Pursuant to Executive Order 13653 Preparing the United States for the Impacts of Climate Change, the President’s State, Local, and Tribal Government Leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience (Task Force) recently released its Recommendations to the President. In addition, the two tribal leaders who were members of the Task Force, Chairwoman Diver of the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa and Mayor Joule of Northwest Arctic Borough, Alaska, released their Supplemental Recommendations. These documents are intended to inform executive branch actions. A copy of the Supplemental Recommendations is attached. Both documents as well as other information about the Task Force can be found at: www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/ceq/initiatives/resilience/taskforce.
Task Force Recommendations. Recognizing that communities across the country are already experiencing the impacts of climate change, the Task Force framed its recommendations as actions that the Administration could take to support the efforts of state, local, and tribal governments in making preparations for climate change. The Task Force called on the Administration to act in accordance with five “overarching” principles:
• Require consideration of climate-related risks and vulnerabilities in the design, revision, and implementation of all Federal policies, practices, investments, regulations, and other programs.
• Maximize opportunities to take actions that have dual-benefits of increasing community resilience and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
• Strengthen coordination and partnerships among Federal agencies, and across Federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial jurisdictions as well as economic sectors.
• Provide actionable data and information on climate change impacts and related tools and assistance to support decision-making at all levels.
• Consult with Tribes and indigenous communities on all aspects of Federal climate preparedness and resilience efforts, and encourage states and local communities to do the same.
In addition to these overarching principles, the Task Force made a number of recommendations, with the presentation organized according to seven themes: (1) Building Resilient Communities; (2) Improving Resilience in the Nation’s Infrastructure; (3) Ensuring Resilience of Natural Resources; (4) Preserving Human Health & Supporting Resilient Populations; (5) Supporting Climate-Smart Hazard Mitigation and Disaster Preparedness and Recovery; (6) Understanding and Acting on the Economics of Resilience; (7) Building Capacity for Resilience.
Tribal Leaders Supplemental Recommendations. The two tribal leaders on the Task Force led an effort to seek input from other Tribal leaders, input that is reflected throughout the recommendations of the Task Force. In addition, they released a supplemental set of recommendations in order to identify “specific and unique perspectives of Tribal communities.” These recommendations are intended to “inform the work of the White House Council on Native American Affairs and its newly formed Climate Change Subgroup.” As an overarching recommendation, the tribal leaders call for comprehensive federal action, saying:
The federal government must undertake a review of its Federal programs – with a specific eye towards Tribes and Native Alaskan Villages – to understand what barriers to their participation exist in current Federal technical assistance and funding programs that address infrastructure, housing, emergency management, and land and natural resources preservation. These programs must then be reformed to remove barriers to Tribal access, including making funding more flexible and comprehensive so that each Tribe can determine their own best course of action.
Specific recommendations are presented under the following headings: Inclusion and Participation, Education, and Long Term Planning. Inclusion and Participation is broken down further into the sub-headings of (1) Access to Information, (2) Access to Federal Programs, (3) Direct Access to Federal Funds, and (4) Climate Adaptation Task Force. Long Term Planning is broken down into the sub-headings of (1) Natural Resources and Ecosystem Health, (2) Water Safety and Security, (3) Housing Infrastructure, (4) Food Security, and (5) Energy Security.
In their conclusion, the Tribal leaders write, “The needs of native communities in relation to climate change are urgent and significant. The time to act to protect and assist our communities is now.”
Please let us know if we may provide additional information regarding the President’s State, Local, and Tribal Government Leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience or the Supplemental Recommendations of the Tribal Leaders.