Evaluation of Biodiversity Policy and Priorities

November 9th 2012

Report Clearance Steps

Planning phase completed
October 2011
Report sent for management response
May 2012
Management response received
May 2012
Report approved by Departmental Evaluation Committee
November 9th, 2012

Acronyms used in the report

ABS
Access and Benefit Sharing
ADM
Assistant Deputy Minister
AEB
Audit and Evaluation Branch
BSG
Biodiversity Steering Group
CAFF
Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna
CBD
Convention on Biological Diversity
CBMP
Circumpolar Biodiversity Monitoring Program
CBS
Canadian Biodiversity Strategy
CCRM
Canadian Council of Resource Ministers
CESD
Commissioner for the Environment and Sustainable Development
CESI
Canadian Environmental Sustainability Indicators
COP
Conference of the Parties
CWS
Canadian Wildlife Service
DG
Director General
DMOs
Deputy Ministers and others
EBPD
Ecosystem and Biodiversity Priorities Division
EC
Environment Canada
ESTR
Ecosystem Status and Trends Report
FBC
Federal Biodiversity Committee
F/P/T
federal/provincial/territorial
FSDS
Federal Sustainable Development Strategy
G&Cs
grants and contributions
ICABS
Interdepartmental Committee on ABS
ICB
Interdepartmental Committee on Biodiversity
IPBES
Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services
OGDs
other government departments
PMF
performance measurement framework
SA
sub-activity

 

Acknowledgments

The Evaluation Project Team would like to thank those individuals who contributed to this project, particularly members of the Evaluation Committee, as well as all interviewees and survey respondents who provided insights and comments crucial to this evaluation.

The Evaluation Project Team was led by Shelley Tice, under the direction of William Blois, Environment Canada’s Evaluation Director. The team included John Abagis, Lindsay Fitzpatrick and Susan Wharton.

Prepared by the Evaluation Division, Audit and Evaluation Branch

Table of Contents

Executive Summary

This report presents the results of the Evaluation of Biodiversity Policy and Priorities, conducted by Environment Canada’s (EC’s) Audit and Evaluation Branch between September 2011 and May 2012. The report addresses the activities that fall under the Department’s Program Activity Architecture (PAA) sub-activity (SA) 1.1.1. EC’s Biodiversity Policy and Priorities SA represents 0.33% of the Department’s direct program spending and was identified for evaluation in the Department’s 2011–2016 Risk-Based Audit and Evaluation Plan.

The focus of the Biodiversity SA is on providing coordination and cross-cutting support, both domestically and internationally, for biodiversity initiatives. Key areas of focus for this SA include

  • biodiversity policy
  • the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)
  • the Canadian Biodiversity Strategy (CBS)
  • the Genetic Resources Policy related to Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS)
  • international biodiversity monitoring and reporting

The evaluation addressed each of the components identified above, including all related grants and contributions (G&Cs) over the four-year time frame from 2008-2009 to 2011-2012. Multiple methodologies were used in this evaluation, including a review of key documents, financial analysis, key informant interviews, an external stakeholder survey and case illustrations.

Findings and Conclusions

There is a continued need for the work of the Biodiversity Policy and Priorities SA to advocate for the importance of biodiversity within Canada and globally and to support the extensive collaboration needed among the many stakeholders who share responsibility for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. The work of this SA is aligned with federal and departmental priorities to protect and preserve the diversity and health of our natural environment and is consistent with federal and departmental roles and responsibilities.

The current SA design is contributing to the achievement of its outcomes. Extensive performance information on the state of biodiversity and the achievement of the SA’s outcomes is being collected in collaboration with a number of partners and is being used to inform decision making. Challenges related to sharing and accessing data from multiple jurisdictions and sources have been identified, but efforts are being taken to address these. Efforts have been made to link the SA’s newly created logic model to the departmental performance measurement framework, as well as other reporting mechanisms.

Governance mechanisms are well defined at the federal/provincial/territorial (F/P/T) level. There is evidence, however, of a recent trend toward reduced levels of F/P/T senior management engagement on biodiversity. Within EC, the disbanding of the boards introduced an interim period of reduced senior management discussions on cross-cutting biodiversity issues, both for issue-specific discussions and broader direction setting. EC’s new governance model allows for the creation of Assistant Deputy Minister-led and Director General-led collaborative committees that could accommodate this requirement; as of time of writing, however, these committees have not been created.

While generally priorities are clear, progress on ABS has been impacted by challenges arising from a lack of clear direction. Recent federal discussions at the Assistant Deputy Minister level may pave the way for greater progress.

A highly functioning team and the effective use of collaboration, professional service contracts and G&C funded projects enables EC to accomplish a great deal within a modest budget. Concerns were raised regarding the ability to continue to deliver on all of the SA’s outcomes in light of declining resources.

With respect to biodiversity outcomes,

  • Canadian interests and priorities are strongly reflected in work related to the CBD and Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF). EC negotiators have had a significant influence on the global biodiversity agenda through successful negotiations at international conferences and steering groups.
  • Biodiversity is being mainstreamed to some extent at the F/P/T levels, with most progress occurring at the provincial and territorial levels. Under EC’s leadership, Canada is meeting its international biodiversity commitments, the majority of which pertain to ensuring progress on biodiversity domestically.
  • There is considerable evidence of biodiversity being mainstreamed locally. EC’s role in the achievement of this outcome is largely indirect, being that of a facilitator working through third parties to leverage interest and share information.
  • Extensive biodiversity information is available to public and government stakeholders in a number of forms and is showcased through a number of mechanisms, thus suggesting a contribution to increased knowledge and understanding of biodiversity. Individuals and organizations value nature and support conservation efforts related to biodiversity.
  • Evidence of appropriate progress toward the immediate and intermediate outcomes suggests that EC is making strides toward the achievement of the final outcome related to the conservation of biodiversity in Canada and globally. Although some progress has been made, threats to biodiversity continue and long-term work is needed.

Recommendation

The following sole recommendation is directed to the ADM, Environmental Stewardship Branch, as the senior departmental manager responsible for Biodiversity Policy and Priorities.

Recommendation: Establish a mechanism or forum for horizontal discussion and coordination of biodiversity issues within the Department.

Within EC, the disbanding of the boards introduced an interim period of reduced senior management discussions on cross-cutting biodiversity issues, both for issue-specific discussions and broader direction setting. The new governance model has mechanisms that would accommodate these discussions; at time of writing, however, they have not been utilized.

Given that biodiversity is a horizontal file that impacts many areas of the Department (e.g. Environmental Stewardship, Science and Technology, International Affairs and Strategic Policy), mechanisms for engagement and coordination are key to providing a horizontal lens to set priorities for the biodiversity file as a whole, streamlining the approval process (e.g. Canadian positions and agendas for international meetings), and increasing awareness, communication and collaboration related to biodiversity.

Although governance mechanisms for biodiversity are well defined at the F/P/T level with the existence of both inter-jurisdictional committees and federal interdepartmental committees, there has been a recent trend toward reduced levels of senior management engagement on biodiversity, as evidenced by a decline in the frequency of senior-level meetings of these committees. Given EC’s leadership role in these committees, maintaining ongoing engagement and dialogue within EC on biodiversity issues is critical for ensuring a continued focus on biodiversity at the F/P/T level.

The ADM, Environmental Stewardship Branch, agrees with the recommendation.

Management Action

Within the new departmental governance structure, significant policy proposals on cross-cutting biodiversity issues will continue to be the subject of Deputy Ministers and others (DMOs) meetings at appropriate times. The first such meeting, to discuss Canadian biodiversity goals and targets as part of Canada's domestic response to the CBD 2011-2020 Stategic Plan, was held on June 28th, 2012.

In addition, a new DG-led collaborative committee on biodiversity will be established on a one-year trial basis to provide a regular forum for horizontal policy and program discussions related to cross-cutting biodiversity initiatives, particularly in the context of EC’s responsibilities under the CBD.

The committee will be chaired by the DG, Canadian Wildlife Service, with representatives from other implicated areas of the Department. The DG Committee will meet quarterly, or more frequently as needed.

TimelineDeliverable(s)Responsible Party
Fall 2013Discussion and decision on ongoing role for DG CommitteeDG - CWS, with Committee members
Summer 2012Development of draft terms of reference and proposed membership.DG - CWS
Fall 2012First meeting of the Committee; adoption of terms of reference; summary meeting notes; forward agenda.DG - CWS, with Committee members
QuarterlyCommittee meetings with agenda and meeting notes.DG - CWS

 

1.0 Introduction

This report presents the results of the Evaluation of the Biodiversity Policy and Priorities sub-activity (SA) 1.1.1, of Environment Canada’s (EC’s) Program Activity Architecture (PAA), which was conducted by EC’s Evaluation Division, Audit and Evaluation Branch in 2011–2012.[1] The evaluation was identified in the 20112016 Departmental Risk-Based Audit and Evaluation Plan, which was approved by the Deputy Minister in the spring of 2011.[2]

The document is organized as follows. Section 2.0 provides background information on the profile of the Biodiversity Policy and Priorities SA. Section 3.0 presents the evaluation design, including the purpose and scope of the evaluation, as well as the methods used to conduct the evaluation. Section 4.0 presents the evaluation findings and conclusions. Section 5.0 lays out the sole recommendation and management’s response.

2.0 Background

2.1 Program Profile

Biodiversity Policy and Priorities is an SA that falls under the Biodiversity – Wildlife and Habitat 1.1 activity.[3] The focus of the Biodiversity Policy and Priorities SA is on providing coordination and cross-cutting support for biodiversity initiatives, both domestically and internationally. “Biodiversity,” the term often used for “biological diversity,” refers to the variety of species and ecosystems on Earth and the ecological processes of which they are a part.[4]

This PAA element enables EC to play a leadership and coordinating role at the national level by engaging stakeholders and other government departments in Canada’s implementation of the United Nations (UN) Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), and representing Canada’s domestic interests in international fora.

The key areas of focus for this SA include

  • Biodiversity policy: provides analysis and advice related to policy priorities, emerging issues and policy coordination of cross-cutting issues.
  • Convention on Biological Diversity: coordinates Canadian negotiating positions for CBD, related meetings and a variety of national focal point and host-country-related obligations.
  • Canadian Biodiversity Strategy (CBS): advances domestic implementation of the CBD, leads national planning (e.g. coordination of federal/provincial/territorial fora to develop national biodiversity objectives) and reports on implementation, and engagement of key stakeholders.
  • Genetic resources policy: coordinates the development of domestic policy and Canada’s position related to access and benefit sharing (ABS) in collaboration with other federal government departments and provincial/ territorial jurisdictions.
  • International biodiversity monitoring and reporting: represents Canada at the working group on the Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF) and provides coordination of information on the state of international biodiversity, specifically Arctic biodiversity.

This SA uses a mix of science, policy tools, research and collaboration to develop and implement policy frameworks and strategies at the national level (e.g. CBS, Biodiversity Outcomes Framework, ABS of Genetic Resources) and international level (e.g. CBD; an international regime on ABS; Biosafety Protocol; CAFF).

The International Year of Biodiversity (2010) and the International Polar Year (2012) are of particular significance for this SA as they bring a concentrated focus to this area of work. Further, at the 10th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 10) for the CBD in 2010, key decisions were made to establish a new strategic plan, including the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, which are expected to influence the global and domestic biodiversity agenda over the next decade, which has been declared the UN Decade on Biodiversity (20112020).

2.2 Governance Structure

Overall accountability for work completed under this SA rests with the Director General (DG) of Strategic Priorities, who reports to the Assistant Deputy Minister (ADM) of the Environmental Stewardship Branch. Primary responsibility for the delivery of Biodiversity Policy and Priorities lies with the Ecosystems and Biodiversity Priority Division (EBPD).[5] Shortly after the completion of the evaluation in early 2012, changes to the organization and scope of the work of the Biodiversity Policy and Priorities SA were proposed as part of the Department’s contribution to the government’s Deficit Reduction Action Plan. Although these changes had yet to be implemented at the time of this report, early indications are that elements of the work in this area will continue and that organizational changes will result in a revised reporting structure for different Biodiversity activities.

As biodiversity is a cross-cutting issue, this element also generates high levels of interaction with other areas of the Department (e.g. the Canadian Wildlife Service) that perform work related to biodiversity, climate change, water, and marine pollution, among others. This element also has close linkages with PAA element 1.3.2 Ecosystem Assessment and Approaches, which is responsible for domestic monitoring and reporting of biodiversity, including the Ecosystem Status and Trends Report (ESTR).

The most overarching governance mechanism for work on Biodiversity within Canada is the federal/provincial/territorial (F/P/T) Canadian Council of Resource Ministers (CCRM).[6] Numerous formal committees and steering groups that fall under the CCRM also play a key role in the work of this SA:

  • At the F/P/T level, the ADM-level Biodiversity Steering Group (BSG) reports to the Deputy Minister-level committee on biodiversity, which in turn advises the CCRM. The Deputy Minister and ADM committees are supported by the F/P/T Biodiversity Working Group, as well as by working groups established to support the CCRM’s work on specific issues (e.g. ABS; F/P/T Task Force on the Value of Nature to Canadians Study).
  • Federally, the ADM-level Federal Biodiversity Committee (FBC) exists interdepartmentally to coordinate federal positions for biodiversity meetings, supported by working-level committees, including the Interdepartmental Committee on Biodiversity (ICB), through which federal positions for international and F/P/T biodiversity meetings are coordinated; the federal Interdepartmental Committee on ABS (ICABS) for ABS-related issues; and the executive ICABS (DG/Director level).
  • For matters related to CAFF, the DG Advisory Group, consisting of DGs and Directors from EC and other federal government departments with an interest in CAFF-related issues, provides advice and leadership direction.

In addition to working closely with F/P/T partners, this SA engages stakeholders representing municipal governments, non-governmental organizations, Aboriginal organizations, business and academia to mainstream biodiversity and support conservation efforts.

Within EC, key internal stakeholders include International Affairs; Science and Technology; Strategic Policy; and other areas of the Environmental Stewardship Branch that deal with biodiversity issues, including program areas within the Canadian Wildlife Service. Prior to replacing the board structure in EC with a new governance structure in February 2012, the Ecosystem Sustainability Board was the primary forum for senior management discussions on cross-cutting biodiversity issues. The new governance structure was put in place to provide a pragmatic approach to engagement within the Department and facilitate the horizontal nature of EC and its program interdependencies. Key mechanisms available under the new structure include Deputy Ministers and others (DMO) committees for focused and timely discussion on specific issues, and ADM-led and DG-led collaborative committees, which can be formed and disbanded as needed.[7]

2.3 Resource Allocation

The Biodiversity Policy and Priorities SA represents approximately 0.33% of the Department’s direct program spending.[8] Table 1 provides a summary of financial expenditures for 1.1.1 from 20082009 to 20112012.

The decrease in total resources in fiscal year 20102011 from previous years is due in part to a change in the PAA structure, which saw the domestic component of Biodiversity Monitoring and Reporting (including the work related to the ESTR) moved to PAA element 1.3.2 (Ecosystem Assessment and Approaches), leaving only the international component of monitoring and reporting in PAA element 1.1.1.[9] An analysis of year-over-year expenditures that included domestic monitoring and reporting in order to hold constant the program elements reveals an increase in funding of 15% in 20092010 and an additional increase of 3% in 20102011, followed by a significant decline of 26% for 20112012. The net effect is a 12% decline in expenditures for 20112012 from 20082009 levels.

Table 1: Financial Information for 1.1.1 Biodiversity Policy and Priorities

Table 1: Financial Information for 1.1.1 Biodiversity Policy and Priorities

Enlarge image

Source: EC, Finance Branch. December 2, 2011. 200809 to 201011 Actual Expenditures & 201112 Forecast Expenditures.

This PAA element has made use of three of the Department’s grants and contributions (G&Cs) umbrella authorities over the four-year study period. As of 20112012, as a result of the Department’s restructuring of G&C terms and conditions, all contributions now fall under the terms and conditions for the authority Contributions to Support Biodiversity – Wildlife and Habitat. G&C funding includes annual contributions to the Secretariat of the CBD and the CAFF working group under the Arctic Council. It also contributes to the support of special projects for international working groups, and to consultation and increased engagement and dialogue with biodiversity stakeholders, including youth, cities, environmental non-governmental organizations, businesses and Aboriginal groups.[10] Table 2 provides the contribution amounts for each year of the study period, by authority.

Table 2: Umbrella Authorities for 1.1.1 Biodiversity Policy and Priorities

Table 2: Umbrella Authorities for 1.1.1 Biodiversity Policy and Priorities

Enlarge image

Source: EC, Finance Branch. December 2, 2011. 2008–2009 to 2010–2011 Actual Expenditures & 2011–2012 Forecast Expenditures.

2.4 Program Logic Model

As shown in Figure 1, a logic model has been developed that describes the relationship between activities, outputs and intended outcomes of the Biodiversity Policy and Priorities SA. The logic model was developed by the EBPD, working under the guidance of EC’s Corporate Management Directorate. It was initially completed in April 2011 but was subsequently streamlined to capture the key outcomes of the SA.

The logic model illustrates the highly interconnected nature of the work of this SA, including the linkages between the international, national and local levels. It also addresses the intended outcomes of the element’s five key components.

Figure 1: Logic Model (September 2011)

Figure 1: Logic Model (September 2011)

Enlarge image

3.0 Evaluation Design

3.1 Purpose and Scope

The purpose of this evaluation is to assess the relevance and performance (including effectiveness, efficiency and economy) of EC’s Biodiversity Policy and Priorities SA. The evaluation addressed each of the components comprising the 1.1.1 SA, including all related G&C agreements.[11] Additionally, while the activities related to the ESTR fall under the SA 1.3.2, and are therefore outside the scope of this evaluation, they are an important contributor to the work of this SA and, as such, were considered as an indicator of the achievement of outcomes. The evaluation covered the four-year time frame from 20082009 to 20112012.

The 1.1.1 SA was identified in the Department’s 20112016 Integrated Risk-Based Audit and Evaluation Plan as a moderate-risk item, based primarily on the fact that the SA had not previously been evaluated. A related follow-up audit conducted by the Commissioner of Environment and Sustainable Development in 2005[12] found that the program had not yet developed a performance measurement framework (PMF).[13]

3.2 Evaluation Approach and Methodology

The methodological approach and level of effort for this evaluation were determined using a risk-based approach that considered the risk profile of EC activities within this SA, the materiality of EC’s involvement in this area, and other related assessments and evaluations. Additionally, the following considerations played a role in the design of the evaluation approach and methodology for the evaluation:

  • The SA covers a wide breadth of activity, as it addresses five main areas of work. As such, the sampling methodology used in the report ensured that the data collection could support analysis for each of the five areas, as well as for the overall SA.
  • The work of this SA involves a wide range of partners and stakeholders. Given the important role that collaboration plays in the work of this SA, efforts were made to ensure the perspectives of the various partners and stakeholder groups were considered, through both interviews and the external stakeholder survey.

With these considerations in mind, the following data collection methodologies were employed, with evidence drawn from these methods triangulated to develop findings and conclusions. [14]

i) Document Review. Key documents, including Government of Canada publications, previous related evaluations and audits, performance and financial data, internal documents and published data related to the CBD and CAFF were gathered, documented in an inventory, and assessed in terms of their contribution to each of the evaluation questions.

ii) Financial Analysis. Analyses of financial information addressed questions of efficiency and economy. Data was gathered through EC’s Finance Branch, and validated with key program representatives. In addition, a review of agreements, expenditures and a sample of progress reports for the G&C-funded projects was conducted.

iii) Key Informant Interviews. Using semi-structured interview guides, 28 key informant interviews were conducted, in person or by telephone, to gather detailed information related to all evaluation questions and issues. Respondents included senior management (n=3), program representatives (n=8), EC partners (n=6), other government departments (n=7), and other external stakeholders, including municipalities, environmental non-governmental organizations, and CBD Secretariat representatives (n=4).

iv) External Stakeholder Survey. An online survey of external stakeholders[15] was conducted from February 6 to 21, 2012. The survey was distributed to a list of contacts provided by the evaluation committee, representing external stakeholders who had previous experience with EC in the work of this SA. Respondents were able to answer the survey in the official language of their choice. A response rate of 35% was achieved, as shown in Table 3.

Table 3: External Survey Response Rate by Stakeholder Group
Stakeholder Group# Contacted# of Responses ReceivedResponse Rate
Other Government Departments
55
19
35%
Provinces/Territories
12
6
50%
Other[16]
37
11
30%
TOTAL
104
36
35%

v) Case Illustrations. Two case illustrations were developed to describe, in greater detail, the program’s underlying design, the manner in which this supports the achievement of program results, and the extent to which intended outcomes have been achieved. Data collection for each case involved a compilation and review of relevant information from key documents and websites, supplemented with key informant interviews. Illustrations included

  • a study of how Canadian municipalities are mainstreaming biodiversity; and
  • a study of the Measuring Goods and Services (MEGS) project, for the measurement and valuation of ecosystem goods and services.

3.3 Challenges and Limitations

A number of challenges were experienced pertaining to the design, data collection and analysis of the evaluation evidence. These challenges, as well as related limitations and strategies used to mitigate their impact, are outlined below.

This SA has been impacted by various Program Activity Architecture changes over time, and is highly interrelated with several other SAs, including some involving individual staff performing work that crosses multiple SAs. As such, it was challenging to manage the project scope and ensure that respondents focused their responses on the work of the 1.1.1 SA. In order to address this issue, a clear description of the individual work components addressed by 1.1.1 SA was included with the key informant interview guides and the online survey, and interviewers were trained to clearly communicate the project scope and guide the discussion back to the work of this SA, should key informants begin to stray into other areas.

Although a logic model has been developed that clearly identifies activities, outputs and outcomes for the SA, performance indicators had yet to be developed and, as such, data was not being systematically compiled against the logic model. To address this challenge, evaluators worked with the evaluation committee to develop indicators and associated data collection strategies for the purpose of the evaluation.

While the logic model includes both immediate and intermediate outcomes, they were closely interrelated, and it became apparent during the key informant interviews that interviewees had difficulty distinguishing between the related short- and medium-term outcomes. To address this issue, the evaluation findings report on outcome themes[17] that included both the immediate and intermediate outcomes associated with that theme, as opposed to presenting results separately for each individual outcome.

Although the response rate for the survey was consistent with expected response rates for online surveys (36%), the sample size was too small to provide statistical reliability. The findings from this line of evidence, therefore, should be viewed as illustrative and interpreted with caution. To compensate for this, the evaluation also relied on additional sources of evidence.

The work of this SA is heavily focused on collaboration and influencing others to take action. In light of this, it is very difficult to attribute observed results solely to EC’s work on this SA. In order to address this issue, attempts were made to ensure that analyses provide a clear and accurate representation of the manner and degree to which the SA contributes to the outcomes, through the manner in which data was collected and the findings are reported.

4.0 Findings and conclusions

This section presents the findings of this evaluation by evaluation issue (relevance and performance) and by the related evaluation questions.

For each evaluation question, a rating is provided based on a judgment of the evaluation findings. The rating statements and their significance are outlined below in Table 4. A summary of ratings for the evaluation issues and questions is presented in Annex 1.

Table 4: Definitions of Standard Rating Statements
StatementDefinition
Appropriate Progress/ AchievedThe intended outcomes or goals have been/are being achieved
Some Progress/Attention NeededConsiderable progress has been made to meet the intended outcomes or goals, but attention is still needed
Little Progress/Priority for AttentionLittle progress has been made to meet the intended outcomes or goals and attention is needed on a priority basis

 

4.1 Relevance

Continued Need for the SA

Evaluation Issue: RelevanceRating
1.     Is there a continued need for the work of the Biodiversity Policy and Priorities SA?Achieved

There is a continued need for the work of the Biodiversity Policy and Priorities SA, given

i)    The importance of biodiversity in Canada and globally
  • Biodiversity is essential for human health, prosperity, security and well–being, as it contributes to essential goods and services that flow from healthy and diverse natural systems.[18]
  • Canada is defined by its vast natural environment, and biodiversity is important to Canadians on economic, health, social and cultural levels.[19]
ii)   Stress on biodiversity globally, and in Canada
  • The global decline of biodiversity is now recognized as a serious environmental issue facing humanity.[20]
  • While recent efforts have shown some progress in removing or reducing stressors that impair ecosystems and impact biodiversity within Canada, findings identify ecosystems that are compromised or reaching critical stress thresholds and are having impacts on species, including declining fish, grassland birds, and forest-dwelling caribou populations, as well as ice-associated species, such as Polar Bears, which are impacted by the loss of sea ice in the Arctic.[21]
iii) The need to coordinate among multiple jurisdictions
  • Responsibility for biodiversity is shared among multiple levels of government.[22], [23]
  • Half of internal and external partners interviewed identified the clear need for the coordinating role provided by this SA.
  • External stakeholder survey respondents feel EC’s work in the area of biodiversity is important to their organization.
iv) International obligations supported and met through the work of the SA
  • The work of the SA includes international activities related to the CBD, including ABS, and Arctic monitoring in support of CAFF.[24]
  • The SA also supports domestic activities to sustain Canada’s biodiversity, through its work related to the CBS, as required under the CBD.[25]
  • Interviewees provided unanimous support for the need for this work, citing the importance of the international role EC plays, which ensures Canada has a voice internationally, meets its international obligations, and takes action in the North.

Alignment with Federal Government and Departmental Priorities

Evaluation Issue: RelevanceRating
2.     Is the SA aligned with federal government and departmental priorities?Achieved

The work of this SA is aligned with federal and departmental priorities to protect and preserve the diversity andhealth of our natural environment.

  • Government priorities expressed in the Speech from the Throne, in international agreements, and in the Department’s 20102011 Report on Plans and Priorities link enhanced economic development and the well-being of Canadians with the protection of all aspects of the environment, including sustaining biodiversity.[26]
  • Work in the area of biodiversity is aligned with federal priorities as identified in the 2010 Speech from the Throne related to the National Conservation Plan, the North, and the protection and preservation of the diversity and health of our natural environment.[27]
  • This SA directly supports EC’s Strategic Outcome “Canada’s natural environmen is conserved and restored for present and future generations.”[28]
  • The Department’s 20112012 Report on Plans and Priorities identifies a need to build on momentum from the International Year of Biodiversity and COP 10 by working collaboratively with F/P/T governments and key groups including business, cities and youth, to protect and conserve biodiversity domestically and internationally.[29]
  • Further, as identified in the 20112012 Report on Plans and Priorities, the SA is now linked to the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy (FSDS), and contributes towards FSDS performance indicators and targets under Theme III: Protecting Nature.

Consistency with Federal and Departmental Roles and Responsibilities

Evaluation Issue: RelevanceRating
3.     Is the program consistent with federal and departmental roles and responsibilities?Achieved

This SA is consistent with federal and departmental roles and responsibilities in terms of

i)    Federal leadership to meet international obligations related to the CBD and CAFF
  • Interviewees unanimously support the consistency of this work with federal roles and responsibilities, noting Canada’s international commitments related to the CBD (for which EC is the focal point), the development of the CBS, which brings together the F/P/T perspective, and the SA’s work in support of Arctic monitoring and reporting for CAFF, given that the North is under federal jurisdiction and is a federal priority.
  • While ABS is clearly a federal issue, some interviewees identified that there have been discussions among F/P/T representatives as to whether EC was the most appropriate lead for this initiative since the issue is not purely environmental. No clear alternative lead has been identified, however. Further, the fact that the ABS issue stems from the CBD and the Nagoya Protocol, for which EC is the focal point, provides the sole rationale for the focal point role on ABS to remain with EC.
ii)  Ensuring federal coordination for the many jurisdictions that share legal responsibility for the management of biological resources
  • Although legal authority for the management of biological resources is shared among F/P/T governments and Aboriginal peoples,[30] only the federal government is positioned to provide coordination across multiple jurisdictions.[31]
  • International coordination for issues related to the management of biological resources falls to the federal government, for which EC is the identified lead.[32]

4.2 Performance

Design

Evaluation Issue: PerformanceRating
4.     Does the SA’s design support the achievement of results?Appropriate Progress

Effective management for a cross-cutting, horizontal function with shared jurisdiction requires a design with a clearly defined scope that promotes networking, communication and high levels of awareness among departmental partners. The current arrangement appears to be working and is contributing to the achievement ofthe SA’s outcomes, although some alternatives were suggested by interviewees and the opportunity to improve awareness of biodiversity within the Department was identified.

  • Interviews suggest this is a challenging area of work as it includes many elements: policy work; international, domestic, and intergovernmental coordination; science policy linkages; and biodiversity assessment and reporting.
    • It is called a policy group but it is clearly much more than policy.”
  • The SA’s design takes a collaborative, horizontal approach, addressing biodiversity issues at the international, domestic and local levels.[33]
    • This is a coordinating role, leveraging resources, while working with a variety of stakeholders.
  • Although a few interviewees provided suggestions on alternate ways of organizing the Department’s work in the area of biodiversity (e.g. a broader, more overarching structure, or further decentralization), the general consensus was that the current arrangement appears to be working.
    • Good networking and strong communication within the Department and among stakeholders is occurring and contributes to successes in this area.
    • The fact that this area of work has a well-defined scope was also highlighted, noting that, without this, there is a risk that almost all environmental issues can fall within the realm of “biodiversity.”
  • The need for increased awareness of biodiversity within the Department was identified by key informants as critical to the achievement of the SA’s outcomes.

Performance Measurement

Evaluation Issue: PerformanceRating
5.     Are appropriate performance data being collected? If so, is this information being used to inform senior management/decision-makers?Appropriate Progress

Extensive performance information on the state of biodiversity and achievement of the SA’s outcomes is being collected in collaboration with a number of partners and is being used to inform decisionmaking.

  • Performance information that speaks to the achievement of the SA’s outcomes is reported through a number of sources, including the 4th National Report to the CBD, the Value of Nature to Canadians Study, the Ecosystem Status and Trends Report (ESTR), and various reports produced by the working group on the CAFF.[34]
  • The SA’s final outcome is linked with one of EC’s high-level indicators developed to communicate progress being made for the environment. Namely, the percentage of land protected (protected areas) has been identified as an interim indicator for ecosystem health and biodiversity.[35] The high-level indicators are to be published in the Canadian Environmental Sustainability Indicators (CESI)[36] and Canada’s performance report. [37]
  • CESI will also be the main vehicle for reporting on the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy (FSDS) environmental indicators, which address goals related to biodiversity under the theme “Protecting Nature.”[38]
  • Ongoing work on the MEGS project is intended to develop a consistent approach for determining the value of ecosystems, which will in turn support policy decisions in several federal departments.[39]
  • As described in the Biodiversity Outcomes Framework, information is collected to inform decision making domestically and internationally, following the process of “assess - plan - do - track.” [40] The information collected is used at the domestic and international levels to set priorities.

Challenges related to sharing and accessing data from multiple jurisdictions and sources have been identified, but efforts are being taken to address these.

  • Accessible, ongoing, long-term, reliable environmental data is needed to establish benchmarks and determine priority areas for attention. Further, the need to improve the compatibility and sharing of biodiversity information (e.g. among internal EC stakeholders, and between federal government departments) was identified during interviews.
    • ESTR and the Federal Biodiversity Information Partnership[41] were established to contribute to these needs.[42]
  • Key informants identified the biodivcanada.ca website as a central clearinghouse for relevant biodiversity data.
  • Challenges associated with Arctic biodiversity monitoring and data were identified, including a “lack of circumpolar perspective”; “incomplete and irregular coverage”; “limited ability to detect and understand change”; and “limited ability to make informed management decisions.” However, the Circumpolar Biodiversity Monitoring Program has been created to address these issues.[43]

Efforts have been made to link the SA’s newly created logic model to the departmental PMF as well as other reporting mechanisms.

  • A performance measurement strategy aligned with the recently created logic model has not been developed; however, performance information related to the biodiversity outcomes exists.
  • Expected results and performance indicators for SA 1.1.1 are included in the departmental PMF, including targets and dates for their achievement. Reporting related to biodiversity will be published in CESI and the Government of Canada’s performance report.
  • Specific examples of performance information for this SA that were reported in EC’s 20102011 Departmental Performance Report include measures related to COP 10, the Nagoya Protocol, CAFF and the Value of Nature to Canadians Study.[44]

Economy and Efficiency

Evaluation Issue: PerformanceRating

6.     Is the SA undertaking activities and delivering products in the most economical and efficient manner?

  • How could the economy or efficiency of the SA’s activities be improved?
  • Are there alternative, more efficient, ways of delivering this work?

i) Governance:
Some Progress/Attention Needed

ii) Priority Setting,
iii) Roles and Responsibilities/Collaboration,
iv) Use of Resources:
Appropriate Progress

i) Governance

Governance mechanisms are well defined at the F/P/T level; however, there is evidence of a recent trend toward reduced levels of F/P/T senior management engagement on biodiversity.

  • Clearly defined mechanisms for the governance of biodiversity within Canada exist (inter-jurisdictional committees and federal interdepartmental committees), from the ministerial to the working level, and addressing both domestic and international issues.[45]
  • For CAFF-related issues, program representatives report that the DG Advisory Group is an effective mechanism for management input, ensuring linkages with implicated programs and consistency in positions.
  • The frequency of senior-level F/P/T biodiversity meetings (both at the ministerial and ADM levels) has been declining.
    • CCRM has not met since 2008, including not convening during the International Year of Biodiversity (2010), although this may be due to a lack of agenda items requiring ministerial decision making.[46]
    • The number of ADM-level F/P/T and other government department meetings has declined since 20092010, from five meetings for the BSG and four meetings for FBC in 20082009 to two meetings and one meeting, respectively, in 20112012.[47]

Within EC, the disbanding of the boards introduced an interim period of reduced senior management discussions on cross-cutting biodiversity issues, both for issue-specific discussions and broader direction setting. The new governance model allows for the creation of ADM-led and DG-led collaborative committees, which would accommodate this requirement; as of time of writing, however, thesecommittees have not been created.

  • Within EC, interviewees noted the lack of a horizontal mechanism for senior management discussions on biodiversity since the disbanding of the boards. Although generally not supportive of the old board system of governance, the majority of EC interviewees feel that, without a replacement mechanism, the loss of the Ecosystem Sustainability Board has negatively impacted work on biodiversity, which requires horizontal engagement and direction setting.
    • Interviewees provided the following examples of challenges related to the absence of a cross-functional committee: inefficiencies related to the need to pursue input and approvals on COP agenda items separately within Environmental Stewardship and International Affairs, as opposed to discussing and reaching agreement collectively; confusion among EC staff and external stakeholders related to the linkages between the National Conservation Plan and other cross-cutting biodiversity initiatives; and a lack of clear direction regarding EC’s position on the ABS file.
  • Senior managers feel the new, flexible governance approach introduced in February 2012 will be effective once implemented. At time of writing, no ADM-led or DG-led collaborative committees have been established for biodiversity issues, nor have any DMO committee meetings specific to the five key areas of work of this SA taken place.
ii) Priority Setting

For the most part, established priorities are clear, and supported by high-quality work plans that identify key deliverables, outcomes, performance indicators and resource planning.

  • Program staff agree that priorities are clearly defined and laid out in their annual work plans. Plans are heavily driven by international commitments and priorities,[48] with F/P/T committees providing further direction.[49]
  • For CAFF-related work, the DG Advisory Group is recognized by interviewees as providing clear direction, and documentation demonstrates evidence of the group’s role in finalizing Canadian positions prior to CAFF Board meetings.
  • Some areas for improvement were identified by interviewees, however, including
    • the failure of work plans to account for the high number of unanticipated issues which frequently arise;
    • the current absence of a horizontal mechanism to set biodiversity priorities at the departmental level (see above).

Progress on ABS has been impacted by challenges related to a lack of clear direction, although recent discussions at the F/P/T ADM level may pave the way for greater progress.

  • ABS has been identified by EC informants as an area where progress has been limited, primarily due to a lack of clarity on behalf of involved departments as to whether or not this issue is a priority and who should lead it.
  • Information collected at the end of the evaluation study period from both a federal department representative and EC program representatives regarding an interdepartmental meeting chaired by the ADM, Environmental Stewardship Branch, in early 2012, suggests progress on improved clarity regarding F/P/T roles on the ABS file and demonstrates clear action on the part of management to address this issue.
iii) Roles and Responsibilities and Collaboration

Internal EC roles and responsibilities are clearly defined and there is good collaboration among internal partners.

  • The majority of EC key informants felt that, despite the complexity and cross-cutting nature of the portfolio, roles and responsibilities within EC were clear.
    • EBPD is well understood to be the identified focal point on biodiversity policy, CBD, CBS, ABS and international monitoring and reporting.
    • Respondents feel there is excellent working-level collaboration and communication between the EBPD and International Affairs, as well as with relevant program areas within the CWS and the Science and Technology Branch.
    • Placement of the focal point for the National Conservation Plan within the Strategic Priorities Branch has, however, caused confusion among both internal and external stakeholders, and it was noted that greater clarity is required to understand how this initiative connects to the work of the SA.

High-levels of external engagement have been established through collaboration and networking among biodiversity partners and, for the most part, roles and responsibilities with external stakeholders are clearly defined.

  • For the most part, external partners feel roles and responsibilities are clear as a result of the high levels of engagement and strong relationships established by the EBPD team. Many interviewees from all informant groups also identified as strengths EBPD’s engagement with and outreach to municipalities, environmental non-governmental organizations, businesses and Aboriginal groups.
    • Interviewees expressed concerns, however, that established relationships with stakeholders might be lost as a result of the retirement of key staff.
  • Survey results also reveal generally strong levels of agreement that roles and responsibilities are clearly defined and collaboration is appropriate and effective.
    • The majority of external stakeholders involved with the CBD (72%), the CBS (63%), CAFF (66%) and the Value of Nature to Canadians Study (80%) somewhat or strongly agree that roles and responsibilities are clearly defined.
    • Integrating biodiversity considerations into policies and programs is an area for improvement, as only 37% somewhat or strongly agreed that roles and responsibilities are clearly defined. The fact that EC’s role in this area is limited to that of a facilitator is likely a key factor in this lower rating.
    • ABS is another area for attention, while 60% of respondents somewhat or strongly agree that roles and responsibilities are clearly defined, only half (50%) of other government departments (OGDs) somewhat or strongly agreed. Additionally, two thirds (67%) of OGD respondents strongly disagree that collaboration on ABS is appropriate and effective.
      • The recent ADM-level meeting has demonstrated progress in addressing these issues.
iv) Use of Resources

A highly functioning team and the effective use of collaboration, professional service contracts and G&C-funded projects enables EC to accomplish a great deal within a modest budget. Concerns were raised regarding the ability to continue to deliver on all of the SA’s outcomes in light of declining resources.

  • Almost all key informants feel the work of the SA delivers good “value for money” and manages to make a small amount of money go a long way.
    • Senior management noted the high level of expertise as well as the strong international reputation held by this group.
    • Additionally, several felt that a small incremental investment would deliver much greater returns (e.g. infrastructure improvements for sharing of data across OGDs, greater use of third parties to extend reach for collaboration).
  • Examples of efficiency through collaboration include
    • The CAFF Circumpolar Biodiversity Monitoring Program, whose total budget of $1.6 million consisted of only $127,000 in funding from Canada, with the other 92% coming from external sources.[50]
    • The ESTR for the assessment of Canada’s biodiversity from an ecosystem perspective, which represents the combined efforts of F/P/T governments in sharing data, knowledge and perspectives.[51]
    • The Value of Nature to Canadians Study, which makes use of existing data, undertakes new research strategically based on a gap analysis and user needs assessment, and shares survey costs among 6 federal and 13 provincial/territorial partners.[52]
  • O&M expenditures and contributions are employed to allow relatively small resource levels to reach a broader audience of stakeholders and leverage resources from multiple sources for greater impact.
    • A total of 34 contributions were made during the four-year period evaluated that support the regional and sub-regional implementation of the CBD, enhance Canadian participation in CAFF, special projects for international working groups and increased engagement and dialogue on biodiversity issues with youth, cities, environmental non-governmental organizations, business and Aboriginal groups.
      • EBPD maintains clear records of the individual G&C agreements that it manages, although final reports are not maintained in a centralized location, which limits the ability to benefit from these reports for future learning, particularly in light of upcoming retirements and potential staff changes.
  • Many interviewees expressed concerns regarding limited resources, with a majority of program representatives specifically noting concerns about the impact of declining resources on their ability to continue to engage stakeholders.
    • Expenditures have declined by approximately 15% from 20082009 to 20112012. The decline comprises a 9% reduction in salary, 20% reduction in O&M, and a 30% reduction in G&C expenditures, the effect of which is a change in the resource distribution, with salary now comprising a greater proportion of the SA’s funding (from 50% at the beginning of the study period, to 59% in 20112012).[53]
      • Contributions related to the engagement of external stakeholders have been most impacted by the reductions in G&C expenditures.

Achievement of Outcomes

Evaluation Issue: PerformanceRating[54]
7.     To what extent have intended outcomes been achieved as a result of the program?

i) International Influence,
iii) Integration of Biodiversity Locally,
iv) Increased Knowledge & Support for Biodiversity and Ecosystems:
Appropriate Progress

ii) Integration of Biodiversity Domestically,
v) Biodiversity is Conserved:
Some Progress/Attention Needed

i) International Influence

Canadian interests and priorities are strongly reflected in work related to the CBD and CAFF, and EC negotiators have had a significant influence on the global biodiversity agenda through successfulnegotiations at international conferences and steering groups.

  • Canada, under EC’s leadership, was the first industrialized country to ratify the CBD in 1992 and it continues to play an active role in the work of the CBD, both as host to the Secretariat of the Convention in Montréal, Quebec and through regular and ongoing participation.[55]
  • Canada demonstrated leadership at COP 9 to the CBD in 2008, by chairing small negotiating groups, and brokering a compromise to bridge differences between various parties on biofuel, an achievement that was subsequently used for further discussion among all parties.[56]
  • Canada played a significant role in developing the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, which outline the strategic direction of the CBD and its members for the next 10 years. This included achieving Canada’s main objective of ensuring that the post-2010 Strategic Plan and its 20 proposed global targets provide a sound and flexible framework and include key language important for Canada. The specific Aichi Biodiversity Targets to which Canada contributed were subsequently adopted at COP 10.[57]
  • The CAFF Workplan 20112013 identifies over 13 initiatives that are led or co-led by Canada. These include the development of indices, analytic assessments, strategy development and expert groups that focus on climate change, integrated resource management, conservation, communication and outreach.[58]
  • Interviewees noted that EC’s delegations are highly regarded at international meetings and further identified EC’s strong leadership role in developing and advancing Canadian negotiating positions through collaboration/consultations with other government departments and the provinces/territories.
  • A majority of survey respondents (60%) feel that Canada’s interests and priorities are reflected in international agreements and work plans related to biodiversity.
ii) Integration of Biodiversity Considerations at the Domestic Level

Biodiversity is being mainstreamed to some extent at F/P/T levels, with the greatest progress occurring at the provincial/territorial level.

  • The majority of key informants agree that some progress is being made in the integration of biodiversity domestically.
    • EC is contributing significantly to the achievement of this outcome by providing leadership, coordination, support and information sharing.
    • Interviewees note there are frequent references to the term “biodiversity” and that an increasing number of biodiversity-related policies and regulations are in place within the provinces.
    • Many interviewees claimed that more progress is occurring at the provincial/territorial level than federally, although it was noted that significant progress remains to be made in areas such as agriculture and industry.
    • External informants (primarily OGDs), were less positive, noting that biodiversity is not as prominent in government policies as other issues.
  • The external stakeholder survey identifies progress on this outcome and, similar to key informant results, suggests greater progress at the provincial/territorial level.
    • Only half (48%) of survey respondents feel “Biodiversity is considered in federal government decision-making in Canada” to a moderate or large extent (with other government departments providing the lowest ratings); while two thirds (65%) believe this same outcome is being achieved to a moderate or large extent at the provincial and territorial level.
      • Challenges to considering biodiversity in decision making that were identified through the survey include consultation and communication between EC and F/P/T partners; and the low priority believed to be accorded to biodiversity issues under the current federal government.
    • 83% of provincial/territorial and 79% of other government department survey respondents reported that their organization takes biodiversity issues into consideration in its policy development/planning.
  • A review of documentation further demonstrates that consideration of biodiversity in policies, plans and programs is occurring at the F/P/T levels.
    • Efforts to integrate biodiversity are being made through participation in various intergovernmental and interdepartmental committees focused on biodiversity issues, including the BSG, FBC, F/P/T Biodiversity Working Group, ICB and issue-specific working groups.[59]
    • Federal involvement tends to be limited primarily to those departments with specific links to environmental issues:
      • Foreign Affairs, which has integrated biodiversity into several free trade agreements, although it has recently withdrawn its participation on some environmental files;[60]
      • ongoing consultation on ABS with Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada and other federal departments;[61] and
      • the MEGS project, which involves several federal departments.
    • All provinces and territories either have biodiversity policies and practices in place, or are in the process of developing them.[62]

Measuring Ecosystem Goods and Services (MEGS)

The MEGS project is an example of how Environment Canada is supporting the mainstreaming of biodiversity in government plans and policies at the national level, as well as supporting increased knowledge and understanding of the state and importance of biodiversity and the value of ecosystem services.

This interdepartmental project is designed to address the inability to attach a monetary value to ecosystem goods and services, which is increasingly viewed as an important knowledge gap when decision-makers are faced with various policy options. MEGS is expected to help fill this gap by developing a consistent approach to ecosystem valuation, generating further data on ecosystem goods and services through the development and adoption of new standards and indicators. This improved coherency and availability of data on ecosystems and biodiversity will help facilitate the consideration of long-term ecosystem values in future policy decisions.

Source: Case illustrations.

As noted previously, limited progress has occurred on the ABS file at the domestic level.

  • Canada did not sign the Nagoya Protocol by the February 1, 2012 deadline, but is currently working on the development of a domestic implementation strategy for ABS.[63]
  • Key informants noted that they were awaiting federal direction on this file; however, data collected toward the end of the evaluation study period signals positive movement in this area.

The majority of Canada’s international biodiversity commitments pertain to ensuring progress onbiodiversity at the domestic level and Canada, under the leadership of EC, is meeting these commitments

  • The CBD commits its members to a number of fixed obligations, which Canada is meeting.
    • Examples of key commitments include development of a national biodiversity strategy; submitting national reports; development of a domestic ABS regime; promoting scientific and technical cooperation, education and training; exchanging information; and promoting public education and awareness.[64]
  • CAFF does not place fixed obligations on its member states, but rather identifies a number of priority objectives that the working group must work towards. Canada has been heavily involved in work designed to achieve these objectives.[65]
iii) Integration of Biodiversity Considerations at the Local Level

EC’s role in the achievement of this outcome is largely indirect--that of a facilitator working through third parties to generate interest and share information.

  • Key informants note that EC’s role is limited with regard to biodiversity outcomes at the local level, where primary responsibility lies with the local governments, with support from provinces and territories.
    • Program respondents highlighted the important role EC plays in supporting this outcome by providing guidance tools and documentation to facilitate the local integration of biodiversity.
    • External partners note that EC is doing good work in this area, despite limited resources.
  • The federal government has supported the integration of biodiversity at the local level through cooperative arrangements with environmental non-governmental organizations, the development of consultation mechanisms with Aboriginal peoples and the hosting of a number of biodiversity-related conferences.[66]

There is considerable evidence of biodiversity being mainstreamed locally.

  • With just over 80% of Canadians living in urban areas,[67] there are a range of documented activities that point to a growing level of interest in, awareness of and concerns about biodiversity at the local level.
  • Biodiversity policies, programs and initiatives are varied in scope and purpose at the local level. For example, the city of Edmonton has made education on the importance of biodiversity a major local effort while the city of Greater Sudbury is focusing on re-greening programs to restore fragile and damaged landscapes.[68]
  • A majority of survey respondents (70%) believe “Biodiversity is considered in local, regional, or community-based decision-making in Canada” to a moderate or large extent.
  • Key informants noted that increasing progress is being made to integrate biodiversity locally, although there is considerable variability by region and municipality, with larger cities generally having greater levels of engagement.

Mainstreaming Biodiversity in Canadian Municipalities

A great deal of work related to the protection and promotion of biodiversity is occurring at the local level. Canada’s largest municipalities have endorsed policies and programs designed to help governments at the local level mitigate and avoid further biodiversity losses. The majority of these policies and programs are the result of grassroots, bottom-up initiatives that are primarily funded by municipal and provincial governments.

Environment Canada has indirectly supported these activities in a number of ways. These include the creation of an online clearinghouse of information at www.biodivcanada.ca; partnerships with environmental non-governmental organizations that focus on mainstreaming biodiversity at the local level; support for and participation at a number of conferences aimed at local governments; and the development of national strategies, such as the Canadian Biodiversity Strategy, designed to guide the mainstreaming of biodiversity nationally.

Source: Case illustrations.

iv) Increased Knowledge and Support for Biodiversity and Ecosystems

Extensive biodiversity information is available to the public and government partners in a number of forms (e.g. reports, websites), which is expected to contribute to increased knowledge and understanding of biodiversity. Information is showcased through a number of mechanisms,including ongoing programs, conferences and specialevents, including and through the designation of international years/decades.

  • Available information includes reports, publications and websites at the national and sub-national levels, including the CBD 4th National Report, Arctic Biodiversity Trends, and ESTR, showcased through the biodivcanada.ca and caff.is websites.[69]
  • Key informants note that extensive work is being done to achieve this outcome and credit EC with progress in this area.
    • Examples provided by key informants included collaboration with other government departments, academics and the public on initiatives such as the International Year of Biodiversity, Canada’s reports to the CBD, as well as the development of effective tools (e.g. ESTR, BioKits, biodivcanada.ca website).[70]
    • There was also agreement among interviewees that more work needs to continue in this area.
  • EC’s work through the Canadian Business and Biodiversity Council has engaged and supported businesses in their efforts to mitigate their impact on biodiversity.
    • Work includes consultations and the development of tools, guidelines and lessons learned designed to reduce the impact of businesses on biodiversity.[71]
  • In addition to ongoing programs, conferences, events and publications, information is further showcased through the designation of international years/decade, such as the International Year of Biodiversity (2010), the United Nations Decade on Biodiversity (2011-2020), and the International Polar Year (2012), all of which encourage greater international action in these areas.[72]
    • Over 87 biodiversity events were held during the International Year of Biodiversity alone.[73]
  • A majority of survey respondents (58%) reported that EC’s activities in support of biodiversity policy and priorities have contributed from a moderate to a large extent to the outcome “knowledge and information on biodiversity issues is being shared across jurisdictions and organizations.”

Individuals and organizations value nature and support conservation efforts related to biodiversity.

  • Research shows that nature is of high value to Canadians, including Canadian youth.
    • The Nature Matters essay contest for youth (2010) identified an appreciation for the benefits that humans receive from healthy functioning ecosystems.[74]
    • Other research providing evidence that individuals support conservation efforts and value nature for self-identity, resources, economic reasons, tourism and spiritual needs include the 2009 Households & Environment Survey nature module (2011 data will be available in 2013), and research conducted in preparation for the upcoming Value of Nature to Canadians Study.[75]
  • The growing number of individuals, groups, and businesses involved in stewardship initiatives demonstrates Canadians’ commitment to biodiversity conservation.[76]
v) Biodiversity Is Conserved in Canada and Globally

Some progress has been made related to the conservation of biodiversity in Canada and globally; however, threats to biodiversity continue and have increased, and long-term work is needed.

  • Evidence of appropriate progress toward the immediate and intermediate outcomes suggests that EC is making strides toward the achievement of the final outcome.
  • As noted in ESTR, while much of Canada’s natural environment remains healthy and some progress has been made toward the conservation of biodiversity, declines in biodiversity are continuing and there is a need for more to be done, both within Canada and globally (including in the Arctic).[77]
  • The international 2010 biodiversity target set in 2002 by the COP, to see a significant reduction of the then current rate of biodiversity loss at the global, regional and national levels, was not met. This United Nations assessment was based on a review of all available evidence, including national reports submitted by the Parties.[78]
  • The external stakeholder survey revealed mixed results in terms of EC’s contribution in support of biodiversity conservation in Canada and globally.
    • 60% of respondents feel EC has contributed to the conservation of biodiversity in Canada to a moderate or large extent, with provinces and territories being the most positive (provinces/territories: 83%, others: 63%, OGDs: 50%).
    • 40% of respondents feel EC has contributed to the conservation of biodiversity globally to a moderate or large extent, with OGDs (44%) and other respondents (45%) providing much more positive ratings of EC’s contribution to this outcome than provincial/territorial respondents (20%).
vi) External Factors and Unintended Outcomes

External factors that influence the achievement of the SA outcomes include the reliance on external partners, organizationalchanges in the Department and other factors, such as resources and shifting federal priorities.

  • Interviewees noted that there are many partners engaged in conserving biodiversity both internationally and domestically and, such being the case, the success of the outcomes under this SA are contingent on the cooperation and compliance of those involved.
  • Some interviewees noted that the reality of working with multiple partners makes it challenging for EC to control progress in this area, including working with other government departments that are operating with different mandates and have different agendas, levels of involvement, and varying degrees of priority.
  • Several program representatives noted that frequent reorganizations within EC have influenced the momentum of this work.
  • Factors such as fiscal considerations and capacity, political considerations and shifts in federal priorities were also external factors noted during interviews.

No unintended outcomes associated with the SA’s program activities were identified.

5.0 Recommendation and Management Response

The following recommendation is directed to the ADM, Environmental Stewardship Branch, as the senior departmental manager responsible for Biodiversity Policy and Priorities.

Recommendation: Establish a mechanism or forum for horizontal discussion and coordination of biodiversity issues within the Department.

Within EC, the disbanding of the boards introduced an interim period of reduced senior management discussions on cross-cutting biodiversity issues, both for issue-specific discussions and broader direction setting. The new governance model has mechanisms that would accommodate these discussions; however, at time of writing they have not been utilized.

Given that biodiversity is a horizontal file that impacts many areas of the Department (e.g. Environmental Stewardship, Science and Technology, International Affairs and Strategic Policy), mechanisms for engagement and coordination are key to providing a horizontal lens to set priorities for the biodiversity file as a whole; streamlining the approval process (e.g. Canadian positions and agendas for international meetings); and increasing awareness, communication and collaboration related to biodiversity.

Although governance mechanisms for biodiversity are well defined at the F/P/T level with the existence of both inter-jurisdictional committees and federal interdepartmental committees, there has been a recent trend toward reduced levels of senior management engagement on biodiversity, as evidenced by a decline in the frequency of senior-level meetings of these committees. Given EC’s leadership role in these committees, maintaining ongoing engagement and dialogue within EC on biodiversity issues is critical for ensuring a continued focus on biodiversity at the F/P/T level.

The ADM, Environmental Stewardship Branch, agrees with the recommendation.

Management Action

Within the new departmental governance structure, significant policy proposals on cross-cutting biodiversity issues will continue to be the subject of DMO meetings at appropriate times. The first such meeting, to discuss Canadian biodiversity goals and targets as part of Canada's domestic response to the CBD 2011-2020 Strategic Plan, was held on June 28th, 2012.

In addition, a new DG-led collaborative committee on biodiversity will be established on a one-year trial basis to provide a regular forum for horizontal policy and program discussions related to cross-cutting biodiversity initiatives, particularly in the context of EC’s responsibilities under the CBD.

The Committee will be chaired by the DG, Canadian Wildlife Service, with representatives from other implicated areas of the Department. The Committee will meet quarterly, or more frequently as needed.

TimelineDeliverable(s)Responsible Party
Fall 2013Discussion and decision on ongoing role for DG CommitteeDG – CWS, with DG Committee Committee members
Summer 2012Development of draft terms of reference and proposed membership.DG – CWS
Fall 2012First meeting of the Committee; adoption of terms of reference; summary meeting notes; forward agenda.DG – CWS, with Committee members
QuarterlyCommittee meetings with agenda and meeting notes.DG – CWS

 

Annex 1 Summary of Findings[79]

Evaluation Question (EQ)Appropriate Progress/ AchievedSome Progress/ Attention NeededLittle Progress/ Priority for Attention
Relevance
EQ1 – Continued Need
X
 
 
EQ2 – Alignment with Priorities
X
 
 
EQ3 – Consistency with Roles and Responsibilities
X
 
 
Performance
EQ4 – Design
X
 
 
EQ5 – Performance Measurement
X
 
 
EQ6 – Economy & Efficiency
 
 
 
Governance
 
X
 
Priority Setting
X
 
 
Roles & Responsibilities / Collaboration
X
 
 
Use of Resources
X
 
 
EQ7– Achievement of Outcomes
 
 
 
International Influence
X
 
 
Integration of Biodiversity at the Domestic Level
 
X
 
Integration of Biodiversity at the Local Level
X
 
 
Increased Knowledge and Support for Biodiversity & Ecosystems
X
 
 
Final Outcome – Biodiversity is Conserved
 
X
 

 

Annex 2 Direct and Intermediate Outcome Themes

Direct OutcomesIntermediate Outcomes
International Influence

Canada’s interests and priorities are reflected in international agreements and work plans related to biodiversity, ecosystem services and genetic resources

 

Canada has significant influence on the global biodiversity agenda
Integration of Biodiversity Considerations at the Domestic Level

Biodiversity is mainstreamed in government policies, plans, and programs at national and sub-national levels

 

Canada meets its obligations under international biodiversity and genetic resources agreements

Actions and decisions of governments demonstrate responsible stewardship of biodiversity and ecosystem services

Integration of Biodiversity Considerations at the Local Level

Biodiversity is mainstreamed in place-based planning and decision making at multiple scales

 

Canada meets its obligations under international biodiversity and genetic resources agreements (same as above)

Actions and decisions of governments demonstrate responsible stewardship of biodiversity and ecosystem services

Increased Knowledge and Support for Biodiversity and Ecosystems

Increased knowledge and understanding of the state and importance of biodiversity and value of ecosystem services

 

Individuals and organizations support conservation efforts and take informed action to conserve biodiversity and use biological resources sustainably

[1] The Program Activity Architecture illustrates the Department’s activities in a hierarchy showing how the lower-level elements (e.g., sub-activities or sub-sub-activities) contribute to the Department’s strategic outcomes.

[2] Environment Canada (EC). 2011. EC’s Audit and Evaluation Branch (AEB) Integrated Risk-Based Audit and Evaluation Plan 2011-2016.

[3] Other sub-activities that fall under activity 1.1 are: 1.1.2 Species at Risk, 1.1.3 Migratory Birds, and 1.1.4 Wildlife Habitat Conservation.

[4] Government of Canada (GoC). 1995. Canadian Biodiversity Strategy (CBS).

[5] The Canadian Wildlife Service (CWS) also plays a role in the delivery of this element, as it manages the contribution funding related to humane trapping, which falls under this sub-activity. The CWS is also a key collaborator with respect to delivering on biodiversity commitments related to Environment Canada's mandate regarding migratory birds, species at risk, and habitat.

[6] Chaired by the Minister of EC, CCRM includes the F/P/T Ministers from the following councils: Canadian Council of Fisheries and Aquaculture Ministers; Atlantic Council for Fisheries and Aquaculture Ministers; Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment ; Canadian Council of Forest Ministers; Canadian Endangered Species Conservation Council; and Parks Canada Council.

[7] EC. 2012. Environment Canada’s Governance Structure. p. 9-13.

[8] EC. 2011. EC’s AEB Integrated Risk Based Audit and Evaluation Plan. 2011-2016.

[9] Domestic Monitoring and Reporting Salary and O&M expenditures (under 1.3.2) were $624K in 2010–2011 and $372K in 2011–2012.

[10] EC also makes a small contribution (~$60,000) toward an annual grant of ~$1M from the Government of Canada to support the CBD Secretariat in Montreal. Funding is provided by EC’s International Affairs Branch and does not map to SA 1.1.1.

[11] The assessment of G&C funding related to Humane Trapping was limited to a file review, since this item is managed by CWS, despite being aligned with 1.1.1 in the Department’s financial system.

[12] CESD. “Chapter 3--Canadian Biodiversity Strategy: A Follow-Up Audit.” Report of the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development. Accessed from http://www.oag-bvg.gc.ca/internet/English/ parl_cesd_200509_03_e_14950.html, September 2005.

[13] EC. 2011. EC’s AEB Integrated Risk Based Audit and Evaluation Plan. 2011-2016. p. 23.

[14] See Data Collection Instruments Technical Appendix.

[15] Individuals participating in the key informant interviews were not also contacted for the survey.

[16] The  “Other” category included municipal governments, Aboriginal groups, non-governmental organizations, academics, private-sector enterprises and international organizations.

[17] See Annex 2 for a complete list of outcome themes.

[18] GoC. 1995. CBS. p. 2.

[19] GoC. 2009. Canada’s 4th National Report to the United Nations CBD. p. 1.

[20] GoC. 1995. CBS. p. 2.

[21] GoC. 2010. Canadian Biodiversity: Ecosystem Status and Trends 2010. p. 9.

[22] GoC. 2009. 4th National Report. p. 2.

[23] GoC. 1995. CBS. p. 11.

[24] Environmental Stewardship Branch (ESB). n.d. 2011-2012 Workplans.

[25] ESB. n.d. 2011-2012 Workplans.

[26] GoC. 2010. Speech from the Throne. Delivered March 9, 2010; GoC. 1995. CBS; EC. 2010. Report on Plans and Priorities (RPP) 2010-2011; EC. 2011. Departmental Performance Report (DPR) 2010-2011.

[27] GoC. 2010. Speech from the Throne. Delivered March 9, 2010.

[28] EC. 2011. 2012-13 EC PAA.

[29] EC. 2011. RPP 2011-2012. p. 28-33.

[30] Aboriginal peoples have certain authority relating to the management of resources on settlement lands, reserves or land they own.

[31] EC. 1995. CBS. p. 11.

[32] EC. 1995. CBS. p. 11.

[33] GoC. 1995. CBS. p.12; GoC. n.d. Maintaining and Protecting Biodiversity: Developing a 21st Century Approach to the Management of Canada’s Natural Assets - Policy Options – Final.p. 1; GoC. n.d. A Biodiversity Outcomes Framework for Canada; EC. 2009. 2010-11 EC PAA.

[34] GoC. 2009. Canada’s 4th National Report; Ecosystem & Biodiversity Priorities, EC. January 2012. The Value of Nature to Canadians Study: An FPT ADM initiative; GoC. 2010. Canadian Biodiversity: Ecosystem Status and Trends 2010; CAFF. 2011. Circumpolar Biodiversity Monitoring Program (CBMP); CAFF. 2011. Report to Arctic Council Ministerial; GoC. 2010. Statement on Canada’s Arctic Foreign Policy: Exercising Sovereignty and Promoting Canada’s Northern Strategy Abroad.

[35] EC. High Level Indicators for EC: EAAC June 15, 2011, slide 10.

[36] An overview of observed trends and results for key high-level environmental sustainability indicators reported in CESI is included in EC’s DPR for 2010–2011 (p. 83).

[37] Sustainable Development Office, Environment Canada. Progress Report for the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy 2010-2013, June 2011, p. 14.

[38] EC. 2011-12 RPP. p. 32.

[39] Statistics Canada. Measuring ecosystems goods and services (MEGS): A statistical perspective. CIRANO Seminar: Accounting for the Environment in a System of National Accounts, January 17, 2012

[40] GoC. n.d. Biodiversity Outcomes Framework.

[41] Although there is involvement from program staff from this SA, the Science and Technology Branch is the departmental lead for this initiative.

[42] GoC. n.d. Policy Options.

[43] CAFF. 2011. CBMP: Coordinating for Arctic Conservation. p. 3-4.

[44] EC. 2010-11 DPR, p. 28-30.

[45] EC. 2012. Environment Canada’s Governance Structure, 2012. Internal Document.

[46] EC. n.d. Resource Councils Overview. Internal Document; GoC. 2009. Canada’s 4th National Report.

[47] Records of Decision, Biodiversity Steering Group (BSG) and Federal Biodiversity Council (FBC). 2008–2009 to 2011–2012.

[48] ESB. n.d. 2011-2012 Workplans.

[49] EC. n.d. Resource Councils Overview. Internal Document; GoC. 2009. Canada’s 4th National Report.

[50] EC. 2011. CBMP 2011 Status Report. Internal Document.

[51] Federal, Provincial and Territorial Governments of Canada. 2010. Canadian Biodiversity: Ecosystem Status and Trends 2010. Canadian Council of Resource Ministers. Ottawa, ON. p.1.

[52] EC. 2012. The Value of Nature to Canadians Study: An FPT ADM Initiative.

[53] This analysis includes the domestic monitoring and reporting expenditures, to hold constant the program elements contained in the analysis.

[54] Annex 2 presents the outcomes grouped by the themes reported below.

[55] EC. 2010. CBD: 2010-11 Workplan.

[56] GoC. 2008. Report on the Ninth Conference of Parties to the CBD. Internal Document. p.1, 4.

[57] GoC. 2010. WRGI-3 - Canadian delegation report. Internal Document; CBD. 2009. General and Open-ended Questions on the Strategic Plan Submission for Canada; CBD. 2010. Comments on Possible Outline and elements of the New Strategic Plan – Submission by Canada.

[58] CAFF. 2011. Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna Workplan 2011-13.

[59] EC. n.d. Resource Councils Overview.

[60] See Canadian Free Trade Agreements with Colombia, Panama and Peru.

[61] EC. 2009. ABS: Policy Development in Canada: A Report on Engagement Activities. Internal Document.

[62] www.biodivcanada.ca/default.asp?lang=En&n=CB2446A5-1

[63] www.biodivcanada.ca/default.asp?lang=En&n=A9326342-1

[64] EC. 2011. Canada’s Key Obligations under the CBD – Email Summary of the Text of the CBD by Ole Hendrickson. Internal document.

[65] CAFF.1991. Program for the Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna Framework Document.

[66] EC. 2009. Canada’s 4th National Report; EC. 2011-12 RPP; GoC. 2011. Canada’s Report to the CBD on the IYB.

[67] www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/11-008-x/2008001/article/10459-eng.htm

[68] International Council for Local Environment Initiatives. 2010. Cities and Biodiversity Case Study Series.

[69] http://www.biodivcanada.ca/default.asp?lang=En&n=DABC84B3-1 http://www.caff.is/

[70] http://www.biodivcanada.ca/default.asp?lang=En&n=DABC84B3-1

[71] www.ec.gc.ca/envirozine/default.asp?lang=En&n=DA29A7DD-1.

[72] CBD. n.d. United Nations Decade on Biodiversity: National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans -Fact Sheet; GoC. 2011. Canada’s Report to the CBD on the International Year of Biodiversity (IYB). www.unac.org/en/news_events/un_days/international_years.asp.

[73] GoC. 2011. Canada’s Report to the CBD on the IYB; GOC. 2011. GOC Program for IPY. p. 10.

[74] CSoP Research and Consulting. 2009. How Canadians Value Nature: A Strategic and Conceptual Review to Literature and Research.

[75] www23.statcan.gc.ca:81/imdb/p2SV.pl?Function=getSurvey&SDDS=3881&lang=en&db=imdb&adm=8&dis=2

[76] F/P/T Governments of Canada. Canadian Biodiversity: ESTR 2010. p. 1.

[77] CBD. 2010. Global Biodiversity Outlook 3; GoC. 2010. Canadian Biodiversity: ESTR 2010. CAFF. 2010. Arctic Biodiversity Trends 2010: Key Findings Report.

[78] CBD. 2010. Global Biodiversity Outlook 3.

[79] The ratings and their significance are outlined in Table 4

Date modified: