Lumos Energy, a Canadian clean energy advisor to indigenous communities released a new report where it found that clean energy projects with participation from indigenous communities have steeply increased during the past 10 years.
The “Powering Reconciliation: a Survey of Indigenous Participation in Canada’s Growing Clean Energy Economy” report explains that in 2008 there were 26 recorded energy projects developed with indigenous communities engagement, whereas the number has now increased to 152.
The number represents medium utility scale over 1MW projects, but there are also 1,200 small projects across Canada.
63 percent of these projects are hydro and 24 percent wind projects.
According to the research, the number of power projects accounts for nearly one-fifth of Canada’s overall electricity production infrastructure and is enough to power 7.5-9.5 million households.
Communities were involved in these projects in various ways, as owners or partners, or by having Impact Benefit Agreements, lease agreements, revenue sharing agreements with project developers.
Building these projects generated $842 million in employment income for the communities, from direct employment opportunities such as construction workers, environmental monitors, site security etc.
In addition, the investments and agreements made by communities are also yielding significant returns for the communities.
The return on investment, after the debt is paid out, is estimated to be more than $167 million per year and over the next 15 years, total profits will be around $2.5 billion.
The experience gained by community members allowed them to find permanent careers working on power projects in different regions.
This new revenue stream from communities has helped them become more self-reliant, leveraging these funds towards education, healthcare, elder facilities etc.
Chief Jim Leonard of Rainy River First Nation, which fully owns a 25MW solar farm in Thunder Bay said that “solar is powering a more socially and economically stable future for our people”.
Chief Gordon Planes of T’Sou-ke First Nation said: “For the T’Sou-ke Nation, renewable energy projects have been central to our culture, and created jobs for our young people”.
Most importantly, these power projects are considered powerful steps towards reconciliation with indigenous communities as project partnerships often represent a recognition and respect for indigenous rights and territory.
Lumos Energy project that over the next years, Canada’s energy transition will open vast new opportunities for new renewable energy projects but also for electric vehicles and smart grids too.
You can read the full 16-page “Powering Reconciliation: a Survey of Indigenous Participation in Canada’s Growing Clean Energy Economy” here.
Published on Climate Action Programme on October 25, 2017.
Human rights and environment
In recent years, the recognition of the links between human rights and the environment has greatly increased. The number and scope of international and domestic laws, judicial decisions, and academic studies on the relationship between human rights and the environment have grown rapidly.
Many States now incorporate a right to a healthy environment in their constitutions. Many questions about the relationship of human rights and the environment remain unresolved, however, and require further examination.
As a result, in March 2012 the Human Rights Council decided to establish a mandate on human rights and the environment, which will (among other tasks) study the human rights obligations relating to the enjoyment of a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment, and promote best practices relating to the use of human rights in environmental policymaking.
Mr. John Knox was appointed in August 2012 to a three-year term as the first Independent Expert on human rights obligations relating to the enjoyment of a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment. His mandate was further extended in March 2015 for another three years as a Special Rapporteur.
The resolution 16/11 adopted by the Human Rights Council on 12th of April 2011 entitled “Human Rights and the environment” requested the Office of the High Commissioner “in consultation with and taking into account the views of States Members of the United Nations, relevant international organizations and intergovernmental bodies, including the United Nations Environment Programme and relevant multilateral environmental agreements, special procedures, treaty bodies and other stakeholders, to conduct, within existing resources, a detailed analytical study on the relationship between human rights and the environment” (para.1).
See also the Special Rapporteur on the implications for human rights of the environmentally sound management and disposal of hazardous substances and wastes
Human rights and climate change
In its 5th Assessment Report (2014), the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) unequivocally confirmed that climate change is real and that human-made greenhouse gas emissions are its primary cause. The report identified the increasing frequency of extreme weather events and natural disasters, rising sea-levels, floods, heat waves, droughts, desertification, water shortages, and the spread of tropical and vector-borne diseases as some of the adverse impacts of climate change. These phenomena directly and indirectly threaten the full and effective enjoyment of a range of human rights by people throughout the world, including the rights to life, water and sanitation, food, health, housing, self-determination, culture and development.