A chance meeting at the Paris Climate Agreement in December 2015 with Shawn Burns, led to visiting Vancouver where I signed the Indigenous to Indigenous Climate Cooperation Agreement with the First Nations Energy and Mining Council (FNEMC) in British Columbia June 2017.
It was great to meet with Dave Porter Chair of the FNEMC as well as the members of the civil society. The BC provincial elections had just been held and there was a hung Parliament. The centre-left New Democratic Party (NDP) has since taken office with support of the BC Greens.
The First Nations are seeking to establish their own Indigenous Climate Fund modelled on the work of AbCF in Australia. This is a somewhat unforeseen and a positive step forward for Indigenous peoples, investment in Indigenous lands and addressing climate change. The AbCF model can be replicated, with minor changes, to serve the needs of local Indigenous people internationally.
It feels like the idea is coming of age. The concept of directly investing in the management of Aboriginal lands and people whilst tackling climate change is now possible. Non-Indigenous people, corporations and government agencies can make a positive contribution through buying Aboriginal carbon credits in Australia and hopefully soon in Canada.
Once the social, cultural, environmental and economic core benefits are verified through an Indigenous-to-Indigenous strategy, then the outcomes of the investment can be clearly identified.
The Indigenous-to-Indigenous strategy is a community development strategy supported by a raft of well-established principles and tools. The tools are handed over to Aboriginal rangers to implement with the whitefellas staying in Canberra or Ottawa as the case may be. The next step may be either South America and/or North America depending on how Indigenous people want to be involved.
Sometimes chance meetings are a form of karma or synchronicity at play.