Climate adaptation key for Yukon delegation at COP21

One of Yukon's delegates to the COP21 meetings in Paris says one of the territory's main goals is to ensure climate change adaptation is addressed.

Premier, other government officials head to Paris on Friday for climate talks

Andrea Buckley, with Yukon's department of intergovernmental affairs, is part of the Yukon delegation heading to Paris later this week. 'It's a small group of people, but it's a huge event,' she said.

Yukon's delegation to the UN climate conference in Paris will be there to press two main points — climate change adaptation must be addressed, and "sub-national" governments have a key role to play in implementing any agreements.

"Our main purpose is to make sure that our interests are addressed, met, and that when it comes to implementation, we have a role," said Andrea Buckley, Yukon's assistant deputy minister of intergovernmental relations, and part of the COP21 delegation.

She also says adaptation strategies are "very key" for Yukon — as important as any plan to try to mitigate climate change.

Buckley says Yukon's so-called "super-delegate", representing the territory's climate change secretariat, is already in Paris. Eight more people from Yukon, including Buckley and Premier Darrell Pasloski, will fly there later this week. 

Buckley says there will be lots to do, even outside the main negotiations.

"There's 50,000 people there and 50,000 are not involved in negotiations, obviously," Buckley said. "There's a massive network of what they refer to as 'side events'. So every moment of every day, there's something happening."

"There's a 300 page document of side event options," she said.

Premier's role after Paris
Yukon Premier Darrell Pasloski (right) meets with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Canada's other premiers at the First Ministers meeting in Ottawa last month. Pasloski is now chair of the Council of the Federation, comprised of Canada's 13 premiers. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

Buckley says Pasloski will be busy participating in a number of meetings and presentations. She says the premier will also have an important role to play after Paris, as well, as he takes over as chair of the Council of the Federation.

"Because of the Prime Minister's commitment and request of the 13 premiers to be involved in the development of Canada's plan for climate change, it'll be his responsibility down the road to coordinate those premiers and make sure that happens," Buckley said.

The Yukon delegation in Paris will also include NDP leader Liz Hanson, Liberal leader Sandy Silver, Council of Yukon First Nations Grand Chief Ruth Massie, a youth delegate, the premier's chief of staff and an environment department official.