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Progress through Process: Achieving Sustainable Development Together

Progress through Process: Achieving Sustainable Development Together

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National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy (2010 Report)

The notion of sustainable development which burst into public consciousness a generation ago was welcomed with great optimism by governments and peoples around the globe. It was based on the idea that environmental protection and economic prosperity could and should be pursued in tandem to safeguard the needs of future generations. It was easier said than done. Are there better ways of governance to help meet common goals?

We concluded that traditional governance approaches are no longer sufficient to achieve sustainable development goals. We offered eight elements that, together, comprise a successful collaborative governance framework for sustainable development.


More than 20 years ago, Canadians embraced the emerging concept of sustainable development in response to the landmark Brundtland Report. Meeting the needs of present generations without compromising those to come is at the heart of bringing environmental and economic interests together to create truly sustainable development solutions. But this has been easier said than done. Adversarial positions and entrenched interests have replaced dialogue and debate aimed at forging common solutions in recognition of a common future. Governments are often caught in the middle, forced to arbitrate between competing interests and positions in an attempt to navigate a way forward when they need to innovate with more open ways of bringing people together.

Today, tough, long-term issues such as climate change, water management, clean energy and more require new collaborative engagement processes if we are to truly make progress. That’s why two of Canada’s leading national public policy organizations – the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy and the Public Policy Forum – collaborated to examine how we could reinvigorate our governance processes to make real progress on sustainable development.

Over the course of two round table discussions and one-on-one interviews with some 20 of Canada’s leading experts and practitioners in the field, we have together produced this new report entitled Progress Through Process: Achieving Sustainable Development Together. It will take you through our consideration of the issues and the dialogue we engaged in. It sets out our view of “Elements of Successful Collaborative Governance for Sustainable Development” for others to also put into practice. And it presents four live case studies as examples of collaborative governance processes being tried ‘on the ground’ with lessons to draw upon.
National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy (2010 Report)

The notion of sustainable development which burst into public consciousness a generation ago was welcomed with great optimism by governments and peoples around the globe. It was based on the idea that environmental protection and economic prosperity could and should be pursued in tandem to safeguard the needs of future generations. It was easier said than done. Are there better ways of governance to help meet common goals?

We concluded that traditional governance approaches are no longer sufficient to achieve sustainable development goals. We offered eight elements that, together, comprise a successful collaborative governance framework for sustainable development.


More than 20 years ago, Canadians embraced the emerging concept of sustainable development in response to the landmark Brundtland Report. Meeting the needs of present generations without compromising those to come is at the heart of bringing environmental and economic interests together to create truly sustainable development solutions. But this has been easier said than done. Adversarial positions and entrenched interests have replaced dialogue and debate aimed at forging common solutions in recognition of a common future. Governments are often caught in the middle, forced to arbitrate between competing interests and positions in an attempt to navigate a way forward when they need to innovate with more open ways of bringing people together.

Today, tough, long-term issues such as climate change, water management, clean energy and more require new collaborative engagement processes if we are to truly make progress. That’s why two of Canada’s leading national public policy organizations – the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy and the Public Policy Forum – collaborated to examine how we could reinvigorate our governance processes to make real progress on sustainable development.

Over the course of two round table discussions and one-on-one interviews with some 20 of Canada’s leading experts and practitioners in the field, we have together produced this new report entitled Progress Through Process: Achieving Sustainable Development Together. It will take you through our consideration of the issues and the dialogue we engaged in. It sets out our view of “Elements of Successful Collaborative Governance for Sustainable Development” for others to also put into practice. And it presents four live case studies as examples of collaborative governance processes being tried ‘on the ground’ with lessons to draw upon.

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 AchievingSustainableDevelopment Together 
PROGRESS
THROUGH
PROCESS
A COLLABORATIVE EFFORT
 
© National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy and Public Policy Forum, 2010All rights reserved. No part o this work covered by the copyright herein may be reproduced or used in any ormor by any means – graphic, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, taping or inormationretrieval systems – without the prior written permission o the publisher.Library and Archives Canada Cataloguing in Publication.Progress Through Process: Achieving Sustainable Development Together.Type o computer file: Electronic monograph in PDF ormat.Issued also in French under title: Le progrès grâce au processus : réaliser un développement durable ensemble.Report prepared by the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy and the Public Policy Forum.Design by Le Collecti.ISBN 978-1-100-15039-0Cat. No.: En134-50/2010E-PDF1. Sustainable development--Canada. 2. Sustainable development--Government policy--Canada. I. National RoundTable on the Environment and the Economy. II. Public Policy Forum. III. Title: Progress Through Process: AchievingSustainable Development Together.HC120 E5 P76 2010 338.971’07 C2010-980064-8National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy344 Slater Street, Suite 200, Ottawa, ON K1R 7Y3Tel.: (613) 992-7189 Fax: (613) 992-7385
www.nrtee-trnee.ca
Public Policy Forum130 Albert Street, Suite 1405, Ottawa, ON K1P 5G4Tel.: (613) 238-7160 Fax: (613) 238-7990
www.ppforum.ca
 Disclaimer: The views and statements in this report do not necessarily represent those o the participants,the individual members o the NRTEE and PPF, or the organizations with which they are af liated.
 
TABLE OF CONTENTS
04 
Achieving SustainableDevelopment Together
08 
Setting Out theGovernance Challenge
12 
Responding to the Challenge
29 
Making Collaboration Work:The Elements o SuccessulCollaborative Governanceor Sustainable Development
32 
Looking Ahead: ConcludingThoughts on CollaborativeGovernance or SustainableDevelopment
35 
AppendicesThe notion o sustainable development which burst intopublic consciousness a generation ago was welcomedwith great optimism by governments and peoples aroundthe globe. It was based on the idea that environmentalprotection and economic prosperity could and shouldbe pursued in tandem to saeguard the needs outure generations.It was easier said than done. Too much attention waspaid to seeking the ‘perect’ solution; too little was paidto considering how best to get there. Now, too oten,views have hardened into positions, interests havebecome barricades, and rhetoric has replaced dialogue.However it happened, the goals o sustainable developmenthave become more dif cult to achieve – or all o us.We need to get back to basics including figuring out howto talk to one another - how to leverage the need anddesire or debate and discussion into accepted and eectiveprocesses or sustainable development governance.Seized with this challenge, the National Round Tableon the Environment and the Economy and the PublicPolicy Forum brought together 20 leading experts andpractitioners in the sustainability and public policy fieldslast all to consider ways to improve governance methodsor sustainable development. We concluded that traditionalgovernance approaches are no longer suf cient in the‘2.0 world’; that by using updated collaborative methods,we can break down deep-rooted positions which otenprevent sustainable development policies rom beingenacted. We believe that stakeholders, citizens andgovernments must come together utilizing innovativecollaborative models, and that we all have larger andmore responsible roles to play.Today, more than ever, integrating economic developmentand environmental stewardship is crucial to saeguardingthe world or our children. Issues like climate change,national energy strategies, and water management areamong the greatest challenges o our generation. Aspresidents and CEOs o our respective organizations,we are proud to present this report to Canadiansinterested in making sustainable developmentmore than a phrase.We want to thank each o the participants who gavetheir time and insights to this project.Sincerely,
David Mitchell 
President and CEOPublic Policy Forum
David McLaughlin
President and CEOThe National Round Table on theEnvironment and the Economy

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