Released in June 2019, the strategy identifies Canada’s sustainable development priorities
Every three years, Canada’s Federal Sustainable Development Strategy (FSDS) is updated with new priorities, goals and targets. It was renewed in June 2019 with the focus on the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The FSDS outlines the strategy for the federal government – with cooperation with Indigenous peoples and municipal communities – to support sustainable decision making and legislation. As the next step from the FSDS, federal departments and agencies will create their own strategies or participate on a voluntary bassi.
For municipalities, the FSDS outlines the direction of the federal government to engage with Canadians on sustainable development. The strategy recognizes that municipalities are on the front-lines of development so includes partnerships, collaboration and funding to achieve the goals on a community level.
Feedback from consultations included support for municipal action throughout the spectrum of sustainable development priorities.
“You spoke about the impacts of regulation and the price on carbon pollution, and you told us that faster and more transparent mechanisms for supporting municipal action and sustainable technology adoption are important across almost every priority area,” reads the strategy.
Here is what the FSDS says about the role of municipalities.
Achieving sustainable goals requires partnerships
The FSDS identifies the necessity for the federal government to collaborate with municipalities – in addition to Indigenous peoples, provinces, territories, non-governmental organizations, businesses and citizens.
Municipalities have a special role of overseeing investments into infrastructure at a community level.
Municipalities are key partners in climate action
Municipal governments have the potential to influence half of Canada’s greenhouse gas emission, according to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. In response this potential, the FSDS recognizes the benefit of investment into resilient and sustainable communities through energy efficiency. Municipalities also have a role in responses to climate-related disasters or emergencies.
Green infrastructure improves communities
Support, funding and training for green infrastructure assists municipalities to reduce emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change. Green infrastructure should be a component of a municipality’s asset management practice. Considering municipalities are responsible for nearly 60% of public infrastructure, they can accelerate integrating green infrastructure.
Biodiversity protection includes parks
Protection for habitat, wildlife, water and biodiversity is benefited from parks and green spaces within municipal boundaries. In addition, public green spaces provide additional connections for Canadians to nature.
Pollution and waste management requires collaboration
The role of municipalities in pollution and waste management includes policies and programs on air pollution, public transportation, waste management, buildings and other infrastructure. This is particularly important for substances that are toxic to humans, animals, plants and ecosystems.