(Ottawa, Unceded Algonquin Territory, Ontario) – Today, the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) announced the formal launch of its National Climate Strategy at Parliament Hill. Endorsed through Resolution 36/2023, Urgent and Transformative Climate Action through the AFN National Climate Strategy, at the AFN Annual General Assembly in July 2023, the strategy comes as a collective effort of First Nations experts, leaders, youth, men, women, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ individuals, Knowledge Keepers, professionals, and allies from coast-to-coast-to-coast over the past four years Interim AFN National Chief Joanna Bernard and AFN Quebec-Labrador Regional Chief Ghislain Picard presented the AFN National Climate Strategy, following an opening by Nokomis Roberta Oshkabewisens.
“This past summer has been the worst fire season in Canada on record. Over 15 million hectares have burned, affecting First Nations from coast to coast to coast. Projections indicate that Canada’s temperature is expected to warm at double the global average rate and triple in the North. The time for action is now,” said Interim AFN National Chief Joanna Bernard. “We urge the federal, provincial, and territorial governments to fully and directly partner with First Nations rights and title holders in executing the self-determined climate priorities highlighted in our strategy.”
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. The Strategy introduces the First Nations Climate Lens, which encompasses four concentric spheres of activity to bring into focus the relationships between Natural Law, First Nations’ climate impacts, climate action, and the broader climate landscape. The First Nations Climate Lens emphasizes the role of First Nations as climate leaders and active drivers of transformative change.
“Our efforts culminate today with the introduction of the first AFN National Climate Strategy, recognizing the climate crisis as a state of emergency for our lands, waters, animals, and communities. The Climate Strategy is only the start of a conversation that prioritizes First Nations solutions to the climate crisis, grounded in our rights, self-determination, and knowledge systems,” said AFN Québec/Labrador Regional Chief Ghislain Picard. “Now, it is time for implementation. We call upon our government, business, and academic partners to work alongside First Nations as we implement climate strategies in our Lands, Waters, and territories.”
The 2016 Elders’ Statement on Environment and Climate Change by the AFN Knowledge Keepers Council acknowledged the climate crisis and has been foundational in guiding the vision of the AFN National Climate Strategy. In July 2019, First Nations-in-Assembly declared a First Nations Climate Emergency, leading to the development of the National Climate Strategy through national and regional webinars, and surveys.
The AFN will hold a technical briefing webinar on Wednesday, October 25, 2023, to explore the AFN National Climate Strategy and its seven priority areas in detail. For more details about the AFN National Climate Strategy and to register for the technical briefing webinar, 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.
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