First Nations in BC are climate leaders. However, to guarantee continued leadership and long-term climate resiliency within communities, it is essential to focus on capacity building to ensure tools are in place for Nations and community members to respond to the climate crisis effectively.
Climate Capacity Building
a)Conduct a province-wide climate capacity assessment of all First Nations communities in BC to assess:
- Disparities among communities in their capacity to respond to the climate crisis.
- Areas for collaboration between communities and other entities (Crown governments, institutions, organizations) to address challenges.
- Mechanisms to support capacity building in order to address identified disparities.
- The FNLC to work in collaboration with interested First Nations in BC and Crown governments to conduct the climate capacity assessment.
- The FNLC to seek resources for the development of this province-wide climate capacity assessment.
b)Support First Nations in meeting their capacity needs and priorities as identified in the climate capacity assessment.
- Crown governments, organizations, and institutions are encouraged to support First Nations climate capacity building in line with recommendations identified in the climate capacity assessment.
c)Establish a BC First Nations Climate Council to lead implementation of the BC First Nations Climate Strategy and Action Plan.
- The FNLC, in collaboration with First Nations in BC, to prepare a draft discussion paper to outline a scope of work for this body and to present to First Nations leadership for discussion.
Education and Training
a)Support the development of and enhance First Nations participation in community-based and culturally appropriate climate educational initiatives to better understand sources and impacts of climate change and effective responses. Examples include:
- Programs grounded in land-based learning.
- Hosting events with speakers and presenters (climate advocates, storytellers, and/or artists) to share knowledge.
- The development of community climate circles led by Elders and/or Knowledge Holders.
- The development and sharing of climate-related educational materials grounded in community systems and priorities.
- Interested First Nations in BC are encouraged to develop and strengthen participation in these types of initiatives in their own self-determined ways.
- Crown governments to increase funding available for First Nations in BC to implement this action.
- Educational institutions and the FNLC to support interested First Nations at their request to implement this action.
b)Identify mechanisms to enhance skills within First Nations communities relating to the development, management, and delivery of climate-related projects and initiatives. This includes training to draft funding applications, project proposals, and assessing relevant climate data.
- Mechanisms to enhance skills within First Nations communities in this regard shall be identified as part of the climate capacity assessment outlined at Theme 2.1.
- The FNLC to advocate for implementation of the identified mechanisms.
c)Support First Nations in accessing and enrolling in climate-related certification programs. This involves:
- Exploring opportunities to provide subsidies to cover certification costs.
- Exploring collaboration opportunities with institutions and/or organizations that have the services to assist in training, certification, and hiring for roles related to climate mitigation and adaptation.
- Exploring partnerships with other First Nations communities to assist with training and skills development.
Example certification programs: Community Energy Association’s Community Energy Management Certification Program; BC Hydro Community Energy Managers Program.
- Crown governments, educational institutions, and like-minded organizations to support implementation of this action and strengthening First Nations ability to access these types of programs.
- The FNLC to advocate to educational institutions and Crown governments to increase investments to ensure First Nations access to climate-related certification programs and training.
d)Assess existing standard certification programs and courses in the climate context to incorporate Indigenous Knowledge as part of course curriculum and content.
- Educational institutions must work in partnership with interested First Nations in BC to strengthen inclusion of Indigenous Knowledge in climate-related curriculum.
e)Develop a BC First Nations Climate Change Competency Toolkit that contains knowledge, roles, skills, and training required when working for First Nations governments or organizations on the topic of climate change. This toolkit can set a foundation for climate capacity building and the implementation of community-specific priorities for climate change.
- Precedent example: Adaptation Learning Network’s Climate Adaptation Competency Framework.
The FNLC to work in collaboration with First Nations in BC to seek resources for and to develop this resource.
a)Create a BC First Nations Climate Fund, with an initial 5-year investment reflective of the following:
- An agreed-to portion of funds collected through the BC carbon tax (Estimated $100,000,000M annually for capital investment into First Nations clean energy initiatives).
- An agreed-to portion of funds collected through other government environmental taxes, levies, and/or fees.
- The FNLC to prepare a draft proposal to create this climate fund for consideration by First Nations through resolution at FNLC organization assemblies.
- The FNLC to advocate for the creation of this fund on the terms identified.
- This fund can be co-managed between First Nations governments in BC and the provincial and federal governments. Example: The Green Municipal Fund.
b)Create and/or improve a resource webpage for First Nations to access provincial and federal climate-related funding information, including opportunities across governments and agencies.
- The FNLC to advocate to Crown governments to assess existing webpages to respond to First Nations’ needs and develop recommendations for improvement.
c)Review and reform current provincial and federal funding frameworks to:
- Identify limitations on First Nations accessibility to funding, both on and off reserve. This includes widening eligibility requirements for funding support and services. For example, there is an opportunity to widen BC’s Climate Action Revenue Incentive Program to recognize and include First Nations governments as eligible governments.
- Allow greater flexibility for spending based on community-specific needs.
- Meaningfully consider community and local knowledge as part of application materials.
- Assign responsibility to Crown governments to effectively and continuously communicate relevant funding information to First Nations communities, such as application deadlines, requirements, and process timelines.
- Crown governments, in collaboration with interested First Nations in BC and First Nations organizations, to conduct an assessment of their funding frameworks in line with this action.
- The FNLC to advocate for thorough implementation of this action.
d)Provide technical assistance to First Nations with their climate-related funding applications to increase accessibility to financial support and services.
- Crown governments to establish a First Nations Funding Coach position to ensure governments provide direct assistance to First Nations with their climate-related funding applications. This involves an expansion of Clean BC’s Community Energy Coach program.
e)Fund the creation of climate change positions in interested First Nations communities such as Climate Action Coordinators to coordinate community-based mitigation and adaptation actions and to engage with government and other actors in climate response.
- Example: The Coastal First Nations Great Bear Initiative Climate Action Peer Network is composed of Climate Action Coordinators within each of the member Nations of the initiative.
- The FNLC to collaborate with interested First Nations in BC to seek resources for and develop a proposal that explores the creation of climate change positions in First Nations communities. The FNLC to share and present this proposal to Crown governments.
- Crown governments to commit to fund and support the establishment of climate-related positions within interested First Nations communities.
a)Identify challenges experienced by First Nations in BC in accessing climate data and information. This includes assessing connectivity and IT resources currently in place.
- These types of challenges shall be identified as part of the climate capacity assessment outlined at Theme 2.1.
b)Support First Nations in:
- Developing and implementing climate data governance frameworks, including protocols to generate, collect, store, and use climate data.
- Generating and using climate data to establish baselines for climate monitoring programs and indicators to assess the effectiveness of climate responses. For example, the Kanaka Bar Indian Band’s weather and water stations are controlled by the community to generate their own data.
- Like-minded organizations, such as the First Nations Data Governance Initiative and the First Nations Information Governance Centre, to provide support to interested First Nations in BC under this action.
- Crown governments to facilitate First Nations access to funding support to implement this action.
c)Develop and implement comprehensive data and information sharing protocols following the First Nations Principles of Ownership, Control, Access, and Possession (OCAP).
- Interested First Nations in BC, with support from First Nations organizations, to develop this resource.
d)Create opportunities for climate discussions and information sharing (climate data, resources, templates) within and between First Nations communities through the development on an online climate network and discussion forum.
- Example: Indigenous Climate Hub.
- The FNLC and First Nations organizations to prepare a proposal to advocate for the creation of this online resource and to present to First Nations leadership.
Commitment to Youth
a)Increase representation of First Nations youth in state-led climate discussions and response initiatives, including the development of programs, projects, and policies.
- The FNLC to advocate to the province on this issue.
- Crown governments are responsible for ensuring meaningful engagement with First Nations youth and to explore current committees and councils in the climate context where representation may be strengthened.
b)Establish training opportunities for youth to empower, develop, and implement climate advocacy actions.
- Crown governments, like-minded organizations, and educational institutions to support the implementation of this action.
c)Create internal and external mentorship programs between youth and Indigenous climate leaders, Elders and/or Knowledge Holders, land and water protectors, academics, and others.
- Interested First Nations in BC work with academics and like-minded organizations to establish these programs and/or similar initiatives in their own self-determined ways.
- Crown governments to increase funding support to implement this action.
d)Create youth-led climate initiatives and collaboration opportunities with other First Nations and Indigenous groups broadly to support a global youth climate movement.
- Crown governments and organizations to financially fund and support interested First Nations youth in their advocacy while also facilitating similar opportunities.
e)Assess and reduce systemic barriers that First Nations youth, including 2SLGBQQIA+ youth, face in participating in climate discussions and response.
- Interested First Nations in BC, with support from Crown governments and like-minded organizations to work to conduct this assessment and provide recommendations.
f)Support the development of First Nation-led climate related programs specifically for First Nations youth both on and off reserve.
- Example: Kaska Dena Environmental Youth Camp.
- Crown governments to support the development of these types of initiatives.
g)Ensure long-term and stable financial support for youth climate education (access to education and education resources) and to be prepared for green jobs in order to participate in a green economy.
- Crown governments must work with educational institutions to strengthen funding for First Nations youth in this regard.