The International Institute for Sustainable Development has issued two reports as part of the First Nations Carbon Collaborative to help build the capacity of First Nations to take part in existing and emerging carbon markets.

The collaborative is a community-driven initiative spearheaded by IISD, the Centre for Indigenous Environmental Resources and three First Nations living within Canada’s frontier forests.

Undefined carbon rights and a lack of experience prevent First Nations from accessing carbon markets, even though many of them live within and around the boreal forest region that stores 30 per cent of the world’s carbon, according to 2007 research by Woods Hole Research Center.

The literature review indicates there is little information about First Nations in Canada and carbon markets and that this void will need to be filled before First Nations can become active carbon market participants.

The best practices review found that local ownership enhances potential carbon market benefits, well beyond job creation. The review highlights the need to establish realistic timeframes, as capacity building can take considerable resources and time to deal with such issues as governance, transmitting local and traditional knowledge, operational training, youth development and succession planning.

As an initial capacity-building activity, the University of Toronto’s Centre for Environment in cooperation with the First Nations Carbon Collaborative will be hosting a free First Nations and carbon webinar series every Wednesday from 1:00 to 2:30 p.m. (EST) beginning April 20 and ending May 25, 2011.

Webinar topics will include carbon 101, indigenous rights to carbon, emissions trading policies/legislation in Canada, carbon financing, offset projects and First Nations case study carbon projects. Assembly of First Nations Grand Chief Shawn Atleo will open the webinar series. Grand Chief Edward John, the North American representative to the United Nations Permanent Forum, will also be a guest speaker.

For more information please contact IISD project manager Vivek Voora (204) 958-7797 or IISD media and communications officer Nona Pelletier (204) 958-7740.

About the International Institute for Sustainable Development 

The world is challenged by a changing climate, biodiversity loss, abject poverty and environmental degradation. What can make a difference? Good ideas. Creativity. Passion. Innovation. The achievement of change. 

IISD is in the business of promoting change towards sustainable development. As a policy research institute dedicated to effective communication of our findings, we engage decision-makers in government, business, NGOs and other sectors in the development and implementation of policies that are simultaneously beneficial to the global economy, the global environment and to social well-being. 

In the pursuit of sustainable development, we promote open and effective international negotiation processes. And we believe fervently in the importance of building our own institutional capacity while helping our partner organizations in the developing world to excel. 

Established in 1990, IISD is a Canadian-based not-for-profit organization with a diverse team of more than 150 people located in more than 30 countries. Through our dynamic portfolio of projects, we partner with more than 200 organizations throughout the world. To learn more about our history, please visit the IISD Timeline. 

Click here to learn more about our project work and programs, which are guided by our strategic institutional directions. And please visit our IISD Linkages site to follow our coverage of international negotiations on environment and development. 

IISD is registered as a charitable organization in Canada and has 501(c)(3) status in the United States. IISD receives core operating support from the Government of Canada, provided through the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and Environment Canada, and from the Province of Manitoba. The Institute receives project funding from numerous governments inside and outside Canada, United Nations agencies, foundations and the private sector.