A new virtual platform for Indigenous engagement . . .
Indigi-X, a Canada-New Zealand (Aotearoa) joint initiative for facilitating international exchange among Indigenous professionals, released findings from its inaugural cohort on Wednesday. The four-week-long virtual dialogue this summer brought together 11 First Nations and Métis and 11 Māori professionals to discuss six thematic issues: nation-to-nation Indigenous exchange, post-COVID-19 e-commerce, Indigenous fisheries, diversification beyond primary sectors, clean energy, and the rise of Indigenous enterprise.
Recommendations for governments . . .
The report outlines 18 recommendations for both the Canadian and New Zealander governments. The recommendations are broad and diverse and include improving Indigenous-related data collection, formalizing relationships between the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service and Indigenous business associations, working towards a bilateral Indigenous trade and innovation agreement, and developing working groups in each country. Indigi-X plans to help facilitate follow-up on the recommendations and expand participation in its initiative to other regions and groups in the Asia Pacific. Indigi-X is an example of the optimism and energy within Indigenous business communities working to tackle both historical and COVID-19-related international economic development roadblocks.
Optimism thrives amidst global economic downturn . . .
Hurdles remain. For example, although the preamble to the CPTPP acknowledges the importance of Indigenous rights and inclusion in international trade, it is non-binding. And even though most member countries have Indigenous populations, there remains a lack of robust research and data on the make-up of domestic Indigenous economies. Through initiatives like Indigi-X, Canada and New Zealand are well-positioned to help lead the way among CPTPP economies in developing Indigenous-related trade data and supporting mechanisms and programs to foster inclusivity.
- Global Affairs Canada: International trade agreements and Indigenous peoples: The Canadian approach
- Indigi-X: Final report
- Risa Schwartz International Law: Indigenous peoples and international trade: Building equitable and inclusive international trade and investment agreements