State of Affairs in Sustainable Development
A Decade of Information and Progress Reports
Under the Sustainable Development Act, a sustainable development progress report must be tabled as part of the strategy’s periodic review process. Although a progress report was not required to draft the first version of the strategy, the strategy is based on, among other things, a series of analyses, executive summaries and reports conducted individually or as a group by specific government departments and agencies.
These studies, opinions and assessments are the thread that led to drafting the issues of each of the strategy’s courses of action. As each of strategy’s nine courses of action were introduced, simulations were presented to reveal situations that provide an understanding of the efforts involved and an assessment of the challenges that await Québec in its sustainable development approach.
The principal studies that laid the groundwork for development of the strategy are discussed in this section.
In 1995, the Ministère de l’Environnement et de la Faune produced a document entitled The Elements of Québec’s Sustainable Development Plan. This document outlines which past and current decisions and initiatives can help sustainable development become deeply rooted in society. This document details the Ministère’s administrative organization for sustainable development and the government’s sustainable development initiatives through programs, plans, financial decisions, laws, policies, strategies and agencies that have been implemented. The document examines the following:
In 1996, the Ministère de l’Environnement et de la Faune published a document entitled Implementing Action 21 – Examples of Sustainable Development Initiatives in Québec. This document focuses on seven issues:
The track record of government initiatives on each issue is reviewed. At the end of each topic, trends are examined and new initiatives are proposed for the years to come in an effort to further the sustainable development agenda.
In 2001, the Conseil de la science et de la technologie published the document entitled Innovation and Sustainable Development: Tomorrow’s Economy. This analysis diagnosed the status of Québec’s sustainable development situation on the basis of training, research and innovation. Il outlines Québec’s sustainable development situation in terms of government departmental strategies, regulatory systems, economic instruments and voluntary initiatives, with a focus on innovation. The document also addresses sustainable development in management, coordination, evaluation and public accountability procedures.
In 2002, the government of Québec took part in the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg with a ten-year track record of sustainable development initiatives in Québec, more specifically the public administration’s achievements. The Québec Report on Sustainable Development highlights seven issues:
This document discusses a range of issues that serve as the basis of drafting progress reports and determining which courses of actions to follow, with emphasis on what has yet to be accomplished. The report goes on to discuss at length the challenges that lay ahead.
In June 2004, the report issued by Québec’s Auditor General, which includes a chapter entitled Sustainable Development in Québec, examines the monitoring of sustainable development within the government of Québec and the organizational and structural changes needed for better interpretation of the concept, government department initiatives, greater awareness among public sector employees and accountability based on defined objectives and targets. The report suggests raising Québec’s profile.
In February 2005, the interdepartmental committee on sustainable development prepared an information report on sustainable development in Québec, entitled Québec’s Sustainable Development Plan – Information Report. This profile discusses issues including quality of life, public concerns, specialists, decision-makers and sustainable development within the government of Québec. It focuses in particular on the following areas: territory, climate, forests, mines, air, water, farmland, biodiversity, population, territorial organization, demographics, language, culture, family, consumption, education system, health care system, security, democracy, pluralism, Québec’s economic profile, personal income, employment, international exchanges, government finances, new economy, social economy and energy.
Each issue is subsequently examined to identify trends, assess the situation and determine challenges.