Backgrounder : 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development


Overview of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

Canada and all United Nations (UN) Member States adopted the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development in 2015. It is a global call to action to eradicate poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity in every country. Built upon 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the 2030 Agenda aims to address the most pressing challenges facing the world today.  

The Government of Canada is committed to implementing the 2030 Agenda, and is pursuing domestic and international policies that are well aligned with the 2030 Agenda, such as:

  • eliminating poverty
  • building economic growth
  • reconciliation with Indigenous peoples
  • advancing gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls
  • taking action on climate change, clean energy, and oceans

In 2018, the Government of Canada committed funding over 13 years to support the 2030 Agenda as follows:

  • $49.4 million to establish a Sustainable Development Goals Unit (SDG Unit) within Employment and Social Development Canada and fund monitoring and reporting by Statistics Canada to effectively measure progress
  • $59.8 million ($4.6 million annually) for an SDG Funding Program to support implementation of the SDGs in Canada

Employment and Social Development Canada leads the coordination of Canada’s implementation of the 2030 Agenda, in close collaboration with all other departments and agencies. This includes:

  • Leading efforts on the implementation of the Canada’s 2030 Agenda National Strategy and Federal Implementation Plan for the 2030 Agenda
  • Raise public awareness of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs
  • Foster new partnerships and networks to advance the SDGs
  • Administer the SDG Funding Program for innovative and horizontal initiatives that support the achievement of the SDGs

All federal departments and agencies are responsible for integrating the 2030 Agenda into their work. They are also responsible for contributing to advancing the SDGs within their areas for responsibility.

Canada’s 2030 Agenda National Strategy

With the adoption of the 2030 Agenda, the Government of Canada started working to identify a common understanding and vision of Canada’s path towards making progress on the SDGs.  

In 2019, nation-wide consultations and in-person and online outreach campaigns generated feedback from Canadians across the country. This was compiled into Towards Canada’s 2030 Agenda National Strategy. This interim document outlines 30 actions and 5 core principles to serve as a foundation for the development of a national strategy that reflects a whole-of-Canada approach.

In February 2021, the Government of Canada released Moving Forward Together: Canada’s 2030 Agenda National Strategy as a vision of Canada’s path towards implementing the 2030 Agenda and identifying actions to advance progress on the SDGs.  

Moving Forward Together aims to create and foster an enabling environment to encourage all Canadians to learn about the SDGs and take action in their own ways.

To create this environment, Employment and Social Development Canada, together with other federal government departments and agencies, is leveraging new and existing opportunities to engage with all levels of government, Indigenous organizations, civil society, academia, the private sector and youth to develop mechanisms for ongoing collaboration on 5 core elements:

  • Enhancing leadership, governance and policy coherence
  • Raising awareness, engagement and partnerships
  • Ensuring accountability, transparency and reporting
  • Advancing reconciliation with Indigenous peoples
  • Investing in the SDGs

Implementing Canada’s National Strategy at the Federal Level

Canada’s Federal Implementation Plan for the 2030 Agenda articulates how the Government of Canada will contribute to advancing the National Strategy at the federal level. The Federal Implementation Plan outlines how federal government departments and agencies will work together to improve collaboration to advance the SDGs.

It further enhances public accountability with a clear commitment to:  

  • annually report on progress to advance the SDGs  
  • communicate and engage with stakeholders
  • showcase whole-of-society efforts to implement the 2030 Agenda 

Measuring Progress on the 2030 Agenda

Strong measurement

Measurement is essential for monitoring progress made towards advancing the SDGs. The Global Indicator Framework (GIF) includes 169 targets and 231 unique indicators. It is intended for the global follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda for all UN Member States. Statistics Canada has launched the SDG Data Hub to report on Canada’s progress at the global level. 

The UN also encouraged countries to develop their own indicators that are relevant to their particular context. To support domestic monitoring and reporting of the 17 SDGs, Statistics Canada, in collaboration with federal departments and agencies, developed a preliminary version of the Canadian Indicator Framework (CIF) in June 2019. A revised version was released in June 2021. The Canadian Indicator Framework includes ambitions, targets, and indicators to track progress on the SDGs in the Canadian context.

With the CIF, Canada will be able to:

  • chart its path toward advancing each of the SDGs
  • assess progress
  • correct its course
  • identify gaps
  • propose concrete actions

To ensure no one is left behind, the Canadian Indicator Framework for Sustainable Development Data Hub includes disaggregated data for many indicators. This includes disaggregation by age, sex, family type, income level, visible minorities, First Nations, Métis, Inuit, and immigration status. 

Canada’s Annual Report on the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs

The Government of Canada has committed to reporting on progress to Canadians every year. This was articulated in Canada’s Federal Implementation Plan for the 2030 Agenda.

In July 2022, the Government of Canada released its inaugural annual report, Taking Action Together - Canada’s 2021 Annual Report on the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals. The report demonstrates continued actions across the country to help advance the SDGs.

The report provides information on key Government of Canada programs, policies, and initiatives, as well as the efforts partners and stakeholders representing whole-of-society, in contributing to the 17 SDGs and the core objectives of Moving Forward Together: Canada’s 2030 Agenda National Strategy.

The Annual Report also highlights the outcomes and impacts of the SDG Funding Program. To date, the SDG Funding Program has supported 130 projects for approximately $22 million.

Ongoing engagement on the 2030 Agenda

The Government of Canada engages Canadians to raise awareness and foster dialogue on the SDGs.

There are a number of ways Canadians can support the 2030 Agenda.

Some examples of federal government activities to involve and engage Canadians in support of the SDGs include:

  • Canada’s Annual Report on the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs
  • SDG Funding Program
  • SDG Action Networking Series
  • United Nations High-Level Political Forum

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