Indigenous youth, Kitchener advocate share experiences from COP26

An Ontario Indigenous delegate and a Kitchener advocate spoke with CBC K-W's 'The Morning Edition' about attending the U.N. climate change conference in Scotland, what the experience was like and what needs to happen going forward.

'Constant battle' to have Indigenous voices heard, says Jayce Chiblow

Kitchener's Andres Fuentes, left, and Jayce Chiblow, an Anishinaabe youth from Garden River First Nation, near Sault Ste. Marie, attended COP26 and shared their experiences with CBC K-W's 'The Morning Edition.' (Photo of Andres Fuentes from Twitter/@andresafm/Photo of Jayce Chiblow from

As thousands of people gathered for the U.N. climate change conference in Scotland, they also faced the challenge of being heard.

Jayce Chiblow is an Anishinaabe youth from the Garden River First Nation near Sault Ste. Marie and she's with the organization Indigenous Climate Action. 

"Indigenous folks have been pushing for a space for their voices to be heard for such a long time," Chiblow told Craig Norris of CBC-KW's The Morning Edition.

"It's only been a couple of years that we've even had this Indigenous Peoples' Caucus and Indigenous Peoples' Platform for us to advocate for our rights." 

She described being at the conference as a "constant battle" to have Indigenous voices heard.   

"We have to use a lot of these more back-end meetings and things like that and rely on the Canadian folks to really push our message forward," she said. "We don't really get the space to do that ourselves."

She said, despite the difficulty, the conference has been an "amazing learning experience" — an experience she says  will inform her work centring Indigenous voices in future climate decision making. 

Listen | Jayce Chiblow on her experience at COP26 and why she says Indigenous voices weren't valued at the conference.

Indigenous people are fighting to be heard at the U.N. climate change conference in Scotland and one Ontario delegate says Indigenous knowledge isn't being valued by the people negotiating deals. Jayce Chiblow, an Anishinaabe youth from Garden River First Nation and who works with Indigenous Climate Action, offers her perspective of what's happening in Glasgow. 5:48

Kitchener's Andres Fuentes has attended the U.N. climate conferences since COP15. He is a member of the Climate Action Network International team, a worldwide network of more than 100,000 non-governmental organizations around the world, and he's also one of the founders of of 50 by 2030 Waterloo Region.

He said the big change this year was the focus on fossil fuels and the role it's played in climate change.

"The fact that ... for the first time this year, fossil fuel is mentioned and the phasing out of fossil fuels is mentioned in the draft text, it's a huge step," he said in an interview.

As for what's next, he says governments need to held to account to ensure what they promise they'll do actually gets done.

"We're hoping that what comes out of this allows us to continue to re-evaluate country pledges on a more regular and frequent basis," he said.

"But also we'll all be doing work at home to pressure our national governments and, you know, in Canada, our provinces and our region to scale up their ambition to act like the emergency that this is. And realize that we're already facing some real impacts and will be facing worse impacts if we don't act soon and urgently."

Listen | Andres Fuentes on COP26 and what needs to happen next.

Kitchener's Andres Fuentes is a member of the Climate Action Network International team, a worldwide network of more than 100,000 non-governmental organizations around the world. He is also one of the founders of of 50 by 2030 Waterloo Region. He attended the UN climate change conference in Glasgow and offered his thoughts on how it went and what has to happen next. 6:41


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