chapter
4 Pages

Coherence can be

In Canada, a slightly different approach has been followed to develop a ‘national’ strategic response to sustainable development challenges. Individual ministries/departments in government are expected to take a lead in integrating sustainable development into sectors and policy communities. There is no single national strategy for sustainable development. Nor does one institution ‘strategise’ for the others.9 Instead, parliament has established a ‘Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development’ to hold all of government accountable for ‘greening’ its policies, operations and programmes, and for ensuring sustainability is central to all of these. Thus, its prime responsibilities include monitoring, evaluation and coordination. Legislation requires all federal ministries (including finance, trade and foreign affairs) to table departmental sustainable development strategies in parliament. An advantage of this approach is that it enables a greater clarity on what sustainable development means for a particular sector. The departmental strategies are prepared under the guidance provided by a 1995 government policy statement on sustainable development, A Guide to Green Government which gives direction on broad objectives, priority areas and how the strategies are to be structured and prepared (Box 4.13). However, it remains to be seen how effective this singularly different approach proves to be. Much will depend on the extent to which parliament is required to act upon the advice and recommendations provided by the Commissioner. One area where government departments have determined that more work needs to be done is in developing more coordinated approaches to sustainable development issues that cut across departmental mandates. To this end, departments have agreed to work closely together on a number of theme areas and to reflect them in their individual strategies.