The Navajo Green Economy Commission and Navajo Green Economy Commission Fund
In July 2009, the Navajo Green Economy Commission (NGEC) Act of 2009 and Navajo Green Economy Commission Fund Act of 2009 were passed by the Navajo Nation Council. Grand Canyon Trust played a crucial role in developing the language for the acts and presented the intended purpose of the legislation at Chapter community meetings, agency council meetings, council caucus meetings and, finally, to the Navajo Nation Council, where it passed with a vote of 62:1.
The NGEC’s operating budget and fund were not attached to the legislation when it passed. Since then, the tribal government has undergone major restructuring that reduced the Council from 88 to 24 members. Additionally, a new administration was elected. Since then, we have been working with the new Council members and administration to secure funds and develop a commission structure that complements the newly established government structure. In September 2011, the Trust helped produce a 2012 fiscal year operating budget for the NGEC but it was vetoed by the President, along with a pro-rated budget passed by the Council in January 2012.
Currently, the Trust is working with the tribal government to create a structure for the NGEC to work in tandem with these existing entities. Since its inception, NGEC has held numerous strategic planning sessions focusing on how to execute its duties within the scope of authority outlined in the legislation and to obtain funding for the operations.
The NGEC is a five-person commission of the Navajo Nation legislative branch established to fund green businesses, as well as community projects and initiatives specifically within the 110 chapter communities, and to address the Nation’s nearly 43 percent unemployment rate. Ultimately, NGEC will provide opportunities for the Navajo people to return to a functional green economy based on a traditional subsistence economy that ensures a harmonious and vigorous society, while also maintaining the Diné values of stewardship of all creation.
NGEC plans to launch small-scale solar projects, weaving co-ops, and community farming co-ops. NGEC was also tasked with establishing guidelines on “green” criteria for securing and allocating NGEC funds, as well as hiring an executive director whose primary responsibility will be to seek federal, tribal, state, and foundation monies to establish a project implementation fund.We continue to advise the NGEC and plan to work with the Commission after the office becomes funded to help them get established.