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Planning for a Sustainable Future:
A Federal Sustainable Development Strategy for Canada
Sustainable Development Office
Chapter 6: Conclusion
This first FSDS represents an important step forward for sustainable development planning and reporting in Canada. It strengthens how the Government of Canada promotes environmental sustainability and improves the transparency and accountability of environmental decision-making. This new approach has been informed by the views of Canadians and stakeholders, the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development, and by best practices around the world.
The improvements are many. For the first time, Canadians can see, all in one place, the Government of Canada’s environmental sustainability priorities and our progress in achieving them. For the first time, federal departments and agencies are coordinated in their efforts to advance environmental sustainability with everyone moving in the same direction toward the same goals.
The Government of Canada has streamlined the process of planning for environmental sustainability and for reporting progress through better use of existing tools and information, such as the Expenditure Management System and the Canadian Environmental Sustainability Indicators. The Government has strengthened the application of Strategic Environmental Assessments in decision-making. The Government of Canada is now more attuned to the views of Canadians and stakeholders through the public consultation process.
These are important accomplishments. However, the Government of Canada also knows that more work remains to be done. It is committed to learning as the FSDS is implemented, with performance reports, and with the development of a new FSDS every three years. As the process matures and evolves, the Government of Canada will make adjustments: it will improve its integration of the three pillars of sustainable development – environmental, social, and economic; and it will be more capable of addressing gaps that become evident as the FSDS is implemented and progress is measured.
This adjustment over time is one of the strengths of this new approach. It is not rigid or static. It will respond to advances and to setbacks, and to changes in sustainability priorities in Canada. In this way, each new FSDS will be an improvement over the last and will place Canada ever closer to truly sustainable development.
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