Advice to Council 07-02 — Engaging Indigenous Communities in the Work of the CEC

DISTRIBUTION: General
J/07-02/ADV/Final
ORIGINAL: English

Engaging Indigenous Communities in the Work of the CEC

The Joint Public Advisory Committee (JPAC) of the Commission for Environmental
Cooperation (CEC) of North America;

IN ACCORDANCE with Article 16(4) of the North American Agreement on
Environmental Cooperation (NAAEC), which states that JPAC “may provide advice to
Council on any matter within the scope of this agreement […] and on the implementation
and further elaboration of this agreement, and may perform such other functions as the
Council may direct”;

RECOGNIZING THAT

  1. North American indigenous communities comprise peoples whose ancestors
    inhabited North America before the arrival of colonists.
  2. Their loss of land and control over living conditions, displacement of political
    institutions, restricted economic opportunity, weakening of social institutions,
    suppression of beliefs and spirituality, and breakdown of cultural rules, language
    and values have resulted in individual and collective loss of identity of many
    North American indigenous communities.1
  3. Poverty, limited education, cultural barriers, discrimination, jurisdictional
    problems, and power imbalances with historic precedents are the basis of many of
    the health and social problems facing indigenous peoples at the start of the
    twenty-first century.2
  4. The indigenous peoples of North America have a special relationship with the
    earth and all living things in it. This relationship is based on the recognition of
    human interdependence with the natural world and values associated with that
    interdependence. Resources were used with the understanding that one takes only
    what is needed so that future generations will not be put in peril.3
  5. Environmental degradation affects the health and well-being of indigenous
    communities by: i) having negative consequences on human health (pollutants and contaminants); ii) reducing the supply and purity of traditional foods and herbal medicines via contamination and disruption of wildlife habitat; and iii) eroding the ways of life of communities that are dependent on the purity of the land, water, flora and fauna to support the indigenous communities’ cultures, languages and spiritual health.
  6. Indigenous communities have much information, ideas, innovations and best
    practices that can be shared amongst themselves and the world, to inspire and
    identify solutions to our environmental problems.

HAVING conducted a workshop in Winnipeg, Canada, on Engaging Indigenous
Communities in the Work of the CEC on Tuesday, 25 September 2007, and Wednesday,
26 September 2007, which featured sessions with expert speakers from indigenous
communities, government agencies, nongovernmental organizations and institutions from
Canada, the United States and Mexico and having participated in the CEC’s Trade and
Environment sponsored forum, entitled “The North American Indigenous Communities
Renewable Energy Forum,” on Monday, 24 September 2007;

 

PROVIDES the following recommendations for consideration by Council:

In terms of the short-, medium- and long-term actions within the three program priorities,
the CEC should:

Trade and environment

Short-term:

Medium-term:

Long-term:

Capacity building

Short-term:

Medium-term:

Long-term:

Information for Decision-making

Short-term:

Medium-term:

Long-term: