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Making Room for Indigenous Voices at COP27

Making Room for Indigenous Voices at COP27

Published 02-17-23

Submitted by Suncor Energy Inc.

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When JP Gladu travelled to Egypt for COP27 last November, he was impressed with the increased Indigenous presence compared to the first COP he attended 22 years ago. 

JP Gladu, a member of the Sand Point First Nation in Northern Ontario and Suncor Board of Directors member, attended the 27th Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) as both a panel participant for the Oil Sands Pathways Alliance and one of several voices in Canada’s core delegation representing Indigenous Peoples and knowledge.

“I was blown away by the international Indigenous presence at COP27,” he says. “It was heartwarming to see the organization and representation of Indigenous People compared to the first COP I attended 22 years ago. The world is making room for Indigenous People and our knowledge systems, which is beautiful. Our country really made room for the Indigenous voice.”

JP was on the Oil Sands Pathways Alliance panel, which took place on the sixth day. “The Pathways Alliance panel was masterfully done, but it was met with friction,” explains JP. “We knew there would be some disruption, but I wasn’t expecting such anger. It was jarring.

The disruption came in the form of protestors who interrupted the panel by standing up with signs that read: “Get heavy emitters out of Canada.” and then left. But the upsetting disruption for JP came during the question-and-answer period.

JP Gladu

“There was an Indigenous woman in the audience who spoke first. She was filled with emotion and just laid into the panel. She didn’t ask questions and when she finished, she walked away from the mic and out of the room. It was disappointing that she didn’t wait to hear the panel’s response to her comments.”

As the founder of Mokwateh, a consultancy that shares JP’s Anishinaabe name, and with more than 30 years of experience in the natural resources sector, JP is no stranger to opposing views; in fact, he values the conversation they elicit.

“It’s OK that we have diverging views, that’s important to the conversation, and it’s important that we hold each other accountable,” he explains. “But have the courage to stay in the room. If you’re not going to stay in the room, we’re not going to solve anything. We need to work these things out together.”

The protests didn’t detract from the conversations JP had at COP27. He says there was space for challenging but important conversations, and it was clear that the Pathways Alliance, which includes Suncor as one of the six member companies, is committed to meeting the 2050 net zero target.

“It’s imperative that we meet that target,” he says. “There are a lot of people in big organizations that care a hell of a lot, and we know we have to get there for our children, for our companies and for a cleaner future. And it makes business sense to get there.”

Read the full story here.

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Suncor Energy Inc.

Suncor Energy Inc.

Suncor Energy is Canada's leading integrated energy company. Suncor's operations include oil sands development, production and upgrading; offshore oil and gas; petroleum refining in Canada and the U.S.; and the company's Petro-Canada retail and wholesale distribution networks (including Canada's Electric Highway™, a coast-to-coast network of fast-charging electric vehicle stations). Suncor is developing petroleum resources while advancing the transition to a low-emissions future through investment in power, renewable fuels and hydrogen. Suncor also conducts energy trading activities focused principally on the marketing and trading of crude oil, natural gas, byproducts, refined products and power. Suncor has been recognized for its performance and transparent reporting on the Dow Jones Sustainability index, FTSE4Good and CDP. Suncor is also listed on the UN Global Compact 100 stock index. Suncor's common shares (symbol: SU) are listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange and the New York Stock Exchange.

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