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Sustainable Development Strategy 2007- 2009
Appendix 2: Evolution of NRCan's Sustainable Development Strategy
NRCan’s SDS is a management tool to guide our efforts towards sustainable development, as well as a strategic planning document that has enabled us to integrate SD into the way we think, plan and carry out the business of the Department. Just as the concept of sustainable development is a journey, NRCan’s SDS has taken a path of continuous improvement. The process has been just as important as the document itself as we have worked to integrate sustainable development into our daily business. While there is still much work to do, the Department has made measurable progress.
Since the 1995 amendments to the Auditor General Act , NRCan has been among some thirty federal departments that have prepared three strategies: in 1997, 2001 and 2004. The Department’s first strategy, Safeguarding our Assets, Securing our Future , focused on aligning the goals of the strategy with the goals of the Department, and developing a common performance measurement framework. With this framework in place, the second strategy, Now and for the Future, focused on developing time-bound, measurable targets, linking outcomes to actions. These two strategies thus formed an important foundation for future efforts, which also influenced departmental planning and reporting efforts, and helped to ‘mainstream’ sustainable development within NRCan.
Having made progress to mainstream sustainable development, the Department was advised by external stakeholders and reviewers of the document to move forward and build on the foundation of the two previous strategies for its third document, Moving Forward. Moving Forward articulated a vision for SD, identified barriers to this vision, and developed key results and actions to address these barriers. The department sought to develop a focused framework for action based on these key results. The Department is on track to meet the commitments made in Moving Forward (progress reports are available on the Department’s SD Web site, and a final report will be published in the fall of 2007). The success of Moving Forward will be measured following the completion of implementation on March 31, 2007.
Changes between SDS 2004 and SDS 2006
Preparations for SDS 2006, Achieving Results indicated that both internal and external stakeholders wished to see a document even more focused. With a broad strategy, and even with our efforts to focus 2004, it was difficult to see clear priorities—particularly as the business of the Department is sustainable development. Discussions among senior management indicated that the role of the strategy is to articulate a few key priorities—this is what we have sought to do. SDS 2006 has enabled us to get closer to this goal.
Between tabling SDS 2004 and Achieving Results, we gained a better understanding of logic models, and we worked with our interdepartmental colleagues on a common logic model for the federal SD goals to increase collaboration and accountability government-wide. NRCan’s SDS contributes to these federal goals, as noted in Section III, Measuring Performance. This work helped us to develop a more focused framework that is the basis for Achieving Results. We also worked to identify stronger and more relevant performance measures.
In our internal review of Moving Forward, the SD strategy team was challenged by the departmental management committee to be innovative with the SDS. The major difference between the third and fourth strategies is that there are fewer goals, and wording of the goals has been modified to focus on results that clearly show NRCan’s role.
The Department is currently working to develop a Natural Resources Policy Framework for Canada that will guide the Department’s work going forward. The need to develop an SDS that was focused was thus imperative this time as the intent of this three year strategy is not to be exhaustive but to address key SD issues of concern and make meaningful progress over the three-year period.