Academic journal article Dalhousie Law Journal

From Idea to Practice: Sustainable Development Efforts in Manitoba

Academic journal article Dalhousie Law Journal

From Idea to Practice: Sustainable Development Efforts in Manitoba

Article excerpt

With a renewed global interest in achieving a more sustainable society, the authors reflect on the history of institutionalizing sustainable development in their province, Manitoba, and consider its future. This paper outlines that province's approaches to developing and advancing sustainable development and discusses the success of these approaches in shaping, guiding, and furthering sustainable development in the province. This is achieved through examination of legislation and review of sustainable development documents as well as interviews with various participants in the process including members of the Manitoba Round Table for Environment and Economy, and members of the more recent Manitoba Round Table for Sustainable Development. Reference is made to the Nova Scotia experience. The authors conclude that Manitoba's success in advancing sustainable development is predictably mixed and coalesces around roundtable actions, institutional structure, and policy development.

L'intérêt mondial pour une société plus durable ayant été ravivé, les auteurs entament une réflexion sur l'institutionnalisation du développement durable dans leur province (Manitoba) et s'interrogent sur son avenir. L'article fait état des méthodes adoptées par le Manitoba pour appuyer et faire progresser le développement durable et discute de leur utilisation pour définir, orienter et favoriser le développement durable dans la province. Pour ce faire, les auteurs examinent la loi et divers documents sur le développement durable ainsi que les entrevues avec divers participants au processus, notamment des membres de la Table ronde du Manitoba sur l'environnement et l'économie et des membres de la Table ronde manitobaine sur le développement durable, de création plus récente. Les auteurs concluent que le succès de la promotion du développement durable par le Manitoba est intimement lié aux interventions de la Table ronde, aux politiques qu'elle élaborera età sa structure de coordination.


I. Formative years: shaping ideas into legislation

II. A new vision: implementation of the Sustainable Development Act

III. A new government: rethinking sustainable development implementation

IV. Key components of sustainable development implementation

1. Round tables

2. Institutional structure

3. Policy approaches



This year - 2012 - is the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Bruntland Commission's Our Common Future, the report that presented the world with the concept of sustainable development in its now popularized definition - development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generation to meet their own needs.1 It also is the twentieth anniversary of the ground-breaking United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), known as the Earth Summit. One of the fundamental outcomes of the conference was Agenda 21, which called upon each country to devise national approaches to and strategies for instituting sustainable development.2 Brodhag and Talière note that "Agenda 21 recognises that the enormous task involved in sustainable development needs an orderly approach."3 Two decades later, following up on the notable Earth Summit, world leaders, having recently attended Rio+20 (United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development), are once again considering sustainable development and in particular "the institutional framework for sustainability development," one of two primary themes of the conference.4

Although there has been considerable commitment made to sustainability ideals by governments around the world,5 institutionally embedding the commitments made under Agenda 21 has been very difficult. Barry Rabe noted that the momentum following the Earth Summit was short-lived, with little discussion of the institutional reforms needed to implement sustainable development.6 It remains to be seen whether or not leaders will continue to pursue the commitments made at Rio+20, or if enthusiasm for sustainable development will once again rapidly fade. …

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