AFN unveils national climate strategy in Ottawa

The interim head of the Assembly of First Nations says it is time to listen to Indigenous voices when it comes to fighting the current climate crisis.

“This means that more extreme weather including fires, floods, tornados, hurricanes, species migration, coastal sea level rise, among other challenges,” AFN Interim National Chief Joanna Bernard said at a news conference in Ottawa. “In the face of this reality and observations from knowledge keepers, First Nations have taken matters into their own hands.”

The AFN formally released its national climate strategy in Ottawa on Wednesday.

The 56-page document includes seven priority areas that urge government and industry to look at exploring climate change solutions through a “First Nations lens.”

The AFN declared a First Nations climate emergency in 2019 which led to a series of regional webinars and surveys resulting in the strategy.

AFN Quebec-Labrador Regional Chief Ghislain Picard said First Nations have often been left out when it comes to national climate change discussions but it is time to change that.

“Because of our close connection to the lands and waters, I think First Nations are in a unique position to bring guided solutions in terms of the climate challenge,” he said. “We understand the challenge is for all of us.”

The climate strategy was passed by delegates from across the country at the AFN summer assembly in Halifax this July.

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