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The NRTEE has a single strategic outcome: Federal policy development on environment and economy issues and decisions in other key sectors are influenced by NRTEE advice on selected issues. Furthermore, as noted in its PAA, the Round Table has a single program activity, namely to provide advice on environment and economy issues that contribute directly to the strategic outcome.
As noted previously, the provision of advice to decision makers is the NRTEE's single program activity (apart from corporate services). As this activity is synonymous with Priority 1, it was described in Section I of this document in broad terms. Expected results reflect the extent to which NRTEE advice is considered in policy decisions and the level of awareness and understanding reported by federal decision makers and other national stakeholders.
This section provides further details about this program activity. It describes the areas in which the NRTEE expects to produce advice over the next few years, and it outlines how that advice will be promoted to decision makers.
The NRTEE produces advice on a range of economy-environment issues through commissioned research, analysis, and consultation with experts and NRTEE members. In the past, members identified the issues examined; the resulting program activities culminated in State of the Debate reports with recommendations aimed at government and private sector decision makers. More recently, the agency has been providing the government with targeted advice reports that promote economic and environmental sustainability for Canadians.
In spring 2006, the agency completed the first phase of its long-term energy and climate change work comprising domestic and international components respectively. The key final product from this work was the Advisory Note released in June 2006.
i) Respond to the reference provided to the NRTEE in Canada's Clean Air Act. This will involve development and delivery of policy advice to the Minister of Environment with respect to Bill C-30, Canada's Clean Air Act. It, along with the Notice of Intent to Develop and Implement Regulations and Other Measures to Reduce Air Emissions (NOI), specifies that the NRTEE will provide advice to the Minister in two areas:
Greenhouse Gas Emissions:
The early part of 2007-2008 will be devoted to fine tuning the work plan for this initiative. The NRTEE plans to provide an interim report to the Minister of the Environment in spring 2007, and a final report in the fall 2007.
ii) Develop a long-term Policy Framework on Energy and Climate Change. The NRTEE will develop policy advice to help implement the recommendations made in its earlier work on a long-term energy and climate change strategy for Canada. The agency's previous work on energy and climate change focused on a proposed low-carbon energy future for 2050, which is illustrated by wedge diagrams. These diagrams visually represent how various technologies and actions can be combined to achieve a particular target for reducing GHGs. They do not, however, describe how these changes can be achieved. Implementing the change represented by the wedges will be a significant challenge requiring major policy development. For this reason, the NRTEE will need to supplement the Canadian "wedge analysis" with an understanding of the wedges' costs and benefits, and an analysis of policies that might encourage their implementation. The NRTEE initiated this work in 2006 and will continue to further develop the findings in 2007, integrating this research with that related to its work on Canada's Clean Air Act as appropriate.
iii) Contribute to the development of a National Climate Change Adaptation Policy. The NRTEE will continue to work on its contribution to the development of a national climate change adaptation policy for Canada. NRTEE members have identified a need for policies that result in concrete actions to adapt to the impacts of climate change. Some work has been carried out to track and predict the nature of Canadian climate change impacts, but little has been done to facilitate how key components of Canadian society should adapt to these impacts. The NRTEE's plans for 2007-2008 include continuing this work with a particular focus on a northern Canadian case study.
(iv) Maintain an ongoing R&D Capacity. Strategic efforts in the following areas will maintain capacity in areas of strength for the NRTEE, as well as in areas that the NRTEE wishes to develop further. The effort will be more modest in scope than work in the other areas.
The result that the NRTEE is aiming for is the production of useful recommendations and advice. The agency will measure its performance on this activity in terms of the quality of the advice and recommendations it produces.
Through experience, the NRTEE has learned the value of promoting its advice and policy recommendations as a means to achieving its strategic outcome. In addition to generating advice for decision makers, the NRTEE works to ensure that federal decision makers, stakeholders in key sectors, the media, and the public recognize it as a credible and trusted source of research on and analysis of the environment and the economy in Canada.
In 2006-2007, the NRTEE devoted considerable resources to communications and outreach. The efforts in the coming period will be strategic but more modest in terms of resources.
(i) Disseminate the NRTEE's recommendations and advice. Following the release of a program report or a series of recommendations, the agency employs several strategies to reach federal audiences and other key opinion leaders and decision makers in Canada. Each audience is critical to building sufficient momentum for change. In 2006-2007, the NRTEE engaged in a very active period of promotion and an outreach initiative focusing on the June 2006 Advisory Note. In 2007-2008 it expects to continue with briefings and stakeholder engagement on its energy and climate change work. These activities will be part of a targeted effort to increase the level of awareness and understanding of its recommendations and advice by federal decision makers and national stakeholders, with the ultimate goal of influencing policy development on the issues addressed. The meetings provide a forum to present the NRTEE's advice and also to hear from stakeholders. This exchange of ideas is key to ensuring that the advice is useful and relevant, and it also assists in framing future possible work on specific issues.
(ii) Develop partnerships. The NRTEE will pursue partnerships with appropriate corporations, industry associations, NGOs and research organizations, along with relevant government departments. This initiative will be designed to enhance the NRTEE's work and to facilitate collaboration and action among decision makers and stakeholders, particularly among non-traditional partners. The efforts will be linked to the NRTEE's ongoing work on energy and climate change issues and to the new work on Canada's Clean Air Act. Strategic alliances with prospects for improving government and non-government policy and actions and for achieving energy and climate change targets will be pursued.
(iii) Implement the NRTEE's new Strategic Communications Framework. In recent years, the NRTEE has focused most directly on its relationship with the federal government and its role in delivering policy advice to that key client. The NRTEE recognizes that it is not well understood by certain stakeholder groups or the media, who are also key to the NRTEE's ability to reach other important decision makers in Canadian society. Based on a 2006-2007 examination of the NRTEE's approach to communications and how this could be improved, the NRTEE will implement a long-term strategic plan in 2007-2008 to refocus its communications efforts on key audiences, new communications objectives, positioning, and tactics. It will also consider the results of a current study in relation to the resources and structure required to implement the new plan.
(iv) Maintain corporate communications activities. The NRTEE will continue to invest in improving its website, which remains an important tool for disseminating key information to stakeholders and the public. The Virtual Library feature enables easy access to over 300 NRTEE documents on sustainable development, in both official languages. In addition, the agency will continue to produce and disseminate e-briefs and quarterly newsletters to contacts in stakeholder groups to further promote its findings and advice.
The Round Table will also devote limited resources to supporting past programs, mostly through speaking engagements.
The goal of the NRTEE's promotional efforts is an increased awareness and understanding of environment and economy issues by federal decision makers and other national stakeholders. Effective communication of its recommendations will be required to achieve this goal-the quality and reach of its external communications will be used as the indicator for measuring performance.