Tip Sheet on Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA): Environment and Climate Action
Main recommendations extracted from the SEA of the Feminist International Assistance Policy (FIAP) for the Environment and Climate Action Area
In compliance with the Cabinet Directive on the Environmental Assessment of Policy, Plan and Program Proposals, GAC has produced a strategic environmental assessment (SEA) of its Feminist International Assistance Policy (FIAP) and its action area policies. The purpose of the SEA is to assess the potential environmental effects, either positive or negative, associated with the FIAP and its action area policies and to incorporate the results in the development of these policies in order to reduce potential adverse environmental effects and enhance environmental and developmental outcomes.
Summary of the Environment and Climate Action Area priority pathways: Canada will support developing countries’ efforts to transition to low carbon, environmentally sustainable and climate resilient economies and societies. It will focus on three paths of action: strengthening environmental governance and enhancing women’s participation in decision-making; investing in low carbon and climate resilient economies, and; promoting environmental practices that support healthy, resilient, adaptive communities.
What are the environmental sustainability issues and linkages?
- The Earth’s average surface temperature has risen by 10 Celsius above pre-industrial times and is set to continue rising, leading to large and potentially dangerous shifts in weather patterns.
- Water is to adaptation what energy is to mitigation is a well-known adage that reflects the climatic importance of both water and energy.
- We are living in what scientists are referring to as the Anthropocene Age, where the flow of energy and mass are at geological scales. This is resulting in profound planetary effects that include: biodiversity extinction rates at the highest levels since the end of the dinosaur era; phosphorous and nitrogen cycles being disrupted on a scale not seen in millions of years; and freshwater supplies that are under significant treat. Persistent organic pollutants, plastics, and heavy metals (e.g., mercury, lead) are also deadly to people and ecosystems.
What are the potential environmental effects of the proposed pathways?
The main goal for this action area is to support developing countries’ efforts to transition to low carbon, environmentally sustainable and climate resilient economies and societies, through initiatives that will reduce global greenhouse gas emissions, improve climate resilience, and protect and sustainably manage natural resources and ecosystems, including addressing pollution, which disproportionately affects the poorest and most vulnerable.
- Canada will work with all actors of society to create an enabling environment that promotes investment in climate-smart and environmentally sustainable innovations, practices and technologies.
- It will also integrate environment and climate change considerations in all sectors of Canadian international assistance programming to ensure that development efforts do not harm the environment and development gains are not eroded by environmental degradation, and that opportunities linked to environment, climate change, and natural resource management are identified and seized.
- Through the introduction of new and more efficient technologies, support to cleaner sources of energy production, introduction of improved agro-forestry systems and practices and other initiatives targeted at mitigating the effects of climate change and increasing resilience, Canada is contributing to supporting the efforts of developing countries to mitigate and adapt to climate change.
What are the proposed measures to minimise potential adverse environmental effects and increase positive development outcomes?
The Policy seizes many opportunities to guide programming that would have positive effects on the environment, including:
- Supporting government institutions’ and international organizations’ efforts to develop and implement strong environment-related and environmentally sensitive policies, laws, regulations, plans, frameworks and services, focussing on engaging the private sector and civil society, particularly women and vulnerable populations, as active leaders and participants in these efforts.
- Promoting the transition towards low-carbon and climate-resilient economies, by increasing investment and business opportunities in low-carbon, clean-growth sectors and improving access to, and availability of, gender-responsive financing for climate change mitigation and adaptation initiatives, and of innovative environmentally sustainable technologies, prioritizing those that respond to the needs and priorities of women.
- Supporting the adoption of environmentally sound practices to build resilience, strengthen climate change adaptation and mitigation, reduce pollution, and improve sustainable natural resource management, focussing on supporting the leadership and ownership of women and vulnerable groups in developing local practices and technologies, such as climate-smart agriculture, that equip them to plan, prepare and respond to sustainability challenges.
- Engaging in policy dialogue on environment and climate change with developing country governments, particularly in countries with high risks or vulnerabilities.
- Preventing environmental deterioration, through actions such as protecting coastal zones (e.g. mangroves) to maintain natural protection from rising sea levels and high tides, and protecting critical forests to maintain or increase carbon sequestration, which will require much less investment now than will be required if the deterioration is not prevented and environmental, economic and social costs result.
For more information, consult the Public Statement: Strategic Environmental Assessment of Action Areas under Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy
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