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The British Columbia Council for International Cooperation (BCCIC) has released its SDG shadow report to supplement Canada’s VNR at the 2018 session of the HLPF.

The report finds that Canada is lagging in meeting many of the SDG indicators, and indicates that natural ecosystems are being left behind as well as groups comprising indigenous communities, youth, and women and girls.

The report also expresses encouragement that the country has committed CAN $100 million dollars in 2018 toward SDG implementation and coordination.

4 July 2018: An independent report from the British Columbia Council for International Cooperation (BCCIC) notes that Canada is currently not on track to implement the 2030 Agenda. The authors express encouragement, however, that the country has committed CAN$100 million dollars in 2018 toward SDG implementation and coordination.

Paragraph 74 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development notes that follow-up and review processes at all levels should: be open, inclusive, participatory and transparent for all people, and support reporting by all relevant stakeholders. In this context, and in parallel to the Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs), some civil society organizations and coalitions from different countries have produced their own reviews and analysis, assessing government’s implementation of the SDGs and reporting on that implementation. These reports, often called “spotlight” or “shadow” reports, complement the official review process at the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF).

Produced by BCCIC, with the support of Global Affairs Canada, the report titled, ‘Where Canada Stands, Vol. II, 2018: a Sustainable Development Goals Shadow Report,’ supplements Canada’s VNR at the 2018 session of the HLPF by offering an “on-the-ground” civil society perspective. The BCCIC report assesses SDG implementation in Canada through the guiding question “who is getting left behind?,” and includes sections on each SDG to be reviewed in-depth during the 2018 HLPF. Those are: clean water and sanitation (SDG 6); affordable and clean energy (SDG 7); sustainable cities and communities (SDG 11); responsible consumption and production (SDG 12); life on land (SDG 15); and partnerships for the Goals (SDG 17). Throughout its sections, the report addresses four cross-cutting themes that illustrate the “intersectional nature of the SDGs and emphasize four key aspects of Canadian society that deserve attention and focus,” namely: Indigenous communities; gender; youth voices; and climate change. The sections also include case studies to “highlight success stories where targets were met and no one was left behind,” as well as recommendations.

The report indicates that natural ecosystems are being left behind in Canada as “progress is made toward economic targets.” On groups that are being left behind, the report identifies indigenous communities, youth, and women and girls, and notes that these groups, as well as subnational governments, should receive support from the federal government to carry out on-the-ground initiatives to meet SDG indicators. It also suggests involving these groups in Canada’s overall SDG implementation strategy, from planning to monitoring and reporting.

The report finds that Canada is lagging in meeting many of the SDG indicators. It notes, for instance, that: at the end of 2017, 67 rural and indigenous communities across the country did not have access to clean drinking water (SDG 6); recycling and waste management programs would need to be adjusted to ensure that the sector can continue to ensure long-term environmental and economic sustainability (SDG 12); and half of Canada’s monitored species have been under decline in the past several decades, and several populations of iconic Canadian wildlife such as mountain caribou are on the brink of extinction (SDG 15).

Statistics Canada’s ‘SDG Portal’ is still quite nascent and its contribution to the whole-of-government approach “is yet to be seen.”

Per the report, a primary reason Canada is not on track to achieving the SDGs is because the government has not established the necessary governance, monitoring, and reporting structures for the successful implementation of the 2030 Agenda. The report also indicates that Statistics Canada’s ‘SDG Portal,’ which it identifies as Canada’s intended single source for indicator data, is still quite nascent and its contribution to the needed whole-of-government approach “is yet to be seen.”

In April 2018, the Commissioner for the Environment and Sustainable Development of Canada’s Office of the General Auditor issued a report on Canada’s preparedness to implement the SDGs. It concluded that the Canadian federal government is not adequately prepared to implement the Goals. However, it also notes that Canada’s federal budget, published after the audit concluded, provides for the establishment of an SDG Unit to support coordination of SDG implementation, and support for Statistics Canada to expand monitoring and reporting activities relating to SDG implementation.

In its VNR 2018 main messages, released in June 2018, Canada notes its commitment to implementing the 2030 Agenda and the 17 SDGs at home and abroad. Among other initiatives, it states that: federal departments and agencies have been tasked to further examine how their policies and programs are contributing to the SDGs and their targets; the government will mainstream a gender-responsive perspective in the implementation of the SDGs; and it will launch a process to develop a national strategy on the 2030 Agenda through collaboration with all levels of government, Indigenous peoples, and other stakeholders. Canada will present its VNR on 17 July, during the ministerial segment of the 2018 HLPF in New York, US.

BCCIC is a network of civil society organizations and individuals based in British Columbia, Canada. The 2018 report builds on ‘Where Canada Stands, Vol. I,’ the 2017 civil society assessment of Canada’s progress on the SDGs, and considers both national and sub-national contexts through regional analysis. The report is also based on interviews with experts from indigenous communities, universities, think tanks, NGOs, civil society organizations (CSOs), youth, industry, and various levels of government. [Publication: Where Canada Stands, Vol. II, 2018: a Sustainable Development Goals Shadow Report] [Action for Sustainable Development information on spotlight reports] [Alliance 2030 on Canada’s VNR at 2018 HLPF] [SDG Knowledge Hub story on Canada’s preparedness to implement the SDGs] [SDG Knowledge Hub story on Canada’s VNR main messages]


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