Federal Sustainable Development Strategy 2013 to 2016

The 2013-16 Federal Sustainable Development Strategy (FSDS) sets out a whole-of-government picture of federal goals, targets and specific actions (implementation strategies) to achieve environmental sustainability, organized under four themes: Addressing Climate Change and Air Quality; Maintaining Water Quality and Availability; Protecting Nature and Canadians; and Shrinking the Environmental Footprint - Beginning with Government. The strategy’s objective, as defined by the Federal Sustainable Development Act, is to make environmental decision making more transparent and accountable to Parliament.

The 2013-16 FSDS establishes goals and targets for the next three-year FSDS cycle, making significant improvements since the 2010-13 FSDS. New targets on climate change adaptation and sustainable agriculture have been added, and existing targets have been revised to make them more specific, measurable and clear.

Implementation of the 2013-16 FSDS is expected to result in indirect, positive environmental effects. These effects may occur where expanded or improved goals and targets are considered in strategic environmental assessments (SEAs), and where more specific and measurable targets enable the government to identify and address areas for further improvement. Areas where positive effects could occur as a result of expanded or improved targets include climate change adaptation, sustainable agriculture, wastewater and industrial effluent, aquatic ecosystems such as those in Lake Simcoe/South-eastern Georgian Bay and Lake Winnipeg, outdoor air pollutants, and water management in government operations.

Monitoring and reporting of results is integral to the FSDS approach. Thorough documentation and reporting is also a key feature of the government’s approach to SEA. Monitoring and reporting on FSDS progress during the 2013-16 cycle will use three key vehicles:

  • FSDS progress reports - Reports on the government’s progress in implementing the FSDS (including progress toward achieving the goals and targets) are required at least every three years.
  • Departmental Sustainable Development Strategies (DSDS) - DSDS performance reporting complements FSDS progress reports by providing performance information on departments’ and agencies’ specific FSDS commitments.
  • Canadian Environmental Sustainability Indicators (CESI) - Indicators for measuring progress on FSDS Themes 1-3 are drawn largely from the CESI program. Updated indicator information is provided on an ongoing basis through the CESI website.

In addition, departments and agencies are responsible for reporting on the extent and results of their SEA practices in their Reports on Plans and Priorities and Departmental Performance Reports (DPRs). This reporting includes a description in DPRs of how plans, programs and policies subject to SEA have affected or are expected to affect progress towards the FSDS goals and targets. DPR reporting, in conjunction with SEA public statements, will enable monitoring of the extent to which the goals and targets of the 2013-16 FSDS are considered in SEAs.

Relevant Links:

2013-16 Federal Sustainable Development Strategy

Canadian Environmental Sustainability Indicators

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