Seamus O’Regan, federal minister of Natural Resources, has announced $2.6 million in funding for the First Nations Major Projects Coalition (FNMPC) and $1 million for the First Nations Climate Initiative (FNCI). These initiatives are expected to increase Indigenous participation in major project development through collaborative relationships between industry and government and meaningful engagement.
The FNMPC is an Indigenous-led alliance of First Nations working to create ways in which Indigenous communities can become true partners in resource and infrastructure development that is taking place on their territories. By bringing First Nations communities together, building governance frameworks and economic capacity, and strengthening environmental stewardship, the FNMPC can empower First Nations and help mitigate many types of risks to development on First Nations traditional territories.
The FNCI is a forum for First Nations to work collaboratively with governments, industry and other interested parties on developing climate change policies that increase Canada’s contribution to mitigating climate change globally. The FNCI vision also includes enhancing the First Nations’ capacity to alleviate poverty, advance ecosystem restoration and achieve reconciliation and economic self-determination through participation in natural gas development opportunities. FNCI also develops options and opportunities to construct energy infrastructure to increase the availability of electricity from renewable sources to power pipelines, natural gas plants and related infrastructure.
Collectively, the FNMPC and FNCI bring together 70 First Nations in six provinces and territories to lead and own economic development projects that contribute to national and global strategies to achieve net-zero by 2050.
Both initiatives received funding through the Indigenous Natural Resource Partnerships (INRP) program, which provides support to Indigenous communities and organizations in British Columbia and Alberta to increase their participation in economic opportunities related to oil and natural gas development.
“It is critical that Indigenous groups have the capacity to fully participate in resource development, and we are happy to see the announcement of federal funding to support this important relationship with industry,” says Tim McMillan, president and CEO of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP).
The natural gas and oil industry plays a significant role in reconciliation, which includes business partnerships that generate sustained economic, social and community benefits for Indigenous communities through resource development. Industry is committed to this role and continues to work at being one of the strongest avenues for building Indigenous prosperity in Canada.
“The FNCI is intent on increasing Indigenous participation and ownership in economic opportunities related to natural gas infrastructure development so all our communities can achieve economic self-determination,” says Chief Crystal Smith, Haisla Nation. “We are leading our communities out of poverty in a manner that addresses climate change on a local and global scale, which is to everyone’s benefit.”