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NRCan’s Evolving Strategy: The First Three Years
NRCan was one of 29 federal departments and agencies that tabled Sustainable Development Strategies for the first time in Parliament in 1997. The initial Strategy was recognized as a key tool to address sustainable development challenges at all levels: policy, science and technology programs, legislation/regulations and departmental operations.
The implementation of the first SDS has led to a number of key accomplishments that have advanced sustainable development. Lessons learned through the first SDS were instrumental in determining the direction for SDS – Now and for the Future, which will guide NRCan activities through to the end of 2003.
The Department’s strong foundation for its SDS was critical to the success of its first strategy. This foundation – which will continue to support SDS – Now and for the Future – is composed of three pillars:
- stakeholder engagement;
- performance measurement; and,
- an effective management system.
Since the first round of consultations held for the first SDS, NRCan has maintained an ongoing dialogue with stakeholders through progress reports, questionnaires to provide input and comments, a Web site with links to key documents and related work, and face-to-face multi-stakeholder meetings. Public engagement is a key component of the Department’s ongoing approach to sustainable development and we are appreciative of the enduring level of interest and support demonstrated by stakeholders.
NRCan will continue to seek the counsel of Canadians as the commitments made under SDS – Now and for the Future are implemented. The Department will further strengthen its partnerships with individual Canadians, environmental groups, industry associations, professional associations, academic institutions, private companies, other levels of government and other federal government departments.
From the outset, NRCan recognized that a consistent system to measure its performance would be critical to the implementation of the Department’s 1997 Strategy. Consequently, the Department realigned its policy goals to match those in the Strategy and developed a single set of performance indicators to meet various reporting needs. The performance indicators, developed in consultation with stakeholders, enable NRCan to measure its performance against the objectives of its SDS. NRCan is now well positioned to report on this established performance measurement framework. These indicators form a vital component of our progress towards the Department’s vision of a sustainable future. The performance measurement framework is described in Appendix A.
NRCan uses leading-edge environmental management tools and practices to advance sustainable development through its own operations. It has strong support from senior management and its Sustainable Development Working Group. The Department employs a team approach to the development, implementation and monitoring of the SDS. Reviews of this management system are conducted to ensure accountability and results.
Accountability for Sustainable Development at NRCan
NRCan is committed to implementing its SDS and to holding itself accountable to Canadians for its actions.
The Deputy Minister of NRCan has appointed an Assistant Deputy Minister to act as a champion of the SDS. The Director General of the Corporate Policy and Portfolio Coordination Branch and the Senior Director of Sustainable Development and International Affairs are responsible for strategy development, implementation and reporting.
The Senior Director of Sustainable Development and International Affairs chairs the Sustainable Development Working Group, which is comprised of directors and senior analysts from all sectors and corporate branches.
The Department will seek input from its independent advisory panel, made up of a cross section of interested stakeholders, regarding progress toward SDS implementation and priorities for the future.
An annual report will be prepared detailing the implementation of this strategy. This report will be reviewed by the Department’s Management Committee and published on NRCan’s Web site. A summary will be part of the Department’s annual report on performance submitted to Parliament.
NRCan will continue to integrate sustainable development accountability into the performance accords of senior departmental managers.