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First Nations Climate Initiative members from northern B.C. heading to UN’s COP27 conference in Eygpt

The group will present the climate action plan they chalked out highlighting Indigenous-led solutions
Darlene Hunter, chief of Halfway River First Nation (left) with Crystal Smith, chief councillor of Haisla Nation are among some of the founding members of the First Nations Climate Initiative. (Supplied photo)

Representatives from the First Nations Climate Initiave (FNCI) will be heading to Eygpt in November to attend the United Nation’s climate conference, COP27

Four FNCI members consisting of northern B.C. First Nation leaders from Haisla, Nisga’a and Halfway River among others, will be joining Canada’s official delegation and will be presenting the climate action plan they chalked out.

The FNCI delegation to COP27, consists of Darlene Hunter elected Chief of Halfway River First Nation; David Myers, technical representative, Halfway River First Nation; Candice Wilson, environmental manager, Haisla Nation; and Alex Grzybowski, Pacific resolutions facilitator at FNCI.

They aim to highlight that solutions focused on restoring the balance of nature for future generations are critical to overcoming the complex challenges facing First Nations, Indigenous Peoples and society at large. The group will also look at raising awareness of how First Nations-led climate action solutions and equity are needed for a just transition to net-zero.

FNCI’s climate action plan, which highlights investment in nature-based solutions to address climate change impacts and ecosystem restoration, outlines seven recommendations to achieve a low carbon economy in B.C.

READ MORE: Northwest First Nations propose climate action plan, call on federal and provincial governments to invest

The FNCI’s suggested actions include expanding the carbon markets and investing in expanding the 500 KV northwest energy transmission grid to provide more renewable energy. They are also asking for increased tax incentives and direct government investment for demonstration projects to support the development and growth of new low-carbon and negative-emission energy systems.

Fast-tracking Indigenous-led climate solution projects as well as expediting programs that enable First Nations to invest in and become major equity partners in de-carbonized projects are among some of the other recommended actions.

FNCI, which was formed in 2019, recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Oct. 17. formally recognizing the upstream/downstream ecological impact of one Nation’s economic development activities on another Nation’s territories and way of life. The group of member Nations formally committed to working together to find solutions to these impacts.

The group said they are exploring nature-based solutions on Halfway River territory to recover the capacity of ecosystems to support traditional values, while protecting and expanding carbon sinks.

“For decades, Halfway River First Nation said it has felt first-hand the devastating impacts of oil and gas projects that have been developed to meet the broader needs of society,” the group said in a statement.

To address these concerns, the FNCI Nations are creating pathways for environmental and economic reconciliation to remedy the brunt of heavy industry on their lands without receiving any of its benefits, they said.

About the Author: Binny Paul

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