Editor's note: This appeared on July 16 on the White House Blog.
Today, at the fourth and final meeting of the White House State, Local, and Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience, the Administration announced the new Tribal Climate Resilience Program to help tribes prepare for climate change.
As part of this new initiative, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell will dedicate $10 million in funding for tribes and tribal organizations to develop tools to enable adaptive resource management, as well as the ability to plan for climate resilience. The program will offer nationwide climate preparedness planning sessions and provide funding for tribal engagement and outreach within regional and national climate communities.
“Building on the President’s commitment to tribal leaders, the partnership announced today will help tribal nations prepare for and adapt to the impacts of climate change on their land and natural resources,” said Secretary Jewell.
The Department of the Interior and Environmental Protection Agency will also partner to create a new subgroup on climate change under the White House Council on Native American Affairs, which will share data and information and coordinate Administration efforts to assist tribes in climate resilience and mitigation efforts.
“Tribes are at the forefront of many climate issues, so we are excited to work in a more cross-cutting way to help address tribal climate needs,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “We’ve heard from tribal leaders loud and clear: when the federal family combines its efforts, we get better results – and nowhere are these results needed more than in the fight against climate change.”
Task Force members Chairwoman Karen Diver of the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa and Mayor Reggie Joule of the Northwest Arctic Borough were tasked by the President with providing recommendations on climate preparedness and resilience specific to tribes. They led a national effort consisting of listening sessions, conference presentations, and agency webinars, to collect a multitude of tribal input on how to make tribal communities more prepared and resilient in the face of climate change. These recommendations will form the basis for their final recommendations to the Administration.
We look forward to continuing our work with Indian Country on this important topic and thank Chairwoman Diver and Mayor Joule for their tireless efforts leading to today’s announcement of this crucial new program.
Raina Thiele is the Associate Director of Intergovernmental Affairs. Susan Ruffo is the Associate Director for Climate Preparedness in the Council on Environmental Quality.