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Operating Principles for Sustainable Development
The following principles will guide the Department’s work throughout Sustainable Development Strategy – Now and for the Future:
Accountability and Transparency – Within our defined role, we will develop results-based action plans outlining what we propose to do and when it will be done, and provide indicators to measure progress toward sustainable development. We will monitor the outcomes of our activities, taking corrective action where necessary, and publicly report on our progress. We will ensure open decision-making processes.
Consultation and Partnerships – We will pursue federal responsibilities that contribute to sustainable development in partnership with a diverse array of stakeholders. We will consult with our partners to understand their needs and to build consensus on common objectives and actions.
Integrated decision-making – We will make decisions based on sound economic, environmental and social principles, relying on tools such as environmental assessment and scientific assessments of risk. We will improve our ability to analyze decisions for their life-cycle environmental impacts, their full costs and benefits, and their implications for society.
Science and knowledge – We will promote the use and availability of scientific data, traditional knowledge and sound analytical processes to assess and manage risks to environmental and human health, society and the economy.
Precaution – Where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty will not be used as a reason for postponing cost-effective measures to prevent environmental degradation.
Anticipation and prevention – Preventing problems before they arise is more effective than responding to them after they occur. We will promote pollution prevention, as opposed to clean-up, to avoid or minimize the creation of waste and pollution and to make more efficient use of resources.
Ecosystem integrity – We recognize that resource development must remain within the capacity of natural ecosystems to respond, adapt and recover from human disturbance while maintaining the basic ecological functions that support life.
Efficient use of resources – We will promote policies, practices and technologies that reduce consumption and make the most efficient use of natural resources in order to support a sound economy, while minimizing wastes and adverse impacts on the environment.
Continuous improvement and innovation – Our commitment to sustainable development will be based on an openness to new approaches and will continually be updated and adapted to reflect new knowledge, technology, information and ideas.
Intergenerational equity – We will uphold our responsibility to provide a legacy for future generations in terms of their natural heritage, economic opportunities and social well-being.
Shared responsibility – Sustainable development is the responsibility of the entire Government of Canada and of all Canadians.
Setting an example – We will promote sustainable development through our actions as well as through laws, policies and programs.