Federal Sustainable Development Strategy 2016 to 2019

The Federal Sustainable Development Strategy is the federal government’s primary vehicle for sustainable development planning and reporting. It sets out federal sustainable development priorities, establishes goals and targets, and identifies actions to achieve them.

The 2016-2019 Federal Sustainable Development Strategy presents 13 aspirational goals which represent Canada’s commitment to the environment-related sustainable development goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It also includes stronger and more ambitious targets, new short-term milestones, and clear action plans. An interactive “e-strategy” ensures the Strategy is accessible and will allow for updating over the next three years.

Public consultations on the draft Strategy, which ran from February 26 to June 24, 2016, were instrumental in shaping the final version. In addition to improving our targets and indicators, changes made following public consultations included filling gaps that Canadians saw in the Strategy, such as sustainable food, and adding information on what individual Canadians can do to advance sustainable development.

Progress on achieving the targets will be tracked primarily using the Canadian Environmental Sustainability Indicators (CESI) and reported through the CESI website and the Strategy’s progress reports. Departments and agencies will also report on progress toward their specific environmental sustainability commitments through Departmental Sustainable Development Strategies.

The Strategy is expected to have both direct and indirect benefits for the environment. By setting specific and measurable targets and requiring both departmental and whole-of-government reporting, it is expected to encourage ambitious action on a range of environmental sustainability issues and increase the likelihood that we will meet our environmental objectives.

By setting aspirational goals that apply across 41 departments and agencies, the Strategy will promote policy coherence, helping to direct federal action toward common objectives and increasing its effectiveness. By aligning our environmental sustainability priorities with those of the international community, the Strategy will also contribute to global efforts to implement the 2030 Agenda.

Finally, as a result of the requirement for federal departments and agencies to consider the impacts of their proposed policies, plans and programs when conducting strategic environmental assessments, the Strategy will support integrated decision making and enable more comprehensive assessments, potentially providing additional environmental benefits across departments and agencies, in all areas covered by the Strategy.

While these potential benefits are significant, further progress is possible as  future amendments to the Act could enhance the ability of future strategies to provide further benefits to the environment.

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