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SDG 17: Partnerships for the goals

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The environmental perspective

While the concept of partnerships for the goals is broad, the focus of this chapter is on strengthening partnerships to promote global action on sustainable development. This focus directly supports SDG Global Indicator Framework targets 17.2: Developed countries to implement fully their official development assistance commitments; 17.3: Mobilize additional financial resources for developing countries from multiple sources; 17.4: Assist developing countries in attaining long-term debt sustainability through coordinated policies aimed at fostering debt financing, debt relief and debt restructuring, as appropriate, and address the external debt of highly indebted poor countries to reduce debt distress; and 17.10: Promote a universal, rules-based, open, non-discriminatory and equitable multilateral trading system under the World Trade Organization, including through the conclusion of negotiations under its Doha Development Agenda.

Inclusive partnerships and multi-stakeholder agreements are required at the local, regional, national and global levels to achieve the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals. To address issues associated with a changing environment, stronger partnerships can advance environmental protection and sustainable development by sharing knowledge, building capacity, promoting the creation and transfer of environmentally-sound technologies, and mobilizing resources.

The impacts of climate change are being increasingly felt around the globe, particularly in developing countries that are most severely hit and least equipped to respond to the consequences. In 2009 as part of the Copenhagen Accord under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), developed countries, including Canada, committed to jointly mobilize climate finance from a variety of public and private financial sources, reaching USD$100 billion annually by 2020. This commitment was reaffirmed in the Paris Agreement, where Parties agreed that the USD$100 billion goal will be continued through 2025.

In October 2021, the UK COP26 Presidency published the Climate Finance Delivery Plan prepared jointly by Germany and Canada. The Delivery Plan clarifies when and how developed countries will reach the collective USD$100 billion climate finance goal until 2025. The estimations, based on the analysis of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), show that the goal of USD$100 billion per year will be met in 2023, and provides confidence that developed countries can mobilize more than USD$100 billion thereafter through to 2025.

Another aspect of partnership relates to trade. The linkages between trade and the environment are complex and the subject of international discussions and negotiations. Countries and international organizations, such as the World Trade Organization, G7, G20, OECD and Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, are working together to promote mutually supportive trade and environment objectives such as environmental protections in bilateral and regional trade agreements and multilateral initiatives on trade and environment.

Any agenda focused on reducing inequalities must consider Canada's role in global affairs and in alleviating inequalities among countries. Despite some global measures that have reduced inequalities, such as international assistance and preferential trade status that benefits low-income countries, inequalities persist worldwide. The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have deepened inequalities, especially where weakened health systems or existing humanitarian crises have increased the risk of people being left behind or dying.

Developing countries are particularly exposed to the effects of climate change and biodiversity loss. Climate-related disasters such as droughts, floods, extreme weather events, and food and water insecurity have a greater and differentiated effect on these at-risk groups, especially women, girls, persons with disabilities, Indigenous peoples, and people with reduced incomes. These groups face greater vulnerabilities, including the burden of managing the shocks of climate change and the health impacts of indoor and outdoor pollution. Therefore, individuals and groups in vulnerable situations stand to benefit the most from climate change mitigation and adaptation measures, and from measures to protect and restore nature.

Developing countries also have fewer financial resources and less technical capacity to implement climate change mitigation and adaptation measures. Canada's international engagement on climate change, including its climate finance commitment to developing countries to support their climate mitigation, and to foster resilience among those most at risk from the effects of climate change, is important to reduce global inequalities.

Where the Government of Canada is going

Mandate letters released in December 2021 outline the Government of Canada's direction and policy priorities. Selected commitments related to Sustainable Development Goal 17 are listed below.

  • Mobilize and provide climate finance in order to support developing country adaption, mitigation and resilience, including support for small island states at particular risk of climate-related emergencies (Minister of International Development and Minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada; Minister of Environment and Climate Change).
  • Enhance and expand Canada's Responsible Business Conduct strategy and provide continued support to the Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise to ensure Canadian companies and Crown corporations uphold the highest environmental and social standards of corporate governance (Minister of International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business and Economic Development).
  • Support the Mines to Mobility Strategy by attracting anchor investments in key areas like minerals processing, cell manufacturing and zero-emissions vehicle parts and assembly manufacturing, and ensure the protection and development of our critical minerals. This includes working to develop and launch a Canadian Critical Minerals Strategy to position Canada at the forefront of critical mineral exploration, extraction, processing and manufacturing, as a global leader in the production of batteries, and other clean and digital technologies, as well as to develop a sustainable battery innovation and industrial ecosystem in Canada, including to establish Canada as a global leader in battery manufacturing, recycling and reuse (Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry; Minister of Natural Resources).
  • Continue Canada's leadership on the global effort to phase out coal-powered electricity and the mining of thermal coal and ban thermal coal exports from and through Canada as swiftly as possible, and no later than 2030 (Minister of Environment and Climate Change; Minister of International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business and Economic Development).
  • Continue leading implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted by the United Nations (Minister of Families, Children and Social Development).

How the Government of Canada contributes

Canada recognizes that meeting the ambitious goals of the Paris Agreement will require a global effort. In 2019 to 2020, Canada contributed more than $700 million in bilateral international assistance to address climate change. In addition, Canada also provides institutional support to multilateral organizations which support initiatives to address climate change (such as the Global Environment Facility and the Least Developed Countries Fund). However, the transition to low-emission, climate-resilient economies will require substantially more financing, from all actors and sources. That is why the Government of Canada is working with partners to tap into the significant potential for investment in climate solutions by the private sector and helping to mobilize additional climate finance in developing countries.

In support of the Paris Agreement, Canada's climate finance commitments encompass a wide range of climate mitigation and adaptation measures in developing countries, especially the poorest and most vulnerable, including the least-developed countries, Small Island Developing States and coastal communities. On June 13, 2021, Canada announced a doubling of its climate finance to $5.3 billion over the next 5 years, including increased support for adaptation as well as nature and nature-based solutions. This ambitious commitment will support developing countries in building domestic capacity to combat climate change—including through transition to clean energy and the phasing-out of coal—and biodiversity loss around the world. Canada will increase its provision of funding toward climate adaptation to a minimum of 40%. As well, at least 20% of Canada's international climate finance commitment will be allocated to projects that have nature-based climate solutions and biodiversity co-benefits. This commitment builds on Canada's recently delivered $2.65-billion, 5-year climate finance commitment to help developing countries, particularly the poorest and most at-risk, transition to climate-resilient and low-carbon economies.

Canada's commitment is delivered through a variety of bilateral and multilateral initiatives to help developing countries in implementing their Nationally Determined Contributions, National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans, and National Adaptation Plans, including the Green Climate Fund, the largest dedicated climate fund in the world. Canada's approach includes partnering with Multilateral Development Banks, such as the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank Group, to establish Canadian climate funds to leverage private sector financing by removing market barriers to private climate investment in developing countries. This includes using targeted amounts of concessional finance (in other words, below market rate) to demonstrate the commercial viability of projects and unlock future private investments in similar initiatives.

Canada supports target sectors such as clean technology and renewable energy, waste management and strengthening monitoring, reporting and verification systems, climate-smart agriculture, nature-based solutions and biodiversity, forest management, and risk insurance. For example, Canada is supporting innovation on climate-resilient agriculture and food systems through the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research, a global research partnership that aims to transform food, land and water systems to not only strengthen food security and end hunger, but also promote gender equality, create new jobs and livelihoods, and deliver climate and environmental benefits around the world.

Canada has also announced investments of up to $57.5 million to help the world's poorest and most vulnerable countries adapt to the climate crisis and increase their resilience.

Canada's climate finance commitment aligns with Canada's Feminist International Assistance Policy that guides Canada's overall approach on international assistance. Canada's international climate finance has a strong focus on gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls. Canada's $5.3 billion climate finance will ensure that 80% of its projects integrate gender equality considerations. Global Affairs Canada's Private Sector Engagement for Sustainable Development strategy guides Canada's work with the private sector in international assistance toward the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

The Government of Canada engages bilaterally and regionally to advance its strategic climate change, environmental protection, and biodiversity priorities. It pursues an ambitious trade and investment agenda and actively promotes trade and investment in goods and services needed to protect Canada's natural environment.

Canada's overall approach to environment in its free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations is based on the guiding principle that trade and environment should be mutually supportive, incorporating environmental considerations and obligations to ensure that strong environmental standards are upheld by all Parties. All but one of Canada's free trade agreements contain environmental provisions (the Canada-European Free Trade Association FTA is an exception). Some of these are contained in parallel environment agreements, while some are contained within the main text of the agreement, including in standalone environment chapters. In these environment chapters, Canada also seeks to include commitments in areas that strengthen the relationship between trade and environment, such as supporting trade in environmental goods and services, as well as commitments on a range of global environmental issues.

Canada's Feminist Foreign Policy

Canada currently applies a feminist approach across all of its international policies and programming, including diplomacy, trade, security, development, and consular services. It is being operationalized through a suite of complementary international policies, programs, and initiatives. This includes Canada's Inclusive Approach to Trade; its National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security and Elsie Initiative; and its Feminist International Assistance Policy. These policies place a focus on dismantling persistent systemic barriers, discriminatory norms, and inequalities based on sex and gender—including sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and sex characteristics—as well as on the basis of other intersecting aspects of identity such as race, national or ethnic origin, religion, age, language, or disability.

Canada's Feminist Foreign Policy is the international expression of ongoing, coordinated, and whole-of-government efforts to advance human rights, including diversity and inclusion and gender equality domestically. In doing so, it reinforces Canada's overarching objectives of strengthening a rules-based international system, supporting lasting peace and security, fostering prosperity, and implementing the Sustainable Development Goals.

As communities around the world are experiencing the destabilizing effects of climate change, environmental degradation, and biodiversity loss in different and costly ways, gender-responsive and inclusive action, and diverse partnerships, are necessary to develop strong, inclusive, and sustainable solutions.

Canada also champions trade and environment at the World Trade Organization's Committee on Trade and Environment and the Trade and Environmental Sustainability Structured Discussions, as well as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's Joint Working Party on Trade and Environment.

Through its International Business Development Strategy for Clean Technology, the Trade Commissioner Service is helping more Canadian clean technology firms pursue export opportunities and scale up internationally. It is also helping Canadian firms capitalize on growing global market opportunities, including competing for commercial opportunities funded through global climate finance and helping to build back better and reduce greenhouse gas emissions around the world. In collaboration with Trade Commissioner Service, Environment and Climate Change Canada helps explore new market opportunities for Canadian exporters of environmental and clean technology goods and services by leveraging cooperation under the environment chapter in free trade agreements and associated environmental agreements as well as other environmental cooperation mechanisms.

Canada is party to a number of international agreements and initiatives to reduce inequality in relation to global climate and environmental challenges. These include the Paris Agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Canada is a strong proponent of international climate action by Indigenous peoples and played a key role in launching and operationalizing the Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples Platform in the UNFCCC. The platform aims to strengthen the capacity of local communities and Indigenous peoples to address and respond to climate change, exchange best practices and knowledge with respect to mitigation and adaptation, and enhance their engagement in the broader UNFCCC process.

Finally, Canada also supports Earth observation satellites that provide critical services that Canadians rely on, including reliable weather forecasts, while helping to monitor and fight climate change, and supporting innovation across sectors, including energy and agriculture. Data produced by the Earth observation missions can be used to assess the impacts of climate change across Canada, while supporting decision making related to environment management and protection, as well as disaster mitigation.

Relationships with Indigenous peoples

Environment and Climate Change Canada has a long history of working in partnership and consulting with Indigenous peoples with the intent to uphold Aboriginal and Treaty rights, such as access to traditional territory and the harvesting of plants and animals. Indigenous peoples also participate in Environment and Climate Change Canada's international work by informing policy positions and participating in international discussions. This includes work related to the Convention on Biological Diversity, and the North American Commission on Environmental Cooperation. Environment and Climate Change Canada also engages with Indigenous groups through other mechanisms, such as:

  • Senior Bilateral Tables on Clean Growth and Climate Change
  • the National Steering Committee for Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas
  • the Indigenous Guardians Working Group
  • the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada

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2022-2026 FSDS

Draft Federal Sustainable Development Strategy 2022-2026