NATIONAL CHIEF Bulletin - December 2016 - Meeting of First Ministers and Indigenous Leaders on Climate Change

Meeting of First Ministers and Indigenous Leaders on Climate Change – December 9, 2016 

On December 9, Northwest Territories Regional Chief Bill Erasmus, Ontario Regional Chief Isadore Day, Manitoba Regional Chief Kevin Hart and myself led an AFN delegation at the First Ministers Meeting on Climate Change.  The First Ministers Meeting produced a Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change, with two jurisdictions expressing concern about various elements of the Framework. 

In addition to our AFN delegation, First Nations leadership were represented on several provincial and territorial delegations.  Elder Elmer Courchene opened the meeting and read the AFN Elders’ Statement on Climate Change

Our advocacy built on the hard work and dedication of our AFN Executive, AFN Advisory Committee on Climate Action and Environment (ACCAE) and direction from First Nations over the past several months as the Pan-Canadian Framework was negotiated. 

At this meeting, we secured additional language in the Pan-Canadian Framework ensuring that the federal, provincial and territorial governments respect and safeguard the rights of Indigenous peoples. In addition, consistent with Resolution 97/2016, First Nations Full and Meaningful Inclusion in Climate Action, we have secured a federal commitment to work with the AFN on the development of a First Nations-specific climate change plan to ensure follow up actions on the Pan-Canadian Framework are First Nations-driven.  This will be achieved through the establishment of a jointly-developed and appointed senior level table.  I am attaching the official Statement by the Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, and the National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, Perry Bellegarde that was issued upon the close of the meeting.  Information we presented at the meeting is available on the AFN website (

Our task now is ensuring that First Nations are fully and effectively engaged on climate action, and to ensure that future climate action, nationally, provincially and territorially, respects and implements the rights of First Nations.


National Chief Perry Bellegarde

Assembly of First Nations