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North American Partnership for Environmental Community Action

What is NAPECA?

The CEC established NAPECA to promote shared responsibility and stewardship for the environment by engaging and partnering with tribal nations, Indigenous Peoples and communities, including Indigenous governments, councils and organizations, local communities, academia and registered nongovernmental organizations in Canada, Mexico and the United States.

Since 2010, NAPECA has been instrumental in fostering collaborative efforts to address pressing environmental challenges while promoting sustainable development and fostering cross-border cooperation. Through NAPECA, the CEC encourages model environmental initiatives that will help build long-term partnerships to improve environmental conditions at the community level and support local priorities.


  • Proposals due » NEW DEADLINE 24 January 2024 5:00 PM EST
  • Evaluation of grant applications » January to April 2024
  • Official grants announcement » May 2024
  • Project implementation begins » June 2024
  • Projects maximum end dates » June 2026

Empowering Indigenous Peoples and Enhancing Climate Adaptation by Incorporating Indigenous Knowledge

Given their thousands of years of experience conserving and managing the environment, Indigenous Peoples and communities have invaluable knowledge systems and practices that contribute to the sustainable management and preservation of resources and can help with meeting environmental challenges, including the climate change crisis.

This NAPECA grant cycle aims to support climate adaptation in North America by engaging and empowering communities, particularly Indigenous and local communities, in applying Indigenous Knowledge to strengthen community-based resilience to climate change. The CEC is calling for proposals from organizations to support environmental initiatives that will help North American communities enhance climate adaptation by working with Indigenous Peoples and local communities to recognize, apply, and protect traditional and Indigenous knowledge systems.


Community Response to the NAPECA Grant Program

The sixth cycle of the NAPECA grant program concluded with the selection of 10 grant recipients representing a range of communities in Canada, Mexico, and the United States. The 2022 cycle supported environmental initiatives that help North American communities implement solutions and strengthen their capacities to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Learn more about previous NAPECA grant recipients and their projects.

Map showing all NAPECA projects from 2011

General concepts

Because Indigenous Peoples live in different environments and contexts specific to their countries, regions and histories, three definitions of Indigenous Knowledge that reflect diverse North American perspectives are proposed.

Definition by the Government of Canada1:

There is no single definition of Indigenous Knowledge. For our purposes, we understand “Indigenous Knowledge” as a term that refers to a set of complex knowledge systems based on the worldviews of Indigenous Peoples. Indigenous Knowledge reflects the unique cultures, languages, values, histories, governance and legal systems of Indigenous Peoples. It is place-based, cumulative and dynamic. Indigenous knowledge systems involve living well with, and being in relationship with, the natural world. Indigenous knowledge systems build upon the experiences of earlier generations, inform the practice of current generations, and evolve in the context of contemporary society.

Definition by the Government of the United States2:

Indigenous knowledge (hereafter, TEK) refers to the evolving knowledge acquired by Indigenous and local peoples over hundreds or thousands of years through direct contact with the environment. This knowledge is specific to a location and includes the relationships between plants, animals, natural phenomena, landscapes and timing of events that are used for lifeways, including but not limited to hunting, fishing, trapping, agriculture, and forestry. TEK is an accumulating body of knowledge, practice, and belief, evolving by adaptive processes and handed down through generations by cultural transmission, about the relationship of living beings (human and non-human) with one another and with the environment. It encompasses the world view of Indigenous Peoples which includes ecology, spirituality, human and animal relationships, and more.

Definition by the Government of Mexico3:

Indigenous knowledge refers to bodies of knowledge, values, understandings and interpretations that constitute complex systems, closely related to the world views, territories, natural resources or assets of Indigenous Peoples and communities; …collective in nature; …acquired, inherited and practiced over the time and the spaces inhabited, and handed down through generations, in accordance with their own normative systems. It is the product of experiences, studies and practices within the community, comprehensive and interconnected, spanning various aspects of the lives of individuals and of a community, and forming part of the cultural heritage of Indigenous Peoples and communities as elements of their identity—therefore dynamic and constantly evolving, yet with collective property rights. This knowledge, sometimes shared with other peoples and communities, plays a critical role in decision-making and is essential in the development and the future of Indigenous Peoples and communities.


The 2024-2026 NAPECA grant program supports projects that meet the following criteria:

Community Empowerment

The CEC will support projects and partnerships that are led by or promote the active participation of Indigenous governments, organizations, communities and individuals in recognition of their Indigenous rights and knowledge systems pertaining to environmental decision-making. The projects must be inclusive and foster Indigenous leadership and self-determination.

Climate adaptation

Put forward actions that will enhance climate adaptation through the respectful inclusion and protection of Indigenous Knowledge.


Include an integral implementation plan that identifies clear objectives and results, specific actions, beneficiaries and actors, and an estimate budget.

Long-lasting and measurable

Propose long-term and measurable solutions that can demonstrate a direct impact on communities and positive environmental results.


Could potentially be replicated in other regions or inspire other communities to implement initiatives that address similar issues.


Create partnerships or collaborations that respond to community-identified challenges and priorities and respect Indigenous knowledge and systems.

Leverage resources

Leverage other resources to achieve greater impact, replicability, and sustainability of the project results.


If you have questions, please contact:

Lead, Community Grant Programs