MARRAKECH, Morocco, Nov. 16, 2016 /CNW/ - Assembly of First Nations (AFN) Manitoba Regional Chief Kevin Hart and Elder Francois Paulette of the Dene Nation are participating in the 22nd Conference of the Parties (COP22) on the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). National Chief Perry Bellegarde has tasked the AFN delegation to ensure First Nations peoples have a strong voice at the discussions and play a role in designing the COP22 Climate Change action plan.
AFN Manitoba Regional Chief Kevin Hart, Co-Chair of the Chiefs Committee on Climate Change and portfolio holder for Water, Infrastructure and Alternative Energy, said: "Our presence here is essential so that the inherent responsibilities, roles and rights of Indigenous peoples are fully recognized and respected in all national and international outcomes and action to implement the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, including the importance of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the 94 Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada."
Elder Francois Paulette of the Dene Nation said: "First Nations are in a unique position to be leaders in climate change initiatives because of our knowledge of the sacred teachings of the land. We must not be situated as passive recipients of climate change impacts. We must be agents of change in climate action."
AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde, who sent the independent delegation to COP22, said it is essential that First Nations be engaged at the international gathering: "First Nations need to be fully involved in the design, development and delivery of the COP22 Climate Change action plan to ensure all Parties respect First Nations rights. First Nations are the first to feel the impacts of climate change and we possess invaluable Traditional Knowledge to contribute to solving this crisis. This is the issue of our time and our role is essential."
COP22 is the 22nd Session of the Conference of Parties that will determine the actions needed to implement the Paris Agreement. Last year, Indigenous Peoples played a key role in ensuring their voices were included in the agreement which came into force on December 12, 2015 and sets the goal of limiting average global temperature rise to 1.5° C.
To visit the official COP22 website for more information: http://www.cop22-morocco.com/
The AFN is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada. Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Updates.
SOURCE Assembly of First Nations