Adoption of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: strategic environmental assessment public statement

A review of the potential environmental impacts of Canada’s implementation of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Adopted by 193 United Nations (UN) member states in 2015, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (2030 Agenda) sets out an ambitious 15-year global framework that includes 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 targets which are balanced across the social, economic, and environmental dimensions of sustainable development. These goals apply to all countries and mobilize efforts to end all forms of poverty, fight inequalities, tackle climate change, and ensure that no one is left behind.

Budget 2018 proposed to provide $49,400,000 over 13 years, starting in 2018 to 2019 to establish a SDG Unit and fund monitoring and reporting activities by Statistics Canada. This will allow better coordination among all levels of government, civil society organizations and the private sector on Canada’s efforts towards the attainment of the SDGs. It will also support the monitoring and reporting of Canada’s domestic and international efforts to ensure that all of the SDGs are achieved by 2030 and that no one is left behind. Budget 2018 also proposed to provide, from existing departmental resources, up to $59,800,000 over 13 years, starting in 2018 to 2019, for programming to support the implementation of the SDGs.

Canada's approach to implementing the 2030 Agenda will drive progress on the SDGs by increasing policy coherence and engaging partners and stakeholders. Among other things, creating the SDG Unit will support implementation of the 2030 Agenda by:

  • leading the design of the 2030 Agenda National Strategy to advance the SDGs
  • coordinating engagement with other government departments, provinces and territories, municipalities, Indigenous partners and other stakeholders, and leveraging existing fora where possible, to build a consensus around a national effort to achieve the SDGs in Canada
  • coordinating communications activities to raise public awareness of the 2030 Agenda and fostering new partnerships and networks to advance the SDGs
  • working with core departments, and the broader federal community, to prepare the overall narrative on Canada’s performance towards the achievement of the 2030 Agenda and to report on and monitor progress on the 2030 Agenda National Strategy
  • administering a new funding program for innovative and horizontal initiatives that support the SDGs

Canada’s approach was further elaborated in Canada's Voluntary National Review Report to the UN’s High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) which was presented in July 2018. Through the HLPF, Canada made meaningful contributions to global discussions on the path forward to implement the 2030 Agenda. Canada is expected to complete a second Voluntary National Review before 2030.

This whole-of-government and whole-of-society approach to implementing the 2030 Agenda will support progress on the SDGs across Canada. While the 2030 Agenda is centered on social, economic and environmental dimensions of sustainable development, positive environmental effects are expected in SDG areas such as:

  • SDG 6 (clean water and sanitation)
  • SDG 7 (affordable and clean energy)
  • SDG 11 (sustainable cities and communities)
  • SDG 12 (responsible consumption and production)
  • SDG 13 (climate action)
  • SDG 14 (life below water)
  • SDG 15 (life on land)

Advancement of the SDGs will also have positive environmental impacts on the 13 goals and targets of the 2016 to 2019 Federal Sustainable Development Strategy (FSDS). This is Canada's primary vehicle for environmental sustainable development planning and reporting. For example, accelerated progress on SDG 12 (responsible consumption and production) would positively impact FSDS goals, including:

  • effective action on climate change
  • low-carbon government
  • clean growth
  • safe and healthy communities

Accelerated progress on SDG 15 (life on land) would positively impact FSDS goals:

  • sustainably managed lands and forests
  • healthy wildlife populations

Annex 3 of the 2016 to 2019 FSDS outlines the links between its goals and the SDGs of the 2030 Agenda.

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