The Province is helping First Nations communities strengthen their resilience to the adverse effects of climate change through the launch of an Indigenous climate-resilience capacity-building pilot program.
The Province’s BC Climate Preparedness and Adaptation Strategy has provided $2 million to fund a one-year pilot program that will be delivered by two First Nations organizations with experience delivering environmental programs: the Coastal First Nations-Great Bear Initiative (CFN-GBI) and First Nations Emergency Services Society.
“Building Indigenous staff capacity allows communities across B.C. to take action on critical climate initiatives,” said George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. “This pilot will build on the experience of First Nations in raising awareness of climate adaptation, promote knowledge transfer, deliver training and develop an Indigenous peer mentorship network that will help ensure climate-resilience and adaptation action measures are implemented. It is a concrete action to support our commitment to work as partners on climate action with First Nations and to mutually benefit from our respective knowledge systems.”
Many First Nations communities and organizations lack the capacity to manage climate risks and pursue adaptation-planning projects and funding. The Province has worked with Indigenous advisory groups to develop this pilot project to provide community supports, such as mentorship, knowledge products, adaptation training and a learning network to advance Indigenous climate resilience. This new pilot program builds on those supports to enhance the capacity of Indigenous communities throughout the province.
“Drawing into the deep knowledge from these Indigenous-led organizations is of great benefit to all those who live in the North Coast as they know better than anyone how to adapt to and mitigate the impacts of climate change,” said Murray Rankin, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation. “It’s imperative that B.C. supports, acknowledges and promotes these voices through strategies and programs like these.”
The scope of the pilot program consists of three streams, focused on:
- climate-resilience staffing;
- training and education delivery; and
- peer-to-peer network building.
The first stream, or braid, will provide resources for regional climate-resilience co-ordinators who will be in place to support Indigenous communities throughout B.C. The second braid will provide these new co-ordinators with training and skills that can be passed along to community members to support Indigenous communities to understand and prepare for climate change.
The third braid of the program will create a peer network and mentorship program for the regional co-ordinators to develop their capacity and share information that will help them better serve Indigenous communities. This peer-network capacity development program is based on the success of the current Coastal First Nations- Great Bear Initiative (CFN-GBI) Indigenous Climate Action Network.
“First Nations on the North Pacific Coast have experienced first-hand the destructive impacts of the climate crisis and we remain fully committed to solutions,” said Christine Smith-Martin, CEO, Coastal First Nations. “This pilot program will help us continue to lead the fight against climate change, supporting Indigenous climate action in our communities and others across the province to ensure a resilient, adaptable and sustainable future for all British Columbians.”
The Province has committed to collaborating with Indigenous Peoples on implementing the CleanBC plan, consistent with the commitment to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action. B.C.’s Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act Action Plan reinforces partnering with Indigenous Peoples to collaboratively develop and implement the Climate Preparedness and Adaptation Strategy as part of CleanBC.
- B.C. released the Climate Preparedness and Adaptation Strategy in 2022 and committed a multi-year investment of more than $500 million to guard against the potential of higher costs from climate damages in the future.
- Coastal First Nations is a unique coast-wide alliance of nine Nations on British Columbia’s North and Central Coast, and Haida Gwaii, created in 2003.
- Each Nation has its own distinct culture, governance and territory.
- First Nations’ Emergency Services Society of British Columbia (FNESS) is a charitable non-profit organization incorporated under B.C.’s Societies Act.
- FNESS is the organization that communities reach out to for support and delivery of essential emergency and forest fuel management programs and services.
To learn how B.C. is rising to the challenge of climate change, visit:
To learn about B.C. Climate Preparedness and Adaptation Strategy’s overall directions and actions, visit:
To learn how FNESS helps First Nations in developing and sustaining safer and healthier communities, visit: https://www.fness.bc.ca
To learn how Coastal First Nations-Great Bear Initiative creates jobs for the future and protects the Great Bear Rainforest, visit: https://coastalfirstnations.ca/