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Sustainable Development Strategy
Moving Forward

Moving Forward is an action plan geared to realizing the Department’s long-term vision. Turning the vision into reality depends upon achieving four key results. These results, and the issues that threaten Canada’s ability to achieve them, are identified in Section III, The Issues. The contributions of stakeholders who participated in the consultations leading up to the third SDS (see Appendix 2) assisted the Department in arriving at its vision and the key results which have become the Strategy’s focal points.

Progress towards the vision will be assessed through the evaluation of the steps taken to achieving the four key results, best described as ‘mileposts’ on the journey towards NRCan’s long-term vision. They are intended to describe the specific results that NRCan is best positioned to address, although they are not achievable by NRCan alone. A number of metrics for tracking progress are identified for each key result; some are specific to NRCan, others broader. NRCan has identified a series of commitments aimed at achieving these results. For purposes of the Strategy, these are categorized as departmental actions. These actions, in turn, are advanced by specific, measurable targets.

Reading the tables

The summary chart that follows illustrates the linkages between the issues, the key result they relate to, and the actions the Department is planning to take during the period of the third Sustainable Development Strategy. Included in the column featuring the key result is a list of the metrics that will be used to measure the Department’s progress. Each of the actions found on the summary chart is expanded in the tables that form the central part of the Strategy. There is one section for each key result, introduced by a overview of the Department’s role in achieving the result.

The action tables follow a consistent format, with the action listed across the top and the individual items described in the body of the table. Reading the columns across from left to right shows a progression from a description of the specific issue, to NRCan’s approach to addressing the issue, to the specific, measurable target that will be achieved within the timeframe of this SDS, to the anticipated outcome of the activity. In some cases, related items have been presented as one action item, in other words, as a single row in the action table.

Identifying NRCan’s core competencies

The stakeholder consultations also helped NRCan to define the Department’s core competencies for sustainable development. Discussion on the issues led to a better understanding of what stakeholders expect the Department to address; discussion of how NRCan is positioned to do this led to the emergence of three key competencies. These competencies, or strengths, of the Department are the three areas where NRCan is viewed to be well-positioned to make a significant contribution to sustainable development. Agreement on these points was consistent throughout the consultations.

First, it was widely agreed that NRCan is a recognized expert in the development and provision of tools and applications to improve our understanding of Canada’s natural resources and to help Canada to optimize the value and contribution of resources to sustainable development. The need to build, apply and share best practices and models for resource stewardship was also consistently conveyed in each of the sessions, with stakeholders acknowledging that NRCan is well positioned to continue making advances in this area. Finally, NRCan was encouraged to work with stakeholders (including governments, industry and communities) to ensure appropriate policy and governance for sustainable development at home and abroad. These key competencies are essentially the how of the strategy. They will be threaded throughout the strategy. The icons in the box below illustrate each of the core competencies. They are used throughout the document to identify which of these core competencies are at work for each of the actions.


Reporting our progress

Together, all of the elements described above, form the basis for the architecture of Moving Forward. The Strategy is grounded in the Department’s Planning and Reporting Accountability Structure (see Section VI). The five strategic outcomes and associated objectives provide the foundation for the Sustainable Development Strategy, ensuring credibility and accountability.

SD-AIMS, the Department’s Sustainable Development Action Items Management System, is a Web-based tracking and reporting tool that enables timely and accurate reporting of progress and performance on NRCan’s Sustainable Development Strategy action commitments.

Moving Forward follows the path established in previous strategies by remaining grounded in the Department’s five strategic outcomes , but it also sets out in a new direction by establishing focussed priorities—essentially, the ‘transformative pieces’ where NRCan can make this Strategy the change-management tool necessary to support the shift towards sustainable development.

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Summary Chart: Sustainable Development Strategy–Moving Forward
Issues Key Result Actions
  • Significant information gaps exist in the baseline knowledge that feeds decision making
  • More work is needed on the development and refinement of SD indicatorsfor the resource sectors
  • Increases in efficiency alone will not be enough to meet our SD objectives - S&T must provide new solutions
  • Small- and medium-sized enterprises in the resource sectors need to increase their understanding and uptake of SD
  • Aboriginal, northern, rural and remote communities face unique and difficult SD challenges
  • Canadians understanding of SD is increasing, yet this is not reflected in consumer trends

1) Canadians make better decisions that advance sustainable development

As evidenced by:

  • increased individual, community and organizational capacity
  • increased public stewardship (e.g. participation in recycling programs)
  • increased participation in decisions about land and resource development/use
  • increased skills and employment opportunities
  • maintained/increased economic contribution of natural resources to GDP
  • increased investment in natural resource sectors and allied industries increased effectiveness of regulation and efficiency of regulatory processes
  • increased multi-stakeholder dialogue

1.1  Provide knowledge and decision-support tools for resource decision-makers

1.2  Undertake science and technology and develop strategies to advance resource stewardship

1.3  Increase understanding of water resource supply and minimize impacts of natural sector activities on aquatic ecosystems

1.4  Apply, support and share best practices and models

1.5  Support policy, dialogue and governance to increase the contributions of Canada’s resource sectors to sustainable development

1.6  Engage Aboriginal communities in sustainable land and resource development and use

1.7  Facilitate skills development and increase public outreach

  • Canada needs to take action on many fronts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, in order to make progress towards meeting international commitments
  • There will be increasing environmental, social and economic impacts resulting from climate change - Canada needs to be prepared

2) Canadians are taking action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to the effects of climate change

As evidenced by:

  • decreased emissions of greenhouse gasses and pollutants
  • improved energy efficiency
  • increased production and use of renewable energy
  • increased levels of resource recovery and recycling
  • increased deployment of eco-efficient technologies
  • increased understanding of Canada’s vulnerabilities to climate change impacts
  • increased development and application of targeted adaptation strategies, plans and actions

2.1  Advance policy and dialogue to address climate change

2.2  Achieve emissions reductions through energy efficiency, renewable and alternative energy, and carbon sequestration

2.3  Establish greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets for key industry sectors

2.4  Undertake S&T to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and improve Canada’s ability to further mitigate and adapt to climate change impacts

  • Many key issues facing SD cannot be addressed by one country acting alone - global issues require international solutions
  • Unsustainable resource development abroad can negatively affect Canada - it is in Canada’s interest to build SD capacity abroad
  • Barriers to international trade of resource products negatively affect Canada’s economy

3) Canada is globally recognized as a responsible steward of our natural resources and is a leader in advancing sustainable development internationally

As evidenced by:

  • maintained or increased market access for Canadian resource products and producers
  • increased investment in Canada’s natural resource sectors
  • increased use of voluntary stewardship initiatives by resource sectors
  • increased recognition of the importance of natural resources to sustainable development
  • increased international dialogue related to sustainable development within the natural resource sectors

3.1  Address issues related to resource access within Canada, and international market access issues concerning Canadian natural resource products and producers

3.2  Forge partnerships for advancing the contributions of natural resource sectors to sustainable development internationally

3.3  Promote best practices for sustainable development abroad

  • To promote sustainable development effectively, government must have its house in order
  • There is a need to improve the data that can demonstrate progress on sustainable development objectives
  • This is an opportunity to lead by example

4) NRCan demonstrates its commitment to sustainable development in its operations

As evidenced by:

  • implementation of an environmental management system
  • management of emissions and effluents
  • reduced energy consumption/ greenhouse gas emissions
  • reduced water consumption
  • sustainable land use

4.1  Improve NRCan operations through sound environmental management

4.2  Develop and implement further strategies to improve resource use efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in NRCan facilities

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