Together for the Goals: The Eighth National SDG Report of The Netherlands

Together for the Goals: The Eighth National SDG Report of The Netherlands

What is the Dutch National SDG Report?

Since the establishment of the Sustainable Development Goals in 2015, The Netherlands publishes a yearly report on the national progress and implementation of the 2030 Agenda. This year, the eighth edition of the report has been published. Below, the newsflash will provide an insight into the unique development process of the report.

On the 15th of May, The Dutch government sent its annual SDG report to parliament, together with the annual statistical Monitor Wellbeing & SDGs. The data in the Monitor show that the Netherlands has a high degree of wellbeing in the present, but that this comes at the cost of future wellbeing. The SDG report, “Netherlands on the way to wellbeing”, focuses on the successes and challenges that the government and other sectors experience in working towards the SDGs and wellbeing.

While the statistical Monitor is independently published by Statistics Netherlands, the annual SDG report is written by the government, youth, the business sector, decentralized governments, and the knowledge sector together. It therefore provides a broad overview of how the Netherlands is progressing towards sustainability.

What are the main take-aways from the Report?

The main take-aways this year are that the SDGs provide an important anchor in uncertain times. The report looks at the SDGs though the lens of 6 integrated transition challenges, as recommended by the UN’s Global Sustainable Development Report. All sectors indicate that this is a very helpful way to strengthen cooperation and integration of interlinked goals.

The urgency to speed up is also felt in the Netherlands. There is a lot of commitment and energy in all sectors and with citizens at a local level who want to contribute. The government can build on that energy and commitment to accelerate the work around the SDGs. This, however, requires several levers to be used, according to all sectors:

  • Develop an attractive joint vision for the future
  • Ensure clear, long-term policy frameworks and strengthen policy coherence
  • Include the interests of future generations in decision-making
  • Reduce negative spillovers on other countries
  • Ensure the right incentives and enabling environment for businesses to build a truly sustainable and inclusive economy
  • Strengthen and support partnerships across themes and across organisational boundaries
  • Broaden and deepen participation and conversation of citizens around these themes, including by strengthening the attention for sustainability in education.

The report highlights the importance of local SDG action, as it enables people to become involved and see concrete results. Local action also connects people around the world and connects the SDGs globally with people’s immediate concerns.

How is the Report A Whole-of-Society Approach?

It is crucial that efforts towards the realization of the SDGs are carried throughout different layers of society. For that reason, each chapter in the SDG Report is written by a different sector-representative that specifies the best practices, challenges or even bottlenecks for the SDGs in their field. In total, ten ministries have collaborated on the report, together with:

  • Local and regional authorities
  • The private sector and financial institutions
  • Civil society organisations
  • Youth organisations
  • Knowledge institutes (including the education sector)

In 2023, the representatives of these sectors and all ministries were asked to hold consultations with their network and develop a draft for their respective chapters. Several rounds of feedback were held, where the sector representatives came together to give feedback on the chapters of others. They also wrote a joint introduction highlighting the most important issues and recommendations they share. From the side of the central government, a working party of all ministries wrote a chapter on the policies towards a futureproof economy. The National SDG Coordinator, Sandra Pellegrom, coordinated the overall consolidation of the different chapters into one report.

It is unique that the government presents a report to parliament that is truly a collaborative effort by all different stakeholders in society and while this is important to highlight, the implementation of the SDGs has to drastically accelerate in order to reach the goal we have set for 2030.

The English version of the report will be available towards the end of June.