Fort St. John welcomes South American women leaders

The City of Fort St. John is welcoming a group of women leaders from Peru and Colombia, as part of an international study tour on gender equality and women’s empowerment, May 6-13.

The delegation will tour local resource facilities, educational institutions, and visit non-profit organizations. The women, sponsored as part of a Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) program, will also meet with local First Nations, business and community leaders to discuss inclusivity and gender diversity.

“We are delighted to welcome these women to the City of Fort St. John and share our community’s expertise,” said Mayor Lori Ackerman, in a news release. “As a resource-based city, we have worked hard to create a sustainable and inclusive community through collaborative partnerships, and hope to share this knowledge with these remarkable community leaders who are making a difference in Peru and Columbia.”

In 2017, City of Fort St. John Council passed a resolution to sign an agreement with the mayors of Chumbivilcas province in the Cusco region of Peru to work on strengthening the planning of local economic development and the inclusion of women in municipal development processes.

The program saw Ackerman, senior city staff, and local economic development officials visit the Cusco region to assist local governments with sustainable economic development planning, government transparency and accountability in mining areas, and share best practices in effective local government operation.

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities program helps build more sustainable and inclusive communities in resource-based regions of Columbia and Peru through partnerships and learning opportunities from their Canadian counterparts. The Sustainable and Inclusive Communities in Latin America (Communidades Inclusivas y Sostenibles en América Latina) (CISAL) is a five-year program and funded through grants from Global Affairs Canada (fcm.ca/CISAL). It involves a number of municipalities from B.C. and across Canada that have experience successfully diversifying their local communities from single-employer and/or resource-based economies. The long-term outcome is that vulnerable groups within communities impacted by the mining sector enjoy increased social benefits and sustainable, inclusive economic opportunities.