic Indigenous Peoples who are leading innovative adaptation solutions to respond to the rapid rate of climate warming, which is three times higher than anywhere else in the world.”
– Monica Ell-Kanayuk, President of Inuit Circumpolar Council Canada, and Natan Obed, President of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami

“The Métis Nation would like to thank Canada and, in particular, Minister McKenna for the support of Indigenous Peoples’ contributions to the fight against climate change through the Indigenous Peoples Focal Point. Our families feel the effects of climate change so much sooner with their presence on the land, and the Focal Point will assist us as we fight for the future of our planet.”
– Clément Chartier, President of the Métis National Council

“The realization of the Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples Platform and a dedicated focal point will open the door for Indigenous Peoples and their knowledge in these important discussions under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The Congress of Aboriginal Peoples appreciates the Canadian government’s leadership to get the Platform on its feet and working for Indigenous Peoples.”
– Robert Bertrand, National Chief of the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples

“The Native Women’s Association of Canada congratulates the Government of Canada for taking a leadership role at COP24 to ensure the full implementation of the Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples Platform in a manner that respects Indigenous rights and gender balance.

The operationalization of the Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples Platform is an important milestone in the efforts of Indigenous Peoples to participate in the international effort to combat climate change.

The Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples Platform and its facilitative working group will require support in undertaking the work of facilitating the exchange of Indigenous knowledge, views, and experiences related to climate change.

The Native Women’s Association of Canada welcomes Canada’s commitment to fund an Indigenous Peoples Focal Point at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. This Focal Point can fulfill a much-needed support and technical-assistance role for the Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples Platform and promote awareness of Indigenous knowledge at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.”
– Francyne Joe, President of the Native Women's Association of Canada

Quick facts

  • Indigenous Peoples are resilient climate leaders in Canada, despite many Indigenous communities being among the most vulnerable to climate change.

  • Canada’s investment in the Indigenous Peoples Focal Point at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change will begin in 2019.

  • Canada was a leader in helping to launch the Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples Platform at COP23 to strengthen knowledge, facilitate the sharing of best practices and lessons learned, and enhance the engagement of Indigenous Peoples in the United Nations climate conference process.

  • Budget 2016 and 2017 committed a total of $220.6 million to Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada to create five new programs as part of the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change.

Associated links

Contacts

Caroline Thériault
Acting Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change
613-462-5473
caroline.theriault2@canada.ca

Media Relations
Environment and Climate Change Canada
819-938-3338 or 1-844-836-7799 (toll-free)
ec.media.ec@canada.ca

Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Twitter page

Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Facebook page


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