Trilateral North American initiative will lead first case study for IRENA global platform supporting transition to renewable energy for remote, rural and Indigenous communities worldwide.
Glasgow, 4 November 2021—Today in Glasgow at COP26, Canada, Mexico and the United States, as part of trilateral work under the Environmental Cooperation Agreement, are launching a North American initiative to support isolated, remote and Indigenous communities transition to clean, renewable and reliable sources of energy, in collaboration with the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) as part of a long-term global initiative. For the first time ever, the three parties, through the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC), are engaged in trilateral work to help support these communities in their transition to renewable energy.
During an event on Indigenous community-led global renewable energy microgrids hosted by the Canadian-based Indigenous Clean Energy (ICE) social enterprise, IRENA and Natural Resources Canada jointly launched the global initiative alongside the announcement of a C$500,000 founding investment from the Government of Canada in the global platform. The Commission for Environmental Cooperation, directed by its Council composed of Minister Steven Guilbault (ECCC, Canada), Secretary María Luisa Albores González (SEMARNAT, Mexico) and Administrator Michael S. Regan (EPA, United States), supports and will carry out the North American phase as the first component of the five-year IRENA Global Initiative.
The Global Initiative is a multi-stakeholder platform for transitioning isolated and remote communities to renewable energy who are often reliant on diesel-based mini-grids for their electricity. The Global Initiative aims to support community-led initiatives by generating new knowledge and sharing best practices on regional and local solutions for community-driven renewable energy projects.
The CEC will begin the initial work for the Global Initiative by leading a regional case study of best practices from across North America on transitioning communities to cleaner, more affordable, and reliable sources of clean energy, bolstered by C$500,000 in funding from Canada, Mexico and the United States.
“Remote and Indigenous communities are disproportionately impacted by energy challenges,” said CEC Executive Director, Richard A. Morgan. “The CEC’s North American initiative will help lay the foundation for a global effort to support communities transition to renewable energy and provide benefits such as improving local air and water quality, enhancing energy security, and providing new sources of revenue and economic opportunity.”
The CEC will help operationalize phase 1 of the Global Initiative, focused on the creation of core knowledge on decentralized renewable energy solutions for isolated, remote communities, by building on past work on “Guide to Developing a Community Renewable Energy Project in North America” and expertise provided by the CEC Traditional Ecological Knowledge Expert Group (TEK-EG) to develop best practices for supporting energy security in some of the world’s most isolated regions. The North American regional case study will provide models and strategies for countries around the world facing similar challenges.
The Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) was established in 1994 by the governments of Canada, Mexico and the United States through the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation, a parallel environmental agreement to NAFTA. As of 2020, the CEC is recognized and maintained by the Environmental Cooperation Agreement, in parallel with the new Free Trade Agreement of North America. The CEC brings together a wide range of stakeholders, including the general public, Indigenous people, youth, nongovernmental organizations, academia, and the business sector, to seek solutions to protect North America’s shared environment while supporting sustainable development for the benefit of present and future generations
The CEC is governed and funded equally by the Government of Canada through Environment and Climate Change Canada, the Government of the United States of Mexico through the Secretaría de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales, and the Government of the United States of America through the Environmental Protection Agency.