National Agri-Environmental Standards Initiative (NAESI)
The National Agri-Environmental Standards Initiative (NAESI) is a four-year program (2004-2008) being led by Environment Canada in partnership with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, under the Environment Chapter of AAFC's Agricultural Policy Framework (APF). The goals of NAESI are to:
- Establish non-regulatory national environmental performance standards (with regional application) that define common EC and AAFC goals for the environment;
- Evaluate standards attainable by use of existing environmentally-beneficial agricultural production and management practices, and;
- Increase understanding of relationships between agriculture and the environment.
NAESI will develop science-based agri-environmental performance standards that identify both desired levels of environmental condition and levels considered achievable based on available technology and practice. These standards will be used by AAFC in efforts to develop and promote the adoption of beneficial agricultural management systems and practices that help reduce environmental risks. The standards could also be used as benchmarks to measure progress toward identified goals.
The development of agri-environmental performance standard involves science-based assessments of environmental risk and the determination of desired environmental quality. Work has started in four thematic areas: Air, Biodiversity, Pesticides, and Water. The standards are being designed specifically for agriculture; that is, with the understanding that they will be used in the context of a working landscape where zero risk is not the ultimate goal. The standards will be:
- Non-regulatory instruments
- Quantitative or qualitative measures (descriptive benchmarks) of desired environmental quality that are scientifically-defensible and focused on key agri-environmental issues.
- Useful tools to inform landowners, decision makers and policy makers when setting targets for desired degrees of environmental performance for air and water quality, biodiversity, and pesticide use in agricultural areas.
- Defined in terms of: maximum concentrations of harmful substances; specified condition of the environment; or habitat standards (biodiversity).
The draft standards are undergoing a scientific peer review and will be revised as necessary. Environment Canada will produce an overarching synthesis report that will summarize results, provide background on the evolution of the program, and identify gaps and limitations in the work. In the new fiscal year, Environment Canada will also be undertaking a stakeholder technical review and, together with AAFC, will be hosting a stakeholder meeting to discuss the results of the NAESI program.
For more information, please contact:
Elizabeth Roberts (Elizabeth.Roberts@ec.gc.ca), A/Chief,
APF Standards Secretariat
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Sarah Kalff (email@example.com), Manager,
Agri-Environmental Policy Bureau
For more information on region-specific aspects of the program, please contact Environment Canada's Regional Coordinators:
Clair Murphy (Clair.Murphy@ec.gc.ca)
Serge Villeneuve (Serge.Villeneuve@ec.gc.ca)
Robert Wenting (Robert.Wenting@ec.gc.ca)
Prairie Northern Region
Michele Williamson (Michele.Williamson@ec.gc.ca)
Pacific and Yukon Region
Laura Maclean (Laura.Maclean@ec.gc.ca)