Indigenous-led Natural Climate Solutions
In the Fall Economic Statement in December 2020, the Government of Canada announced the Natural Climate Solutions Fund (NCSF) horizontal initiative to support nature-based solutions that reduce the effects of and adapt to climate change, all while supporting biodiversity and human well-being. NCSF includes three separate, but related, programs: Natural Resources Canada’s (NRCan) 2 Billion Trees program, Environment and Climate Change Canada’s (ECCC) Nature Smart Climate Solutions Fund (NSCSF), and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s (AAFC) Agricultural Climate Solutions Program.
The Nature-Smart Climate Solutions Fund (NSCSF) is a $631 million, ten-year fund meant to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2-4 megatons annually through conservation, restoration and enhanced land management of wetlands, peatlands, and grasslands to store and capture carbon. Within this fund, up to $36.9 million has been set aside for Indigenous-led Natural Climate Solutions, to provide targeted support to Indigenous Nations, communities and organizations to engage as leaders in natural climate solutions. This funding further supports the Government of Canada’s commitment to Reconciliation.
Through the Indigenous-led Natural Climate Solutions stream, funding supports First Nations, Inuit and Métis Nations, communities and organizations to build capacity and to undertake on-the-ground activities for ecological restoration, improved land management, and conservation. These activities aim to effectively sequester carbon and maximize co-benefits for biodiversity, climate resiliency, and human well-being.
The Indigenous Guardians Secretariat is delivering funding for the Indigenous-led Natural Climate Solutions stream collaboratively with First Nations, Inuit and Métis using the existing distinctions-based governance structures in place for Indigenous Guardians.
The Secretariat invites you to consult this webpage regularly for more updates.
Governance structures for First Nations, Inuit and Métis
The Indigenous-led Natural Climate Solutions stream is being implemented jointly with First Nations, Inuit, and Métis using a distinctions-based approach that respects and recognizes the unique perspectives, rights, responsibilities and needs of Indigenous peoples.
Indigenous Nations, communities, governments, and representative organizations are eligible for funding under the Indigenous-led Natural Climate Solutions stream.
Activities eligible for the Indigenous-led Natural Climate Solutions funding include, but are not limited to:
- Securing degraded ecosystems and subsequently undertaking restoration and/or stewardship activities to support both carbon sequestration and storage in those ecosystems
- Securement can occur through fee simple purchases, leases, conservation easements, covenants, or servitudes, as well as the acquisition of development rights, such as mineral, timber and exploration rights or other types of agreements
- Habitat restoration (inland, coastal, and peatlands) and management activities designed to capture carbon in plant life and soils and bring co-benefits to support traditional cultural practices (e.g. the harvest of traditional medicinal plants or foods)
- Training in ecosystem restoration techniques designed to maximize both carbon sequestration and co-benefits
Enhanced ecosystem management
- Ecosystem management for maintenance and improvement of ecosystem services, in order to increase GHG storage capacity and provide other ecological goods and services
- Actively optimizing ecosystems, such as modifying management practices and restoring disturbed ecosystems, to increase their GHG storage capacity
- Avoiding the degradation of high GHG emissions capacity ecosystems or their loss and conversion to other land uses, for example draining wetlands and removing forests to make way for urban or industrial development
Planning and capacity building
- Planning activities to support initiative design and implementation
- Activities to develop the capacity of recipients with regard to technical aspects of natural climate solutions approaches
- Surveys, inventories and monitoring of target ecosystems in order to promote enhanced management, restoration, and conservation that can reduce GHG emissions
- Gathering and transfer of Indigenous Traditional Knowledge
- Policy, program or tool development, modernization or realignment including standards or guidelines for effective program design, training or guidance for program participants, research, policy development, estimation of carbon mitigation potential of a project, best management land-use practices, conservation planning, outreach and education, etc. pertaining to natural climate solutions
All recipients of Indigenous-led Natural Climate Solutions funding for on-the-ground activities (restoration, improved land management, conservation) will be expected to dedicate resources to gathering information (including field data) to support reporting on GHG emissions from the project.
Although the main goal of the funding is to reduce Canada’s net GHG emissions, applicants through the Indigenous-led Natural Climate Solutions stream should also demonstrate evidence-based expected benefits for nature and human well-being, grounded in the unique needs and priorities identified by Indigenous partners. These may include expected outcomes such as increased community resilience and adaptation to climate change, improvements in food security, support for species at risk and/or species of cultural importance, increased capacity and economic opportunities, and the intergenerational transfer of knowledge.
The 2023–2024 application process for First Nations Indigenous-led Natural Climate Solutions initiatives has now closed.
For the 2023–2024 application process,
- The First Nations call for Indigenous-led Natural Climate Solutions funding opened on October 19, 2022 and closed on December 7, 2022.
- Funding was available for up to two fiscal years (2023–2025), to be spent by March 31, 2025 at the latest.
- Receiving two years of funding was not a guarantee for successful applicants. The application package stated that in some cases, applications requesting two years of funding may only be selected for a single year of funding.
- There was no maximum eligible funding amount that could be applied for.
Details about future application processes are in development with Indigenous partners using a distinctions-based approach with First Nations, Inuit and Métis. We invite you to consult this webpage regularly for more updates.
For more information
For more information, please contact the Indigenous Guardians Secretariat by email at
- Government of Canada announces $340 million to support Indigenous-led conservation
- Government of Canada announces $200M to address climate change by restoring carbon-rich ecosystems through nature-based solutions
- Canada invests $9 million for nature conservation across southern Ontario
- Canada invests $25 million to protect wetlands and grasslands in the Prairies
- Government of Canada supports Indigenous leadership in conservation
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