In collaboration with Coastal First Nations Great Bear Initiative and First Nations Emergency Services Society, the Province is launching the Indigenous Climate Resilience Capacity-building Pilot. The Pilot will identify models for enhancing Indigenous capacity in climate adaptation and resilience and demonstrate the value of this increased capacity of Indigenous communities and organizations to inform potential future investment. It will support First Nations to pursue their climate adaptation planning and implementation priorities and protect First Nations’ title and rights and their holistic health and well-being from the impacts of climate change.
The First Nations Leadership Council, with financial assistance from the Province, will support a Climate Capacity and Needs Assessment for First Nations. This initiative will identify climate capacity best practices, needs, gaps and challenges within First Nations communities to support and strengthen the capacity within and will be available to First Nations to prepare for and respond to climate change. This assessment will also identify barriers to the implementation of self-determined climate change actions and First Nations participation in provincial climate change making decisions and help to develop solutions to those barriers.
The Climate Action Secretariat (CAS) worked with the First Nations Leadership Council – BC Technical Working Group on Climate Change and the Indigenous Climate Adaptation Working Group to collaboratively develop draft indicators for Action 2.12. Measures to evaluate success include the following:
- Appropriate mechanisms or governance structures in place to support collaborative implementation of CleanBC and the Climate Preparedness and Adaptation Strategy. The expected outcome is a formal structure for Indigenous advisory/working groups to engage in dialogue, provide strategic advice and ensure Indigenous perspectives, knowledge and experience of First Nation rights and title holders are included in development and implementation of climate initiatives
- Collaborative prioritization and work planning with Indigenous advisory/working groups, with the outcome of meaningful engagement and collaboration with advisory/working groups on areas of shared priorities pertaining to CleanBC, the Climate Preparedness and Adaptation Strategy and the First Nations Climate Strategy and Action Plan, and
- Indigenous partners, First Nations title and rights holders and treaty rights holders meaningfully engaged, with the outcome of broad engagement with Indigenous Peoples on climate initiatives in addition to collaboration with advisory/working groups.
- Strategic engagement underway: Monthly meetings between CAS and two Indigenous advisory groups including the First Nations Leadership Council – BC Technical Working Group on Climate Change and the Indigenous Climate Adaptation Working Group (ICAWG), provide a venue to share information on emerging climate policy and legislative initiatives and advice to CAS staff on consultation and engagement.
- Implementation project underway: ICAWG and CAS worked collaboratively to design and seek project delivery partners for the Indigenous Climate Resilience Capacity-building Pilot Project, which is a project that will continue in 2023/24 to explore ways to support Indigenous climate resilience capacity and skill-building needs.
- Number of engagement participants in programs and events: 95 participants attended the Fall 2022 CleanBC Roadmap to 2030 Indigenous engagement sessions (virtual and in-person); 235 people (representing 113 First Nations and Indigenous organizations) attended the three-day virtual Indigenous Climate Resilience Forum.
How are we working together?
Monthly meetings are held between the Climate Action Secretariat and two Indigenous advisory groups: 1) First Nations Leadership Council – BC Technical Working Group on Climate Change and 2) Indigenous Climate Adaptation Working Group. These working groups were established to provide a technical venue to engage in dialogue, provide strategic advice related to climate change initiatives and ensure that First Nations and Indigenous perspectives and interests are included in development and implementation of CleanBC and the Climate Preparedness and Adaptation Strategy.
Broad Indigenous engagement forums were held on CleanBC Roadmap implementation and attended by 95 First Nations and Indigenous organizations. A virtual Indigenous Climate Resilience Forum was held over three days and attended by 235 people representing 113 First Nations and Indigenous organizations. In addition, individual engagements/consultations were carried out on specific initiatives such as clean energy opportunities, Remote Community Energy Strategy, Forest Carbon Offset Protocol, energy efficiency standards, clean transportation and carbon pricing.
Are there challenges?
There is a clear expectation that new initiatives and legislation align with the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act (Declaration Act), regardless of when work may have started on them. Recent guidance is helping to ensure this analysis is completed in a consistent and thorough way.
Concerns have been raised regarding the capacity of Indigenous Peoples to meaningfully engage in co-development of policies and legislation associated with B.C.’s climate plans. These issues and approaches to address free, prior and informed consent, will continue to be discussed with the First Nations Leadership Council – BC Technical Working Group on Climate Change in the coming year.