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Sustainable Development Strategy
Over ten years ago, at the 1992 United Nations Conference on the Environment and Development (UNCED—also called the Earth Summit), held in Rio de Janeiro, the international community adopted Agenda 21, a global blueprint for action on sustainable development.
The World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) which took place in the summer of 2002, in Johannesburg, South Africa, convened as a ten-year retrospective on global efforts to implement sustainable development. Thousands of delegates reflected on the progress made, examined the barriers to sustainable development, and identified further challenges to the implementation of Agenda 21.
Natural Resources Canada played a formative role in shaping Canada’s contribution to the WSSD, including some of Canada’s positions taken during the negotiations of the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation (JPOI)—a key outcome of WSSD. The Department brought forward its wealth of experience in sustainable forest management, stressed the importance of a broad energy supply mix in the provision of energy services, and launched the Global Dialogue on Mining, Minerals, Metals and Sustainable Development, in partnership with South Africa. NRCan also championed the critical role of sound science, particularly geoscience and geomatics in support of land and resource management.
Post-Johannesburg, NRCan continues to work with its partners—in Canadian industry, other federal departments, all levels of government, non-governmental organizations, educational institutions, Aboriginal organizations and Canadian communities—as it delivers on its national mandate and the commitments made in Johannesburg. NRCan’s contirbutions are made primarily through the Department’s ongoing scientific research, information sharing, and policy and program development. This experience and expertise helps to inform and shape Canadian foreign policy related natural resource issues, particularly where resource issues are linked to global concerns such as climate change and access to energy services.
NRCan, as a member of the Canadian delegation to the Johannesburg Summit, had the opportunity to work together with delegates representing other countries to address the barriers and challenges to the implementation of sustainable development. Where the JPOI addresses natural resources issues, the recommendations, goals and objectives echo many of Canada’s own goals and objectives. In some cases, Canada’s policies and performance exceed the recommendations of the JPOI.
NRCan’s Sustainable Development Strategy reflects the JPOI goals and objectives that resonate with its national mandate and Canadian circumstances. The Department will continue to be engaged in Canada’s participation in the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development’s annual meetings, the main forum for follow-up to Johannesburg. NRCan’s science and policy expertise will shape Canadian participation at the twelfth and thirteenth sessions of the UNCSD, with a particular focus on the energy discussions for the thirteenth session. It is through this process that the Department will report on its activities related to JPOI implementation, and reflect the evolving Canadian experience of natural resources’ contribution to sustainable development.