Government of Canada and Assembly of First Nations chart a joint path for new and updated priorities on climate action
June 19, 2023 – Gatineau, Quebec
Supporting Indigenous climate leadership and co-developing solutions to address climate change in First Nations’ communities is central to advancing reconciliation and self-determination. Today, the Assembly of First Nations and the Government of Canada released the fifth Annual Report of the Joint Committee on Climate Action. The Joint Committee on Climate Action’s efforts are rooted in partnership and the meaningful recognition of First Nations’ governance, rights, and leadership.
The Report documents the positive steps that First Nations and the federal government took last year to achieve a stronger climate partnership.
In addition to measures to meaningfully improve its internal activities, the Joint Committee on Climate Action accelerated First Nations’ full and effective participation in clean growth and climate change programs, including the National Adaptation Strategy. The Joint Committee on Climate Action also advanced the development of a First Nations Climate Leadership Agenda through comprehensive dialogue with First Nations’ leaders from across the country. The Joint Committee on Climate Action monitored and evaluated the progress of priorities to ensure the continued full and effective participation of First Nations in climate change programs and policy decisions.
The Joint Committee on Climate Action commits to holding discussions and making progress on five priorities in 2023:
- Reviewing federal clean growth and climate change policy and programs through the First Nations Climate Lens.
- Empowering First Nations’ leadership in climate action.
- Fostering greater transparency, accountability, and communication in Joint Committee on Climate Action activities.
- Continuing to develop First Nations-specific indicators/criteria to report on the implementation of climate-related federal funding programs and outcomes for First Nations.
- Deepening the intergenerational and intersectional dialogue on climate change in all activities.
The Joint Committee on Climate Action acknowledges the need to include Indigenous knowledge systems, uphold the minimum standards of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (including the right to free, prior, and informed consent), and include the voices of youth, women, Elders, and participants from every region.
“Canada and the world face a triple crisis of climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution. Dealing with these interlocking issues requires deep collaboration, and Indigenous partnerships are crucial. Today’s release of the 2022 Annual Report from the First Nations–Canada Joint Committee on Climate Action is an important reminder of the collaborative efforts and recent progress made by the Government of Canada and First Nations. The Report shows how we are accelerating the full and effective participation of First Nations in conservation, clean growth, and climate change programs. We are honoured to advance climate and nature conservation policy through this partnership, and I look forward to what we will achieve together for our shared future in a rapidly changing climate.”
– The Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change
“The release of the fifth Annual Report of the First Nations–Canada Joint Committee on Climate Action highlights that by working collaboratively, with the inclusion and full participation of First Nations’ governance, laws, and priorities in all discussions, we can develop innovative, long-term solutions to mitigate and adapt to climate change, and to restore and protect ecosystems that are inclusive of First Nations’ knowledge systems. First Nations have become global leaders in climate action. I look forward to building on this momentum and advancing priorities as identified in the Report, and through the recognition of First Nations’ inherent and treaty rights, title, and jurisdiction.”
– Paul (PJ) Prosper, Regional Chief for Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, Assembly of First Nations
The Joint Committee on Climate Action follows on from the Assembly of First Nations Resolution No. 22/2017. It was established in 2016, following a commitment 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 Joint Committee on Climate Action 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 Joint Committee on Climate Action’s mandate does not replace or alleviate the Crown of its duty to consult First Nations’ rights holders at the local, regional, and national levels on climate change issues.
Its work includes identifying barriers to First Nations’ participation in decision-making and access to climate change programs, as well as identifying ways to advance First Nations’ self-determination in climate action.
The Joint Committee on Climate Action is made up of First Nations' representatives from all regions of 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.
Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change
Environment and Climate Change Canada
819-938-3338 or 1-844-836-7799 (toll-free)
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