framework for a National Sustainable Development Strategy (NSDS) was agreed
on in April 2014, however due to the adoption of the 2030ASD the NSDS has
been adjusted in September 2016.
Being a federal state, adopting and adjusting the NSDS required the
coordination between the Federal State, the Communities (Flemish, French and
German-speaking) and the Regions (Wallonia, Flanders and Brussels-Capital).
Art. 7bis of the Belgian Constitution establishes that every federal
entity is pursuing the objectives of a sustainable development, in its
social, economic and environmental dimensions, taking into account solidarity
between generations. The federal entities are on an equal footing but have
different competences. The implementation of the SDGs is therefore a shared
responsibility between these authorities taking into account their respective
To achieve the NSDS and promote
coherence in the implementation of sustainable development policy in Belgium,
an Inter-Ministerial Conference for Sustainable Development (IMCSD) was
established in 2012, gathering together the respective ministers in charge of
sustainable development and other relevant ministers like the minister of development
coordination and regional prime ministers. The updated NSDS was approved in
2017, following a civil consultation process with the relevant stakeholders.
It provides the umbrella framework for the main government stakeholders at
both federal and federated levels to combine their efforts to achieve the
SDGs. The NSDS sets out how the various authorities in Belgium should
cooperate and link their strategies to ensure that they are coherent with the
SDGs (UN-DESA, 2017).
As a federal state, Belgium also has a Federal
Strategy for Sustainable development and Regional Strategies for Sustainable
Development, which all have the same status.
The federal sustainable
development strategy is defined by the Act of May 1997, and revised in 2010. It
outlines a ‘report-plan-do-check-act-cycle’ and the mutually supporting roles
of three institutions to prepare, adopt, implement and improve SD Policies:
• The Interdepartmental Commission
for Sustainable Development (ICSD), which is in charge of the planning and monitoring part of the
process; supported since 2002 by the Federal Public Planning Service for SD, transformed in 2013 into the Federal Institute for Sustainable Development
• The Task Force
on Sustainable Development (TFSD) of the Federal Planning Bureau (FPB) in charge of the reporting part on current
situation and policy evaluations and on forecasting
• And the Federal
Council for Sustainable Development (FCSD), as the stakeholders advisory council, to organize the participation of
major groups to SD policy-making.
The 2010 revision of the Act of May 1997
defines a federal Long Term
Vision (LTV) on sustainable
development. This LTV was adopted by Royal Decree in 2013. It contains 55
long term (2050) objectives and proposes a set of indicators to report on the
progress towards reaching these objectives. The LTV is the reference
framework for the federal Strategy on SD and the activities of the
institutions defined in this Act.
The Act of May 97 also calls for the
preparation of Federal Plans for Sustainable Development and federal Reports
on Sustainable development.
As a consequence of the institutional setup of
Belgium, the objectives of the Federal Plan for Sustainable Development
(FPSD) only concern the federal and not the regional level. The first Federal
Plan for Sustainable Development (FPSD) was valid for the period 2000-04,
prepared by the TFSD of the FPB and further elaborated by the ICSD. The
second FPSD was scheduled to run from 2004-08 and prepared by the ICSD. This
second FPSD has been extended due to the revision of the Parliamentary Act of
May 1997 and remains the last FPSD to be adopted to date.the current
federal SD Plan. A draft of third plan had been prepared in 2008 but
first delayed: revising the Act in 2010 to simplify certain instruments led
to long discussions, and eventually cancellation because in 2011 the ICSD
needed time to prepare the LTV. As such it was not possible to update the
draft of the third plan. January 2016 a forth draft has been prepared by the
ICSD and presented presented to the federal government but not adopted. Currently
the fifth FPSD is being prepared on administrative level and will be
presented to the government, once a full-functioning federal government is in
Federal Reports on Sustainable Development
have been published from 1999 to 2019 by the Federal Planning Bureau and serve as a basis for the Federal Plans.
The reports are communicated to the federal minister in charge of SD, as well
as to the ICSD, the Council of Ministers, the legislative chambers, the
Federal Council for Sustainable Development (FCSD), the governments of the
regional authorities as well as to all official international organizations
which were established as a result of or were associated with the multilateral
SD Conferences. The last report “Which priority for sustainable
development ?” was published in June 2019. Belgium is committed to
achieving all global sustainable development goals (SDGs) by 2030. It
therefore assesses 51 indicators (17 more than in the previous report)
showing the evolution of Belgium towards the SDGs. Without new measures, many
of these objectives will not be achieved. The federal authorities have
implemented concrete actions related to sustainable development issues,
although there was no political impetus to achieve the SDGs. The reports are
publicly available and can be consulted on www.plan.be.
In September 2008, the Flemish government adopted a decree for SD. This
decree guarantees the continuation of a horizontal policy for SD and the
development of a strategy for SD every legislature.
The first Flemish strategy for SD was
developed in 2006, to a large extent based upon the thematic priorities of
the European SD strategy (EU SDS).The second Flemish strategy for SD was
adopted on 29 April 2011. Based upon the experiences and the intense revision
of the first strategy for SD, the second strategy for SD has resulted in a
strategic note with a long term vision and objectives that incorporate the
existing action plans of the Flemish Government (Flanders in Action, Pact 2020)
for the short and medium term. The idea being that an effective strategy for
SD should link, strengthen, inspire and align existing plans.
In March 2016, the Flemish Government
presented its new strategic outlook for the future: “Vision 2050: a long-term
strategy for Flanders”. This forward-looking policy document sets
out a vision for an inclusive, open, resilient and internationally connected
region that creates prosperity and well-being for its citizens in a smart,
innovative and sustainable manner. The third Flemish Strategy for SD is
integrated in this long term strategy. For this, the evaluation of the
previous Flemish Strategy for SD was taken into account.
Vision 2050 is supported by several key areas
of action (‘transition priorities’) initiated by the Flemish Government:
Lifelong learning and a dynamic professional career
Healthcare and welfare
Transport and mobility
The implementation of these transition
priorities will be cross-sectoral and in collaboration with innovators,
entrepreneurs and stakeholders. Therefore a new governance model was
developed, inspired by transition management principles.
Download the complete document ‘Vision 2050: a
long-term strategy for Flanders’ here.
In 2019, a preliminary set of 48 Flemish goals –
based on the SDGs - was agreed by the Flemish government. This set of 2030
goals for Flanders, called ‘Focus 2030’, will be measured by a set of region-specific
The Walloon Government
adopted in 2013 a decree on the Walloon sustainable development strategy that
foresees the elaboration of such a strategy every legislature and determines
its key elements (state of the art, vision, transition paths, action
This decree was amended on 30 April 2019 to
include the sustainable food strategy as one of the thematic transitions
necessary to achieve sustainable development and to foresee in the future the
definition of other thematic transitions to be included in the Walloon
strategy for sustainable development. The decree is now entitled "Decree
of 27 June 2013 on the Walloon strategy for sustainable development and
transition themes emanating from it".
According to the decree and following a first
strategy adopted in October 2013, the second Walloon sustainable development
strategy was adopted on the 7th of July 2016.
This second strategy aims at putting in
concrete form some paths of transition and contributes to the implementation
of the 2030 SD Agenda and the SDGs. It also aims at improving the social
responsibility and the exemplary nature of the public services in Wallonia.
The strategy includes 4 chapters:
The first chapter provides a long term vision by 2050 around the following
four axes: living in Wallonia, living in the world, living beyond 2050 and
governance. It gives direction to all the Walloon actors to continue the
transition to a sustainable development in Wallonia.
The second chapter consists in a diagnosis which describes the current
situation in Wallonia using 40 indicators.
The third chapter deals with short and mid-term objectives. Given the
international agenda, the SDGs are used in this framework.
The fourth chapter includes a focused action plan which complements other
existing and future plans such as the 4.0 Marshall plan (revival plan
developed for the Walloon economy) or the plan to fight poverty. It comprises
100 actions related to the shift in consumption and production patterns in
food, energy and resources and to cross-cutting tools such as participative
dynamics, information and awareness raising, education and research, social
responsibility of private and public organizations, sustainable public
procurement and involvement of Wallonia at the international level.
The Brussels Region has undergone profound changes and is now facing new
challenges such as rapid demographic growth, employment, training and
education, poverty, environment, mobility and internationalization.
On 5 December 2013, the Government adopted a
draft of the Regional Sustainable Development Plan. This plan is a strategic
tool to address the challenges mentioned above in a comprehensive and
coherent manner. It sets priorities to make the Brussels-Capital Region more
attractive, more inclusive socially, economically, more competitive, more
creative in research, greener and efficient in the use of energy and
Between 13 January and 13 March
2017, the Brussels Government held a public inquiry into the new draft of the
Regional Sustainable Development Plan (RSDP). It sets priorities to
make the Brussels-Capital Region more attractive, more inclusive socially and
economically, more competitive, more creative in research, and greener and
more efficient in its use of energy and resources
The Brussels-Capital Region
defined its vision for 2040 by adopting the Regional Plan for Sustainable
Development (RPSD) in July 2018. The regional plan for sustainable
development aims to provide an appropriate response to the above challenges
and concerns facing Brussels as a divers and dynamic urban area. The RSDP
defines the general framework to be considered when drawing up and
implementing relevant thematic plans/strategies. Among these thematic
Food Brussels”, Brussels Regional Programme for a Circular Economy, Nature Plan, Good Move
Plan, Innovation Plan, etc.
German speaking community
The Regional Development Concept (REK: Regionales Entwicklungskonzept) was
conceived as a long term strategy for the German-Speaking government, without
any kind of legal basis. The process was initiated in May 2008 with a
comprehensive stock-taking and regional analysis, whereby the strengths and
weaknesses, chances and challenges of the DG were closely examined. On the
basis of this study, strategic approaches and concrete recommendations were
then identified in a wide-ranging round of talks with the key stakeholders.
The results of this participatory dialogue were crystallized into a mission
statement which characterized the DG as a Frontier Region, an Economic
Region, a Learning Region, a Caring Region and a Living Region. The mission
statement was published as REK volumes 1 and 2. In September 2019 the
third REK was published and contains the sustainable development goals for
the region for the period 2019-2024.