NWAC advocates for gender equality and Indigenous rights at CETA forum in Brussels

La traduction en français suivra.

 

Today in Brussels, NWAC participated in the first meeting of the joint Civil Society Forum under the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) – the Canada-European Union free trade agreement. This trade agreement presents an important opportunity for a shift toward sustainable development and climate action that will either further marginalize Indigenous women, or ensure they equally and fairly share in the benefits of a low-carbon, sustainable economy.

This meeting of civil society delegates from organizations throughout the EU and across Canada was convened to build dialogue on the sustainable development aspects of CETA. The constituent civil society organizations in attendance at today’s meeting represent a diverse range of sectors including labour, business, animal protection and nature conservation. NWAC’s participation focused on drawing attention to the disproportionate impacts trade can have on Indigenous women and to advocate for an interpretation of sustainable development that recognizes the importance of gender equality and respect for Indigenous rights.

Throughout the CSF meeting and in a discussion with Canada’s Ambassador to the EU, Daniel Costello, prior to the meeting, NWAC brought attention to the numerous international documents recognizing the international community’s commitments to sustainable development and the fact that all these documents refer to the importance of gender equity and Indigenous rights.

The International community has, through international declarations and common objectives, consistently recognized the important role of women and gender diversity as well as Indigenous rights, to the goals of sustainable development. The Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, Agenda 21 on Environment and Development, the Johannesburg Declaration on Sustainable Development, and the Plan of Implementation of the World Summit on Sustainable Development all recognize the importance of women and Indigenous peoples to sustainable development.

CETA contains chapters which compel the EU and Canada to promote trade that respects the environment and works toward the objectives of Sustainable Development. Such commitments, if respected, will create economic shifts toward renewable energy technologies in order to address climate change. Such a shift from fossil fuels to renewables will create demand for the minerals and metals needed for solar, wind and battery products. Canada has massive reserves and processing capacities for many of the resources needed for the shift to renewable energies, including 14 of the 19 minerals and metals required for the manufacturing of solar panels.

So, while the shift toward sustainable development and low-carbon energy will present a significant opportunity for Canada’s mining industry, the question remains what impact this shift will have on
Indigenous women.

Indigenous women tend to suffer the greatest negative effects of trade liberalization and industrial projects, such as mining, while simultaneously being excluded from the positive effects of trade and industrial activities. This must stop.

The commitments by Canada and the EU to work toward sustainable development demands recognition that Indigenous women have a unique and particular interest in these processes and outcomes. Canada’s domestic policies must be coherent with its international commitments to sustainable development, in both declarations and binding trade agreements, and this requires greater effort as to ensure that the environmental effects of CETA are positive and that the socio-economic opportunities that result from the agreement are shared equally and fairly with Indigenous women.


 

L’AFAC plaide en faveur de l’égalité des sexes et des droits des Autochtones au forum de l’AECG, à Bruxelles

À Bruxelles, aujourd’hui, l’AFAC participait à la première assemblée commune du Forum de la société civile aux termes de l’Accord économique et commercial global (AECG) – l’accord de libre-échange Canada-Union européenne. Cet accord commercial présente une importante opportunité de glissement vers le développement durable et des mesures relatives à la lutte contre les changements climatiques qui auront pour effet de marginaliser davantage les femmes autochtones ou de faire en sorte qu’elles partagent également et équitablement les avantages d’une économie durable à faibles émissions de carbone.

Cette assemblée de délégués de la société civile issus d’organisations de toute l’Union européenne et de partout au Canada a été convoquée pour engager un dialogue sur les aspects de l’AECG relatifs au développement durable. Les organisations constituantes de la société civile qui ont participé à l’assemblée d’aujourd’hui représentent une diversité de secteurs : travail, commerce, protection des animaux et conservation de la nature. La participation de l’AFAC avait pour but d’attirer l’attention sur les répercussions disproportionnées que le commerce peut avoir sur les femmes autochtones et de plaider en faveur d’une interprétation du développement durable reconnaissant l’importance de l’égalité des sexes et le respect des droits des Autochtones.

Pendant toute la durée de ce forum de la société civile et en conversation avec l’ambassadeur du Canada auprès de l’Union européenne, Daniel Costello, avant l’assemblée, l’AFAC a attiré l’attention sur les nombreux documents internationaux qui reconnaissent les engagements de la communauté internationale relativement au développement durable et sur le fait que tous ces documents parlent de l’importance de l’égalité des sexes et des droits des Autochtones.

Par des déclarations internationales et des objectifs communs, la communauté internationale reconnaît constamment l’importance du rôle des femmes et de la diversité des genres ainsi que des droits des Autochtones pour atteindre les objectifs du développement durable. La Déclaration de Rio sur l’environnement et le développement, le programme Action 21 sur l’environnement et le développement, la Déclaration de Johannesburg sur le développement durable et le Plan d’application du Sommet mondial pour le développement durable reconnaissent tous l’importance des femmes et des Autochtones dans l’optique du développement durable.

L’AECG comprend des chapitres qui obligent l’Union européenne et le Canada à promouvoir le commerce de manière respectueuse de l’environnement et à travailler à l’atteinte des objectifs du développement durable. S’ils sont respectés, ces objectifs entraîneront un glissement économique vers des technologies énergétiques renouvelables pour résoudre les problèmes que posent les changements climatiques. Ce glissement des combustibles fossiles vers des combustibles renouvelables entraînera une demande de minéraux et de métaux nécessaires à la production d’appareils qui fonctionnent à l’énergie solaire, éolienne et à piles. Le Canada a des réserves massives et des capacités de traitement pour beaucoup des ressources nécessaires à ce glissement vers les énergies renouvelables, y compris 14 des 19 minéraux et métaux requis pour la fabrication de panneaux solaires.

Ainsi, même si le glissement vers le développement durable et l’énergie à faibles émissions de carbone présente une opportunité considérable pour l’industrie minière du Canada, la question des répercussions de ce glissement sur les femmes autochtones demeure.

La tendance démontre que les femmes autochtones souffrent des principaux effets négatifs de la libéralisation du commerce et de la réalisation de projets industriels comme l’exploitation minière, tout en étant simultanément exclues des effets positifs du commerce et de l’activité industrielle. Il faut que ça cesse.

Les engagements du Canada et de l’Union européenne de favoriser le développement durable exigent la reconnaissance du fait que les femmes autochtones ont un intérêt particulier dans ces processus et ces résultats. Les politiques internes du Canada doivent être en accord avec ses engagements internationaux à l’égard du développement durable, dans les déclarations et les accords de commerce contraignants, ce qui exige un effort plus considérable pour assurer que les effets environnementaux de l’AECG soient positifs et que les femmes autochtones partagent également et équitablement les occasions de développement socioéconomique qui résultent de cet accord.

Nikki Fraser, Western Regional Youth Representative for NWAC, One of Ten Canadians Chosen by CBC to Interview the Prime Minister

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(January 31, 2016) (Ottawa, ON) ― Nikki Fraser is not your typical 25 year-old. She’s a mover and a shaker, a mother of two, an Indigenous woman from Tk’emlups Te Secwepemc (one of the 17 bands within the Secwepemc Nation) – and she’s our Regional Youth Representative for the West here at the Native Women’s Association of Canada.

Between her story, her warmth and her tenacity, and her tireless commitment toward ending violence against Indigenous women and girls, Nikki caught our eye at NWAC long ago. Now, Nikki has also captured the attention of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation – and the entire country.

Nikki was invited to travel all the way from her home province of British Columbia to partake in CBC’s segment: “Face to Face with the Prime Minister” in Ottawa – which aired tonight (January 31, 2016) on The National.

Nikki was one of ten Canadians individually selected for this segment from across the country, for a one-on-one meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Nikki and the other nine individuals selected were given the opportunity to interview the Prime Minister on a topic of their choosing – and that topic for Nikki was missing and murdered Indigenous women.

Congratulations, Nikki!
QUOTES

 

“I do this work in honour of my Aunty Dorothy and my cousin Samantha, and the other beautiful Indigenous women and girls stolen from our nation. Despite the harsh reality that I and so many other young Indigenous ladies live, I will continue to honour them and seek justice.”
-Nikki Fraser, NWAC Regional Youth Representative for Western Canada

“Nikki has an incomparable energy about her. We are so grateful to have her, and so proud of her for fearlessly bringing this issue directly before the Prime Minister. Everyone at NWAC applauds you Nikki for your bravery and unwavering commitment to the cause. You are an inspiration to women and girls everywhere – Indigenous and non-Indigenous alike.”
-Dawn Lavell-Harvard, President of the Native Women’s Association of Canada

 

The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) is founded on the collective goal to enhance, promote, and foster the social, economic, cultural and political well-being of First Nations and Métis women within First Nation, Métis and Canadian societies. As a national organization representing Aboriginal women since 1974, NWAC’s mandate is to achieve equality for all Aboriginal women in Canada. To make a donation to NWAC, please visit nwac.ca.

 

 

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For more information, please contact:

Lynne Groulx
Executive Director
1 Nicholas Street, 9th Floor
Ottawa, ON K1N 7B7
Toll-free 1-800-461-4043
Tel: 613-722-3033 ext. 223
Email: [email protected]

NWAC Senior Manager of Violence Prevention and Safety, Gail Gallagher, Awarded Queen Elizabeth II Graduate Scholarship

NWAC Senior Manager of Violence Prevention and Safety, Gail Gallagher, Awarded Queen Elizabeth II Graduate Scholarship


The Native Women’s Association of Canada asks that you join us in congratulating our Senior Manager of Violence Prevention and Safety, Gail Gallagher, who has been awarded a substantial academic scholarship from the University of Alberta.

 

Ms. Gallagher is a proud First Nations Cree woman from Frog Lake First Nation, Alberta, who currently resides in the Nation’s capital. Currently, Gail is in her last year of her Masters’ degree with the Native Studies Faculty at the University of Alberta.

 

Her thesis focuses on the sexual exploitation and marginalization of Aboriginal women and ways that Aboriginal activism works to reduce this – critical subject matter that will not only continue to benefit her expertise in her role at NWAC, but will also contribute to the growing body academic research into the issue of Indigenous women’s social, economic and cultural inequality in Canada.
“The Queen Elizabeth II Graduate Scholarship for Masters level work is an outstanding achievement,” says NWAC Executive Director, Claudette Dumont-Smith. “I ask that all NWAC staff, board members and friends across Canada join me in congratulating Ms. Gallagher today on this extraordinary achievement. Gail’s work will undoubtedly inspire more Native women like her to succeed academically.”

 

Prior to her employment as the Senior Manager of Violence Prevention & Safety with the Native Women’s Association of Canada, Gail earned extensive work experience through building partnerships and relationships at the federal, provincial and First Nations regional levels.

 

Congratulations, Gail!

 

For more information, please contact:

Lynne Groulx
Executive Director
1 Nicholas Street, 9th Floor
Ottawa, ON K1N 7B7
Toll-free 1-800-461-4043
Tel: 613-722-3033 ext. 223
Email: [email protected]