The time is ripe for an Indigenous Climate Fund

Nanticoke Solar Six Nations
Nanticoke Solar farm. Courtesy of Six Nations of the Grand River Development Corp.

We asked Canada’s thought leaders to weigh in with ideas for how the government should spend stimulus money as part of a Green Recovery. To read the entire report series, head to Planning for Green Recovery.

Equality translates into a civil society, one that acts cohesively in the interests of the many. Besieged by division and inaction on the climate crisis, we need solutions that are far broader than technological fixes. A $1 billion per year Indigenous Climate Fund (ICF), if established by the federal government, could offer some multifaceted solutions. What would such a fund look like?

Its first mandate would be to work with Indigenous peoples across Canada to build smart communities (appropriate, energy-efficient infrastructure in remote and urban communities that delivers smart buildings and amenities, clean energy, water and waste management alongside health, education, training, communication and social services). This endowment part of the fund would not be intended to generate standard financial returns; it would use Canadian clean technologies to amplify results of investments already made by federal and other governments.

Its second mandate would be to set up an asset fund to co-invest in global infrastructure assets (together with pension funds and large project developers) that meet strict investing criteria. That criteria would integrate the UN Sustainable Development Goals and recommendations from the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures.

Under this umbrella, Indigenous communities may decide to raise additional capital for participation in projects, such as power transmission lines or planting forests for carbon sequestration, thereby helping with Canada’s climate change commitments. This part of the ICF would be the long-term wealth generator, with some of the proceeds redirected to the “smart community” part of the fund, hence increasing the endowment, with the rest cycled back into the asset fund.

The time is ripe for an Indigenous Climate Fund. If Canada gets this right it could support economic reconciliation and equality and address the climate crisis while serving as a model for the world.

 Vicky Sharpe is a corporate director and was the founding president & CEO of Sustainable Development Technology Canada.


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