Assembly of First Nations Welcomes Auditor General's Recommendations on
Sustainable Development in the Northwest Territories

OTTAWA, April 23 /CNW Telbec/ - Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo responded today to Auditor General Sheila Fraser's 2010 Spring Report, specifically Chapter 4 - Sustaining Development in the Northwest Territories.

"The Auditor General's report offers some important recommendations and warnings that will impact development in the North today and in the future, both for First Nations and all Canadians," said National Chief Shawn Atleo.

The report, released April 20, identifies three key measures that support sustainable and balanced development in the Northwest Territories: settled land claims, an environmental regulatory system and community capacity to participate in economic development opportunities.

"First Nations support the principles put forward by the Auditor General, which include a balanced and sustainable approach to economic development that includes our people in the process; respect for the duty to consult and accommodate First Nations prior to development on traditional territories; the need for land use planning and the need for capacity building at the community level," said National Chief Atleo.

The report further notes that there is more potential for development and partnership opportunities in areas where First Nations and government have worked together to resolve land and resource issues, whereas there are increased challenges in areas where these issues are outstanding.

"Understanding that each negotiation process is unique, the federal government and First Nations can learn from the negotiations and relationships that have helped to protect First Nations land rights," said the National Chief, adding that these are important warnings that government, industry and First Nations should take seriously, and could help inform the National Energy Board's deliberations on the Mackenzie Valley pipeline.

"As I welcome and support the Auditor General's recommendations on skills development, the broader gaps in capacity at the community level should be addressed," said Northwest Territories Regional Chief Bill Erasmus, noting that many of the First Nation communities in that region do not currently have adequate resources to implement agreements made in recent years. "We need to work together to build capacity within our communities, consistent with previous reports by the Auditor General regarding implementation, so that First Nations are better equipped with the core tools necessary to participate fully in economic development opportunities."

The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada.

SOURCE Assembly of First Nations

For further information: For further information: Jenna Young, Assembly of First Nations Communications Officer at (613) 241-6789, ext 401, (613) 314-8157 or jyoung@afn.ca


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