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FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — The First Nations Climate Initiative (FNCI) members, Haisla Nation, Nisga’a Nation, and Halfway River First Nation, announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding on Monday.
According to a joint release, this MOU is the first time First Nations governments have formally recognized the ecological impact of one nation’s economic development activities on another nation’s territories.
It is also the first time a group of Nations have formally committed to working together to find solutions to these impacts.
“Halfway River First Nation is pleased to work together with the First Nations Climate Initiative under this first-of-its-kind MOU. For decades, Halfway River First Nation has felt the significant impacts of heavy industry degrading our traditional territories,” said Darlene Hunter, Halfway River First Nation Chief.
According to a release, these nations are exploring nature-based solutions on Halfway River First Nation’s territory to recover the capacity of ecosystems to support traditional values while protecting and expanding carbon sinks.
“The nature-based solutions that we are exploring with FNCI are a big part of the solution for many First Nations because they help to protect and restore the ecosystems we have always depended on, giving us more opportunity for traditional economic activities and providing new economic opportunities, helping to meet the needs of today and for future generations,” continued Hunter.
Halfway River First Nation has felt first-hand the effects of oil and gas projects that have been developed, says the release.
The FNCI are reportedly creating ways for environmental and economic reconciliation to address that they have felt industry’s impact on their lands but none of the benefits.
The release says that the MOU also represents an early step in putting the FNCI’s newly released Climate Action Plan into action, which highlights investment in nature-based solutions to address climate change impacts and restoration was released earlier this year.
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