Leading by Example: Implementing the SDGs in Canada

Victoria Conference Centre - Victoria, Canada  
March 10-11, 2020

March 10, 2020


Welcome Remarks


Land Acknowledgement & Opening Keynote by Local Titleholder: Putting the SDGs in Context


Keynote: Welcome to Victoria
Lisa Helps, Mayor, City of Victoria


Opening Panel: Paving the way for the Sustainable Development Goals in Practice 
SDG(s) in Focus: Goal #5, 17

One of the biggest strengths of the SDGs is that they provide a common language to address some of the most pressing challenges we face - not only between different geographies, but between different sectors and stakeholders. But five years into Agenda 2030, is this common language actually bridging any gaps? Is this “language”, and participating in this conversation accessible for all?

In many cases, sustainability as a concept has been co opted by the private sector, at times merely replicating existing power structures and excluding those that paved the groundwork for these goals to exist, such as Indigenous people, among others. While the global main stage may often exclude these groups, there is a lot to learn from the many people actively engaging with the goals in practice across Canada and the world. If the legacy of Agenda 2030 is to be more than a marketing exercise, we need an approach that centers the work of these local communities, national and local  governments, Indigenous peoples, as well as the fundamental inclusion of women, non-profit, and private stakeholders alike.

10:40 - 11:00

From Talk to Action: Introducing the Winners of the Incentivizing Action Grants
Presented by the Victoria Foundation


Networking Break


Panel: Creating Sustainable Cities by Transforming Urban Systems
SDG(s) in Focus: Goals #9, 11, 12, 13

When it comes to sustainability, cities pose both a threat and an opportunity for change. With over 80% of its residents living in urban areas, Canada is facing a set of challenges found when rapid urbanization meets worsening planetary instability, and our way of life in cities is making it increasingly unlikely that we’ll achieve the SDGs.

For cities to make good on their potential as a force for sustainable change, improved design and form is needed. Transformation in infrastructure and the built environment can yield substantial improvement in resource efficiency, climate adaptation, and behavioral change, alleviating some pressure on the living environment, fresh water and food supplies, and public health.




Panel: Future-Proofing the Market Economy
SDG(s) in Focus: Goal #1, 1

“Vote with your wallet” is one of the most common responses to the question “what can I do to help the planet?” Consumer preference can be a powerful force for influencing sustainable production and consumption, but it must be supported with different visions of what business-as-usual can be. Many businesses and certification programs are making an explicit connection between economics and social impact, using business, innovation, and entrepreneurship as strategic levers to make progress on environmental protection, poverty, equity, and inclusion.




Breakout Session / Interactive Workshops
Participants will break out into workshops and meet-ups for hands-on activities with the goal of learning more about specific topics


Networking and Coffee Break


Panel: Designing a Data-Driven Blueprint for Action
SDG(s) in Focus: Goal #17

While many cities and towns around the world are making progress toward the 2030 Agenda, developing relevant indicators and collecting subsequent data can be difficult. In practice this means that explicit policy alignment and progress toward the Goals is often under-reported, missing the opportunity to provide a blueprint for action for other similar municipalities and contexts. How can we align differing agendas with the Goals, what benefits rest in doing so, accurately measure our progress, and do so in a way that invites increased engagement? 


Cocktail Reception

March 11, 2020

9:15 - 9:25

Welcome to Day Two!

9:25 - 9:40

Grand Chief Abram Benedict, Mohawk Council of Akwesasne


Panel: Indigenous City 
SDG(s) in Focus: Goals #1, 5, 10, 16

The 2030 Agenda has the potential to guide a conversation of transformation and reconciliation if undertaken from a rights-based and culturally sensitive approach. However, in many implementation strategies, it misses the mark. How can we establish objectives in order to empower and incorporate First Nations and Urban Indigenous perspectives in the provision of essential social services, education, healthcare, and economic opportunity, as well as supporting Indigenous arts, culture, awareness, and understanding.


Panel: Can Technology ‘Fast-Track’ Progress on the SDGs?
SDG(s) in Focus: Goals #11, 17

With 2020 to 2030 primed to be the ‘action phase’ for Agenda 2030, will technology play the role of the enabler or the disruptor? With the rise and distribution of technology, endless possibilities and extraordinary threats exist in its widespread implementation. Technology can enable entire sectors of our economy to change rapidly, leading to increased efficiency, improved resource management, and democratization. It can also pose threats to privacy and equity of access. In order to harness the power of technology for good, we must coordinate between business, government, and citizens, to actively align policy with real needs identified within the SDGs.


Town Hall: Small Places, Big Ideas
SDG(s) in Focus: Goals #10, 11, 17

All too often, important quality-of-life conversations are approached from a distinctly urban perspective. What strategies are being employed in small and medium sized locales to create more inclusive, healthy, and sustainable places? What can we learn from smaller places that can be applied to larger ones and how can we engage Indigenous leadership on various levels? In this session, we will hear from a panel of experts and open the floor to a lively conversation with the audience.


Closing Remarks
The Honorable George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy




Site Visits & Interactive Workshops 
Participants will design the rest of their day from a selection of interactive activities hosted by local and international urban innovators. Participants will have the opportunity to explore Victoria and connect with key stakeholders on the ground. There will also be workshops led by international experts sharing their knowledge and solutions from around the world.