- Date submitted: 25 Oct 2011
- Stakeholder type: Member State
- Name: Canada
- Submission Document: Download
CANADA'S NATIONAL SUBMISSION
Twenty years after the Earth Summit much has been done to address the environmental and development challenges identified in 1992. However, many of the challenges still exist, others have grown more acute and new issues have emerged. It is clear that progress needs to be more
comprehensive and effective.
The UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD) in June 2012 in Brazil is an opportunity to reinvigorate efforts towards sustainable development through an international renewal of political commitment that highlights the economic importance of the sustainable use of natural resources and raises awareness of the economic and social costs of environmental damage
and its associated impact on human well-being.
The Government of Canada's approach to sustainable development emphasizes transparency and accountability in the integration of sustainability into government planning, reporting, programming and decision-making within the federal government. The cornerstone to this approach is Canada's Federal Sustainable Development Strategy (FSDS), which is an integrated, whole-of-government, results-based approach to achieve sustainability. A key component of the FSDS is the effective monitoring and reporting on goals and targets using indicators in order to track effectively and report on progress. The Government of Canada considers sustainability issues through its Cabinet Committee structure. Canada has many national institutions that address various aspects of sustainable development and that are part of the overall supportive framework for sustainable
development in Canada.
Over the last ten years, Canada has provided important contributions to the efforts of developing countries towards meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Canadian development assistance has been significantly increased and Canada is working to make its assistance more effective, accountable and responsive to the needs and priorities of developing countries. Canada doubled its international assistance from 2001 to 2010, with assistance to Africa doubling from 2003/04 to 2008/09. Canada has been a first-mover on announcing and disbursing against its 2009 G8 L'Aquila Summit commitments to support sustainable agricultural development. As of April 2011, Canada has fully disbursed its $1.18 billion L'Aquila commitment and is the first G8 country to do so. Canada has launched significant new initiatives to support maternal, newborn and child health (the 2010 G8 Muskoka Initiative), education and food security in developing countries, with a clear focus on sustainability of effort and impacts.
A critical component of Canada's Aid Effectiveness Agenda in support of the Paris Declaration is ensuring that aid is effective, accountable and responsive to the needs and priorities of its developing country partners. One means of achieving this is through the establishment of gender equality, governance and environmental sustainability as cross-cutting themes that are integrated
into development assistance.
Canada believes that countries need to focus and strengthen efforts on the management of their natural resources in a sustainable and socially responsible manner. These efforts should include policies that improve natural resource management, environmental sustainability and corporate social responsibility.
Particular attention should be given to assisting countries that face significant capacity challenges. Canada has taken a leadership role in corporate social responsibility (CSR) by launching in 2009 its CSR Strategy for the Canadian extractive sector operating abroad. The Strategy includes support for host country resource governance capacity-building initiatives such as the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative; endorsement and promotion of widely-recognized international CSR performance guidelines such as the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights; and the creation of the Office of the Extractive Sector CSR Counsellor.
Part I ? Conference Objective
Securing renewed political commitment for sustainable development is in the interest of all countries. Sustainable development requires conscious effort, priority and planning at all levels in order to be effective. National priorities need to support and align with local action and actors in order to achieve tangible results. In Canada's view, this requires a focus on practical steps for implementation which avoid duplication and overlap, harness broad support internationally and
make a difference in the lives of citizens.
The Conference can help make the case that a transition to a green economy can be consistent with the environmental, economic and social objectives underpinning sustainable development and poverty eradication. Canada sees the Conference as an opportunity to identify (a) policy tools and best practices to facilitate the transition and (b) a balanced suite of voluntary indicators for measuring progress towards a green economy. The Conference could also propose practical strategies to improve the existing institutional framework for sustainable development, with the objective of enhancing coherence and co-ordination, while reducing inefficiency and duplication. With the current global economic situation, priority needs to be given to the effective use of existing resources for sustainable development, and improving the quality and effectiveness of programs, more than ever. Canada would like the outcome document to be strategic, concise and focused on highlighting progress on the two Conference themes.
Part II ? A Green Economy in the Context of Sustainable Development and Poverty Eradication
Transitioning towards a green economy is a long-term process that requires the active engagement and leadership of many actors including industry and civil society as well as all levels of government. The engagement of the private sector, especially small and medium enterprises, is critical. The Conference could examine the means by which industry, civil society and government can work together to leverage their potential to create jobs, support workers through training and
skills development, access financing, advance innovative technologies, and influence the supply chain towards greener methods of production.
The five thematic priorities of Canada's international development assistance are sustainable economic growth, security and stability, democracy, children and youth and food security. Canada believes that the Conference should explore the opportunities associated with a green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication.
Using both regulatory and non-regulatory instruments according to national circumstances can enable the wide range of sectors and actors whose participation is necessary to successfully achieve a green economy. Well-designed regulations provide predictability for business, thus supporting innovation and economic growth while meeting environmental objectives.
In Canada, a number of policy tools and practices developed and implemented over the years have contributed to greening our economy. In that vein, a number of policy tools and best practices are included in Annex I for consideration as part of a green economy toolkit which Canada believes would be a useful contribution of the Conference towards sustainable development efforts. Examples include Canadian initiatives in the fields of chemicals management, corporate social responsibility and green accounting.
In order to provide evidence of progress towards a green economy, indicators will be needed that
can be applied flexibly to demonstrate the effectiveness of regulatory and non-regulatory actions, as
well as provide the data needed for evidence-based decision-making. Canada believes that a
balanced suite of indicators, adaptable to national circumstances, can assist governments to measure
progress as they transition to a green economy but their interpretation should consider differences in
national circumstances to avoid inappropriate comparisons. (See Annex B).
Part III ? Institutional Framework for Sustainable Development
Transparent, democratic and accountable systems of governance at the local and national level are vital to achieving sustainability globally and directly influence the ability of states to achieve sustainable economic, environmental and social development and security for their citizens.
There is significant scope for improvement with regard to the UN's ability to foster the integration of economic, social and environmental considerations into its support for sustainable development. Canada believes that the international framework for sustainable development could be enhanced through greater integration and coherence among economic, social and environmental objectives in the existing UN institutional system and on-the-ground programs of member states.
The existing UN structure includes many important bodies in which member states can discuss pressing sustainable development issues. These include the General Assembly, as well as the UN Economic and Social Council and its functional and regional Commissions. The programmes and funds, such as UNDP and UNEP also have a vital role to play, as well as the secretariats of the multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs). Canada considers that the Conference can serve as an opportunity to improve the current institutional arrangements for sustainable development to bring more cohesion and effectiveness and avoid duplication.
A number of ideas have been advanced for mainstreaming sustainable development within the UN. These have included enhancing UNEP, strengthening the integrative role of the UNDP, especially at the country-level, a new umbrella organization for sustainable development, a specialized agency such as a World Environment Organization, possible reforms to the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and the Commission on Sustainable Development, and enhanced institutional reforms and streamlining of present structures. While remaining open to discussing all options that could
promote better integration of sustainable development, in the current challenging global economic context, it is not possible in Canada's view to envisage the creation of new agencies such as a World
Environment Organization. Canada would like to explore options related to improving the effectiveness, coherence and coordination of UNEP and UNDP, as well as whether a more focused agenda and streamlined format at the UN Commission on Sustainable Development is feasible so that the outcomes make a more effective contribution to achieving sustainable development and the implementation of Agenda 21. Canada is also open to a discussion on whether ECOSOC could play a more integrative role with regard to international sustainable development.
In addition to these, another option that could also be considered as part of a "package" of institutional reforms is the elaboration of a framework that better enables the mainstreaming of sustainable development considerations (i.e., economic, social and environmental considerations) across the UN system, with a particular emphasis on the UN's programming activities at the country level. This approach would include efforts to support sustainable development considerations identified within national partners' development priorities as a core element of an enhanced
sustainable development partnership. The framework could be focused on improving existing mechanisms and structures and program delivery at the country level rather than the creation of new institutions (for further details see Annex III).
Canada looks forward to working constructively towards a successful Conference with concrete and practical results. Canada would like to see a concise outcome document that, on the green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication theme, fosters the sharing of best practices, encourages the exchange of information, improves the capacity to measure progress and provides support for the active engagement of the private sector; and on the institutional framework for sustainable development theme, promotes better coherence and coordination of existing mechanisms and structures for addressing sustainable development issues in the United Nations
system, in particular at the country level where the impact in people's lives is greatest.
Annex I - Policy Tools and Best Practices for a Green Economy Toolkit
The Government of Canada believes that the elaboration of a green economy toolkit would be a useful contribution of the Conference towards sustainable development efforts. Practical solutions would assist in securing renewed political commitment for sustainable development, and would help bring local actions in line with national priorities in a manner applicable to local circumstances. The sharing of policy tools and best practices reinforces Canada's interest to duplication and overlap and achieve concrete results in the pursuit of sustainable avoid development. Canada has identified a number of policy tools and best practices that could be considered for the toolkit, which are outlined below.
Decision-making and Results
Green accounting (or integrated environmental and economic accounting) measures linkages between the environment and the economy. Statistics Canada has played a leadership role in the development of green accounting since the first Rio conference. This tool has garnered increasing attention worldwide as governments and international organizations recognize the need to reconcile social and economic development with environmental sustainability. Variables measured in the Canadian accounts include greenhouse gas emissions, energy use, water flows and stocks of natural resources, and research is underway to develop accounts on ecosystem goods and services. As much as possible, the accounts include both physical and monetary measures, are complementary with the national economic accounts, and are based on internationally agreed concepts and methods.
Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) is a systematic and comprehensive process of examining the environmental and socio-economic effects of policies, plans and programs in order to influence decisions-making towards more sustainable paths. In Canada's experience, SEAs can alert decision makers to risks, incorporate community engagement and traditional knowledge, and facilitate cooperation across sectors and boundaries. The use of Integrated Strategic Environmental Assessment, which can incorporate other critical themes like gender equality and governance, can be a particularly good tool for furthering sustainable development and moving towards a green economy. As per a 2004 Cabinet directive, all Canadian federal departments must complete a SEA of a policy, plan or program proposal, including free trade agreements, when the proposal may result in important environmental impacts, either positive or negative. The results of the SEA are then integrated into the development of the proposal and inform ongoing decision making.
The integration of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) practices and principles into business operations can help companies contribute to the realization of a green economy. Canada has funded the development of a CSR Implementation Guide, a CSR Tool Kit for business, and a small and medium enterprise (SME) Sustainability Road Map. These free on-line tools provide practical guidance on why and how to integrate sustainability-oriented practices into business operations.
Themes include: governance, decision-making, human resources, purchasing and marketing, waste management, buildings, transportation, product design and development, and resource use. In March 2009, the Government of Canada announced Building the Canadian Advantage: a Corporate Social Responsibility Strategy for the Canadian International Extractive Sector. The four pillars of the Strategy are: 1) continuing support for host country capacity-building initiatives related to resource governance; 2) promotion of widely-recognized international corporate social responsibility performance guidelines; 3) the creation of the Office of the Extractive Sector Corporate Social Responsibility Counsellor to assist in the resolution of issues pertaining to the activities of Canadian companies abroad; and 4) support for the development of a Centre for Excellence in Corporate Social Responsibility to develop and disseminate high-quality CSR tools and training to stakeholders.
Well-designed regulations provide predictability for business thus supporting innovation and economic growth while meeting environmental performance objectives. An example of Canadian environmental policies and regulations that support these goals include Canada's approach to managing chemical substances through the Chemicals Management Plan (CMP), designed to protect the environment and human health by setting stringent standards, while also spurring
innovation and investment in the economy by being flexible, predictable, and cost effective. Canada was the first country in the world to categorize the thousands of chemical substances in use before comprehensive environmental protection laws were created. This has facilitated priority setting for those substances suspected to have the most dangerous properties and those requiring further research. Canada's risk-based approach relies on sound science, assessment, and monitoring, combined with a variety of tools to manage the potential risks posed by chemicals. The goal is to
safeguard human health and our environment while supporting economic growth.
The Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) is a public information tool that provides current conditions and daily forecasts about air quality levels. It is the first of its kind to communicate the short-term health risks posed by the air pollutant mixture (ground level ozone, particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide) which are known to harm human health including cardiovascular and respiratory effects. AQHI forecasts are currently available across Canada through Environment Canada's Airhealth.ca website and disseminated by a private broadcaster. The success of the AQHI can be attributed to
strong partnerships between Environment Canada, Health Canada, provincial governments and key stakeholder groups who share a common interest in ensuring that Canadians have access to information that can help them protect their health. It demonstrates environment-health linkages and as such can contribute to the green economy by influencing the behaviour of Canadians.
Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) was created by Canada to finance and support the development and demonstration of clean technologies which provide solutions to issues of climate change, clean air, water quality and soil, and which deliver economic, environmental and health benefits to Canadians. SDTC, which UNEP's Sustainable Energy Finance Initiative (SEFI) has called "a carefully crafted hybrid between grant and venture capital", targets the gap in earlystage venture capital financing, as well as the risk of proving a technology worthy of private investment. SDTC operates two funds aimed at the development and demonstration of innovative technological solutions. The $590 million SD Tech FundTM supports projects that address climate change, air quality, clean water, and clean soil. The $500 million NextGen Biofuels FundTM supports the establishment of first-of-kind large demonstration-scale facilities for the production of next-generation renewable fuels. Since 2002, SDTC has completed seventeen funding rounds and allocated a total of $515 million to 210 projects. That amount has been leveraged with an additional $1.2 billion in funding from other project partners for a total project value of $1.8 billion. SDTC has been recognized as a model by the OECD, which has stated that "SDTC plays a very positive role in enhancing Canada's competitive position in the environmental field." SEFI has noted that "SDTC's strategy exemplifies how taking aspects of different financial mechanisms can be very
To help support sustainable development initiatives and spur green innovation at the local level, the
Canada endowed the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) with $550 million to establish the Green Municipal Fund (GMF), which is co-managed by Natural Resources Canada and Environment Canada at arm's length (the FCM Board of Directors, the decision-making body for the GMF, is advised by a 15 member Council with five appointees from the federal government). The Fund supports municipal initiatives to improve local air, water and soil quality and promote renewable energy with grants and below-market loans. Through GMF, FCM provides funding to three types of initiatives: plans, studies and projects. Grants are available for sustainable community plans, feasibility studies and field tests, while a combination of grants and loans are available for capital projects. Funding, for which all Canadian municipalities and their partners are eligible, is allocated in five sectors of municipal activity: brownfields, energy, transportation, waste and water. The Fund promotes partnerships between, and leverages funds from, the public and private sectors.
Further, support for community investment in clean energy is also available from the GMF as well as the ecoENERGY for Aboriginal and Northern Communities program, which funds energy efficiency and renewable energy projects in First Nations, Inuit, Metis and northern communities
is vital to addressing climate change, food security, poverty reduction and sustainable development. The objective of the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases is to increase international collaboration and investment in public and private research activities to improve knowledge sharing, access to and application by farmers of sustainable practices and technologies. The exchange of existing and new science-based knowledge and practices can provide an opportunity for farmers to contribute to addressing the global challenges of climate change and food security, while pursuing sustainable livelihoods. Canada has initiated a $25 million Agricultural Greenhouse Gases Program to increase the development and adoption of sustainable practices that mitigate agricultural greenhouse gases, which can be shared domestically and internationally.
Sustainable Resource Management
The International Model Forest Network (IMFN) was introduced by Canada at UNCED in 1992, with the aim of sharing best practices with the world. Model Forests are large, forest-based landscapes where a wide variety of stakeholders work together to address social, environmental and economic issues in a sustainable manner. Model Forests provide a practical and flexible approach to sustainable forest management, with a focus on enabling local communities to address challenges specific to their landscapes for their benefit. Canada demonstrates its global commitment to issues such as biodiversity conservation, climate change and local economic development through support of the IMFN, a robust international network unique in bridging policy-making and on-the-ground delivery. With 58 Model Forests in nearly 30 countries, the IMFN provides the framework for exchanging innovative ideas between sites.
Canada's Green Mining Initiative (GMT), launched in 2009, brings together stakeholders to develop green technologies, processes and knowledge for sustainable mining. The GMI objectives are to improve the mining sector's environmental performance, promote mining innovation and position Canadian mining companies and suppliers as global leaders in green mining in an emerging market. Natural Resources Canada invests $8M annually on the GMI with an additional $3M in direct industry funding. The Green Mining Initiative has spurred green mining innovation across Canada, which led to significant progresses on a number of key R&D projects and new projects being launched. Examples include developing and testing, in collaboration with a Canadian equipment manufacturer, the first worldwide electric-diesel hybrid loader in a Canadian mine. Additional funding from Sustainable Development Technology Canada will result in the bringing to market of a new hybrid loader with over twice the production capacity of the first prototype. A green mining vehicle ? green energy roadmap is being developed to provide a strategy for selecting clean alternatives to diesel. Meeting strength requirements for a unique alternative binder process that could be used for mining backfill was also undertaken. Patenting is underway for this technology as well as for a technology developed to successfully recover gold without the use of cyanide. Results of a third year of monitoring on mine sites as part of the Green Mines Green Energy initiative continue to demonstrate that the growth of biomass crops on mine tailings is feasible. GMI is a striking example of good governance in sustainable mining and of what can be achieved throughout collaboration and partnerships. Benefits of increasing collaboration at the international level could be significant.
Canada's Integrated Oceans Management Program (IOM) supports regional processes through which decisions are made for the sustainable use, development and protection of Canada's marine ecosystem and resources. The IOM program provides federal, provincial and territorial authorities, industry and Canadians with the science and risk-based tools and governance fora needed to collaboratively develop Integrated Management Plans for defined ocean spaces. These plans, which incorporate social, economic and environmental considerations in decision making, are informed by the identification of Ecologically and Biologically Significant Areas; Species and Community properties; the mapping of human uses; and the assessment of potential interactions between uses and key functional and structural aspects of marine ecosystems. Outcomes of the IOM process also include the identification of conservation measures, including networks of marine protected areas needed to support the sustainable development of ocean resources contributing to Canada's
continuing fulfillment of international ocean-related commitments.
Sustainable Consumption and Production
Significant Canadian advancement in green building and sustainable community planning has been accelerated, in part, by federal programs such as the EQuilibriumTM Sustainable Housing Demonstration Initiative. Led by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) and supported by Natural Resources Canada's Canmet ENERGY expertise, this initiative will result in the design, construction and demonstration of 12 highly sustainable homes across the country which
produce as much energy as they consume on an annual basis. This cooperation between the public and private sectors has informed, inspired and accelerated the adoption of net zero energy healthy housing concepts nationally. Building on this successful initiative, the $4.2M EQuilibrium TM Communities initiative supports research, monitoring and showcasing of selected high performance neighbourhood projects. EQuilibrium TM Communities aims to provide measurable improvements over current practices in energy and water consumption, environmental protection, financial
viability, land use and transportation.
Canada has put in place a strategy for the environmentally sound and secure disposal of all of its surplus electronic and electrical equipment. The Federal E-waste Disposal Strategy emphasizes reuse prior to recycling, where possible. Reuse options include donation to Computers for Schools (CFS), interdepartmental transfer, charitable donation and sale to the public. The Strategy provides recycling options for equipment that cannot be reused including disposal through provincial
recycling programs and a standing offer for e-waste recycling services. The Strategy is contributing to the realization of the green economy in Canada by creating green jobs, diverting e-waste from landfill, supporting provincial recycling infrastructure and providing computer-based educational and learning opportunities.
Technology Roadmaps (TRMs) are effective tools to enhance the coordination and development of innovative industries and technologies, with benefits to sustainability and the green economy. Since 2002, Canada has used TRMs as forecasting tools that aim to determine future market needs, promote collaboration, and advance promising technologies. TRM processes allow government, industry and academia to work together to predict needs. Many TRMs focus on advancing emerging renewable and clean energy industries, or to address sustainability issues of other industrial sectors.
Industry Canada and Natural Resources Canada have completed TRMs for sustainable fuels and chemicals from biomass, hydrogen fuel cell commercialization, clean coal, and carbon capture and storage. Work continues on TRMs for marine energy and sustainable housing.
Among Canada's newer initiatives are green patents, or patent applications related to environmental technologies. Accelerating such patent applications can foster investment and expedite commercialization of technologies that could help to resolve or mitigate environmental impacts or to conserve the natural environment and resources. In 2011, the Canadian Intellectual Property Office implemented a new regulation to expedite the examination of green patents, and no
fee is required.
Annex II - Proposed Green Growth / Green Economy Indicators
As part of Canada's commitment to further dialogue and identify a balanced approach to measuring progress towards green growth, Canada believes there would be value in an international discussion on a suite of green growth indicators that countries could voluntarily choose to compile. In support of a constructive discussion at Rio+20, Canada is in favour of a process for the creation of a voluntary set of indicators. In this spirit, Canada has identified an illustrative set of indicators for international consideration building upon the OECD's ongoing work on green growth. Using the
OECD's Towards Green Growth framework as a lens, Canada's draft indicators have been groupedby the themes identified by the OECD. The policy rationale for the indicators selected in each theme is summarized below:
I. Environmental and resource productivity Indicators in this theme reflect the need for natural capital to be used efficiently. Sustainable growth will require the decoupling of economic growth and environmental impacts.
II. Natural asset base
Indicators in this theme reflect that traditional markets and accounting frameworks do not always properly reflect the risks associated with declining natural capital stocks. Further, longer-term economic prosperity requires an adequate asset base.
III. Environmental quality of life
Indicators in this theme reflect that environmental considerations can be particularly important to people when they have a direct impact on their lives. Indicators in this theme can be an effective bridge across the economic, social, and environmental pillars of sustainable development.
IV. Economic opportunities and policy responses
Indicators in this theme reflect that policies can help shape and define new opportunities.
Innovative markets and technologies can spur productivity and job growth while minimizing the
environmental footprint of goods and services. Work is required to ensure that the proposed indicators can overcome challenges in data, methodology, and comparability across countries. Canada looks forward to continuing to collaborate closely with the UN, the OECD, member countries, and other partners to further develop this important work.
Proposed green growth indicators
I. Environmental and resource efficiency and productivity
1. Production-based CO2 intensity
2. Demand-based CO2 intensity
3. Energy intensity
4. Share of renewable energy (by type) in total primary energy supply and in electricity production
5. Non-GHG emitting sources as a share of total primary energy supply and in electricity
6. Material intensity
7. Waste intensity
8. Nutrient flows and balances
9. Multi-factor productivity reflecting environmental services
II. Natural asset base
Physical and monetary (where possible) measures of key natural capital stocks:
10. Energy resources
11. Freshwater resources
12. Forest resources
13. Fish resources
14. Mineral resources
15. Land resources (land use and quality)
III. Environmental quality of life
17. Environmentally induced health problems & related costs
18. Population-weighted exposures to air pollution
IV. Economic opportunities and policy responses
19. R&D expenditure of importance to green growth
20. Patents of importance to green growth
21. Environment-related innovation in all sectors
22. Value of environmental goods and services produced in the economy
23. Value-added in environmental goods and services production
24. Imports and exports of environmental goods and services
25. Employment in environmental goods and services production (direct and indirect)
26. Capital and operating expenditures on environmental protection (remediation andmitigation)
Annex III - Institutional Framework for Sustainable Development Proposal
Better Integration of Sustainable Development Considerations in the UN System: a potential Outcome for Rio+20
This is a proposal for the elaboration of a framework that better enables the mainstreaming of sustainable development considerations (i.e., economic, social and environmental considerations) across the UN system, with a particular emphasis on the UN's programming activities at the country level. This approach would include efforts to support developing countries to integrate sustainable development considerations into their national development
plans and priorities as a core element of an enhanced sustainable development partnership.
This proposal is focused on improving existing mechanisms and structures and program delivery at the country level rather than the creation of new institutions and agencies. It is meant to serve as a contribution to the overall effort to improve the institutional framework for sustainable development
This proposal is focused on establishing sustainable development as a mainstream priority within UN programming in developing countries. As such, it seeks to address a gap in the context of the institutional framework for sustainable development, which includes efforts at strengthening sustainable development at the local, national, regional and international levels.
To achieve the integration of sustainable development considerations, a two-pronged approach could be adopted.
At the Country Level:
The first element is inspired by the Delivering as One initiative as an example of how to achieve greater coherence and coordination among UN activities at the country level.
UN programming within the Delivering as One framework is based on the UN Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF). It is the role of the Resident Coordinator to ensure its implementation. Following the principle of national ownership, whereby the UN Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) is built upon the national priorities set out by the host country under the principles elaborated by the Paris Declaration and the Accra Agenda for Action, there
would be the need for program countries to identify sustainable development within their national plans or poverty reduction strategies.
An opportunity for this is presented by the Rio+20 Conference, the objective of which is to secure renewed political commitment for sustainable development. One possible outcome of the conference could be for member states to commit to identifying sustainable development as a priority within their national development plan, perhaps with the formal relabelling of UNDAF as the UN Sustainable Development Assistance Framework, or something comparable.
Once identified as a national priority, the Resident Coordinator would coordinate the mainstreaming of sustainable development considerations and their implementation by the various UN agencies active within the country while ensuring their coherence and consistency in accordance with national priorities.
The Resident Coordinator would rely on the input of those agencies with mandates related to the three pillars of sustainable development: UNEP and UNDP, among others, with respect to the environmental pillar; the UN Regional Economic Commissions with respect to the economic pillar; and a combination of agencies including inter alia UNDP, UN Women, UNESCO and UNICEF with respect to the social pillar.
At the Headquarters Level:
The second element could involve calling for all UN entities to mainstream sustainable development considerations across all areas of their work. While many of these entities already incorporate sustainable development considerations within their activities, there is a need to ensure both the priority and the coherence of the UN system's engagement and activities related to sustainable development on an ongoing basis. One possible method of achieving this could be through the inclusion of a call for the UN system and for each UN entity governing body to do so within the Rio+20 outcome document.
The Rio+20 document could call on the UN Secretary-General to provide high-level guidance to UN entities to mainstream sustainable development considerations as a top priority for operational activities. Consideration could be given to updating the mandate of the United Nations Development Group (UNDG) ? the UN body supporting the Resident Coordinator and the UN country teams in the delivery of coherent programming and the attainment of internationally agreed
development goals ? so that its focus on sustainable development is made explicit.
Consideration could also be given to providing a formal, permanent role for UNEP within theUNDG Advisory Group, which is tasked with providing frequent guidance to the UNDG on operational dimensions of the Resident Coordinator system, including ensuring the coherence of country level development operations. Other options for headquarters governance could be considered.
This proposal could also be complemented by measures to improve the effectiveness,coherence and coordination of other existing structures with mandates related to sustainable development, such as UNDP and UNEP.