Building on the solid working relationship between the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) and CESO, a Statement of Partnership between the two organizations was signed on December 16, 2010 at the Special Chiefs Assembly in Gatineau. The Statement of Partnership is to strengthen the relationship between AFN and CESO and facilitate joint work towards enhancing opportunities for First Nations institutional and human resources capacity building. AFN and CESO agree that capacity building is critical to the economic growth, community well-being, and nation-building of First Nations.
The objectives that were agreed upon are to support long-term and sustainable cooperation between the AFN, CESO, First Nation communities and governments, and funding and project partners to advance strong economic, social, cultural, and political structures, and to enhance institutional capacity at the regional and local levels through partnerships and skills development.
For the purpose of supporting this partnership, AFN and CESO have been working on a joint action plan that identifies four priority areas: governance, financial management, economic development, and emergency management.
In the area of governance, CESO proposes to provide transition planning and support (before and after elections), training for Chiefs and Councils, and training for Boards of Directors.
In the area of financial management, CESO will assist AFN with a review of INAC’s new intervention policy and the roll out of financial management tools.
In the area of economic development, CESO volunteer advisors will assist First Nations through expertise in corporate relations, assessment of business concepts, and review of business plans.
With respect to emergency management, CESO proposes to provide assistance to First Nations in developing strategies and plans to enhance emergency preparedness.
“We are very happy to re-new our partnership with CESO. It is a wonderful opportunity to further enhance a relationship that began thirteen years ago. CESO has provided important support to First Nation governments and we believe that this relationship will help provide our people with capacity and economic opportunities that will lead to stronger First Nation communities. Personally, I can attest to the great facilitative role that CESO can play in helping projects succeed. CESO Advisors bring with them deep experience and a broad network, making them very effective as mentors. We look forward to working with CESO on supporting First Nation communities in the key areas of governance, financial management, economic development and emergency management.”
Shawn A-in-chut Atleo – AFN National Chief
“CESO has been building economic and governance capacity in partnership with First Nations communities for over 40 years. The signing of our recent partnership agreement with the Assembly of First Nations creates an exciting opportunity to continue this work; work which will be even more critical going forward. At a time when the country faces a workforce shortfall, there is great opportunity for aboriginal youth to become a significant driver of the Canadian economy as they complete their education and head out into the working world. We look forward to working with the AFN to create stronger economies which will, in turn, create opportunities and a better quality of life for generations to come.”
Wendy Harris, CA - President and CEO of CESO
About the Assembly of First Nations
The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) is the national representative organization of the First Nations in Canada. There are over 630 First Nation communities in Canada. The AFN Secretariat is designed to present the views of the various First Nations through their leaders in areas such as: Aboriginal and Treaty Rights, Economic Development, Education, Languages and Literacy, Health, Housing, Social Development, Justice, Taxation, Land Claims, Environment, and a whole array of issues that are of common concern which arise from time to time.
Historically the First Nations have a unique and special relationship with the Crown and the people of Canada, as manifested in treaties and other historical documents. In essence, the special relationship is one of (negotiated agreement with a view toward) peaceful coexistence based on equitable sharing of lands and resources, and ultimately on respect, recognition, and enforcement of our respective right to govern ourselves. The AFN exists to promote the "restoration and enhancement" of this relationship and to ensure that it is mutually beneficial to the First Nations people.