Department of National Defence - Reports on Plans and Priorities 2013-14

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Sustainable Development

Based on the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy (FSDS), Defence commits to:

  • Providing more specific information on departmental sustainable development activities appropriate to the department's mandate;
  • Strengthening the application of Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) by ensuring that the Government's environmental goals are taken into account when pursuing social and economic goals; and
  • Pursuing best practices on reporting summary information on the results of SEAs linked to the FSDS goals and targets, to ensure that environmental decision making is more transparent.

Details on Defence's SEA activities are available in Section IV of this Report on Plans and Priorities and further information on Defence's activities in support of the FSDS is available in Section III and below.

Federal Sustainable Development Strategy

Defence's sustainable development vision foresees an organization where civilian and military members at every level incorporate environmental and sustainable development considerations into responsible decision-making consistent with operational feasibility and cost effectiveness thereby sustaining the assets with which we are entrusted for our benefit and for the benefit of generations to come.

In response to the coming into force of the sustainable development provisions of the Auditor General Act (1995), Defence promulgated Departmental Administrative Order and Directive (DAOD) 4003-0 to broaden the scope of the previous environmental policy instruments. DAOD 4003-0 is the policy that defines the parameters within which Defence discharges its environmental and sustainability commitments. In addition to incorporating the Code of Environmental Stewardship as an integral element, DAOD 4003-0 establishes that the Assistant Deputy Minister (Infrastructure and Environment) is responsible for providing guidance, advice and oversight for environmental protection and stewardship, including national-level environmental issues, objectives and targets. In turn, senior level organizations are responsible for establishing their own environmental protection and stewardship programs, associated procedures and instructions, and for advising the chain of command of environmental issues occurring on properties for which they are responsible.

Given that Defence has historically measured its commitment to the federal environmental and sustainable development agenda in terms of environmental targets, it is logical that FSDS plans and priorities are focused exclusively on the FSDS Greening Government Operations targets.

While the FSDS approach provides a common manner by which departments report on sustainable development performance, the full spectrum of Defence's environmental stewardship and protection role is not currently captured by the FSDS reporting requirements. To better capture and manage its environmental stewardship and protection role, Defence is finalizing its overarching Defence Environmental Strategy (DES). The DES will further integrate sustainability principles and practices across the department and will be initially implemented in 2013-14.