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State and trends


Box 2.7.3: Engaging tribal governments and indigenous peoples in Canada and the US Consultation and Coordination with Tribal Governments in the US


The US Government’s policy is to consult on a government-to-government basis with federally recognized Tribal governments when the actions and decisions of a federal agency, such as the US EPA, may affect tribal interests. Consultation is a process of meaningful communication and coordination between the federal agency and tribal officials prior to taking actions or implementing decisions that may affect tribes. As a process, consultation includes several methods of interaction that may occur at different levels.


The US Government Policy establishes national guidelines and institutional controls for consultation across the government. In the case of the US EPA, programme and regional offices have the primary responsibility for consulting with tribes. The US EPA has engaged with Tribal governments through innovative information solutions such as the Circumpolar Local Environmental Observer (CLEO) Network. Under the US Chairmanship of the Arctic Council (AC), partners in the Council’s Arctic Contaminants Action Programme (ACAP) workgroup and its subsidiary Indigenous Peoples Contaminants Action Programme (IPCAP) are building on the success of the LEO network in Alaska and developing the foundation for a CLEO network. Using funding from the US Environmental Protection Agency and the North American Commission for Environmental Cooperation, ACAP IPCAP members are working with communities in western Canada to establish new LEO observer communities and regional hubs that would lead to a North American regional CLEO network.


Consultation and engagement with Indigenous peoples in Canada


Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) aims to foster meaningful engagement and constructive dialogue with all Canadians, civil society, and Indigenous peoples. Consulting Indigenous peoples is one of the key steps to making good, sound and sustainable environmental decisions. ECCC consults with Indigenous groups for legal reasons, including the government’s duty to consult and, where appropriate, accommodate when contemplating actions that could adversely impact Aboriginal or Treaty rights.


ECCC has statutory and contractual obligations to consult with Indigenous groups—for example, to meet the requirements of agreements such as modern treaties. The department also engages with Indigenous peoples for good governance reasons—for example, to make informed and appropriate decisions, create and improve working relationships, and address new developments. ECCC engages with Indigenous peoples on a wide range of issues—from specific conservation decisions, to compliance and enforcement issues, to international policy issues such as climate change and biodiversity. For example:


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