October 31st marked the start of COP26, the United Nations' much-anticipated global summit that draws leaders together to accelerate action towards the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. With COP26 kicking off this week, we asked members of the Coeuraj team: What critical areas need to be addressed to mobilize action against climate change, and enable a more sustainable future? What are you hoping to see as COP26 unfolds?
We received a diverse range of responses, some that touched on interests in seeing global leaders commit to stronger responsible investing standards and the need for renewed, collaborative processes that champion community voices, while others shared their personal hopes and concerns as global citizens. Read more below.
Leveraging co-design to reimagine negotiation
Tabatha Soltay, Design Lead
COP has always been a venue for world leaders to come together and seek common ground in tackling the climate crisis. But what about the stakeholders not at the table? For example, what can the COP process do to create meaningful dialogue between First Nation and Indigenous communities around the world and companies that will fuel the green economy through mining and extraction? How can COP support meaningful representation from smaller countries unable to attend this year?
I am hoping that leaders will start to explore new approaches of convening beyond negotiations—even the word negotiation suggests “winners” and “losers.” We need new approaches and techniques to facilitate dialogue to engage communities most impacted in the decision-making process and balance out the power dynamics between the “West” and the "rest.” Leveraging co-design to invite diverse, sometimes conflicting perspectives into the same conversation will help turn government pledges into tangible change on the community level.
Prioritizing Indigenous participation in Canada’s climate future
Jonathan English, Associate, Research & Content Production and Max Lindley-Peart, Associate, Regenerative Economies
The Government of Canada has taken strong positions on the international stage in the first few days of COP26. Capping emissions on fossil fuels, urging for a global carbon tax regime, pledging to end deforestation...these are all initiatives we are happy to see announced, and we await further details. But we’re also cautious; pledges for deforestation occurred back in 2014 with little improvement, and capping fossil fuel emissions while Wet’suwet’en land defenders are arrested and jailed for monitoring the Coastal GasLink pipeline construction raises questions.
Canada’s journey tackling the climate crisis is inextricably bound to Indigenous knowledge holders and their land. The recent comments by Prime Minister Trudeau, promoting the rights, knowledge, and leadership of Indigenous peoples in conservation—including by supporting Indigenous-led stewardship initiatives—is a positive sign. But with many of the commitments, these comments are short on details. There is a real opportunity to advance Indigenous traditional ecological knowledge and Indigenous legal principles in the approach to combating climate change. These efforts and applications can be transformative in shifting how Canada thinks about its economy and its relationship with the land. Recently, the remote Northern Vuntut Gwich'in First Nation brought one of the largest solar projects in the Arctic online. They were also some of the first Indigenous peoples in Canada to declare a climate emergency and set a target of reaching net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.