(Halifax, Unceded Mi’kma’ki Territory, NS) – Today, at the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) Annual General Assembly (AGA) taking place in Halifax, Nova Scotia, First Nations-in-Assembly passed Resolution 31/2023, endorsing the AFN National Climate Strategy and calling for urgent and transformative climate action to address the current climate crisis.
Resolution 31/2023, Urgent and Transformative Climate Action through the AFN National Climate Strategy, reaffirms the declaration of a First Nations Climate Emergency made in Resolution 05/2019 and endorses the AFN National Climate Strategy and its seven key priority areas of action. Additionally, it urges federal, provincial, and territorial governments to work directly and in full partnership with First Nations rights and title holders to implement self-determined First Nations climate priorities, including those outlined in the AFN National Climate Strategy.
“First Nations have been active climate leaders, domestically and internationally, drawing on the science, knowledge, and ways of life shared by Elders, Knowledge Keepers, youth, women, men, 2SLGBTQIAA+ individuals, and leadership to advance First Nations-led solutions that restore balance with the natural world,” said Assembly of First Nations (AFN) Québec/Labrador Regional Chief Ghislain Picard. “Our efforts culminate today with the introduction of the first AFN National Climate Strategy, recognizing that the climate crisis as a state of emergency for our lands, waters, animals, and peoples.”
The AFN National Climate Strategy aims to prioritize First Nations’ rights, self-determination, and knowledge systems within federal, provincial, and territorial climate action; promote First Nations solutions to the climate crisis, grounded in their rights, self-determination, and knowledge systems; and call for urgent and transformative climate action in line with the First Nations-in-Assembly Declaration of a First Nations Climate Emergency.
Additionally, the Strategy introduces the First Nations Climate Lens, the conceptual foundation for the AFN National Climate Strategy. This lens encompasses four concentric spheres of activity to bring into focus the relationships between First Nations’ climate impacts, climate action, and the broader climate landscape. It emphasizes the role of First Nations as climate leaders and active drivers of transformative change.
“Over the last four years, in collaboration with the Advisory Committee on Climate Action and the Environment (‘ACE’), we have had the opportunity to hear from First Nations across the country. The teachings, observations, and experiences that First Nation experts, Knowledge Keepers, leaders, and individuals have shared with us have been instrumental to the design and articulation of this National Climate Strategy. Now, the AFN calls on the federal, provincial, and territorial governments to work directly and in full partnership with First Nations rights and title holders to implement self-determined First Nations climate priorities, as outlined in the AFN National Climate Strategy,” said Regional Chief Ghislain Picard.
Concerns that global greenhouse gases are headed dangerously in the wrong direction, with reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (2023), the United Nations Environmental Program (2022), and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (2022) indicating that meeting the 2°C target of the Paris Agreement is highly unlikely.
In 2016, the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) Elders’ Council released an Elders’ Statement on Environment and Climate Change, acknowledging the climate crisis. In the face of government inaction, a growing number of First Nations have taken matters into their own hands, calling for rapid de-carbonization to meet the target of the Paris Agreement. This landmark statement by the AFN Elders Council laid the foundations for AFN’s climate action, also representing the guiding vision of the AFN National Climate Strategy.
In July 2019, the First Nations-in-Assembly passed Resolution 05/2019: Declaring a First Nations Climate Emergency, directing the AFN to organize National Climate Gatherings and develop a National Climate Strategy. Over the following years, the AFN embarked on this journey to develop the first National Climate Strategy through two National Climate Gatherings, national and regional webinars, and two surveys.
For more details about the AFN National Climate Strategy, please visit www.afn.ca.
The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) is a national advocacy organization that works to advance the collective aspirations of First Nations individuals and communities across Canada on matters of national or international nature and concern.
Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Updates
Assembly of First Nations