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  Belgium

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Basic information

Year of approval of the
SD strategy and updates

A 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 competences.

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.

Federal State:
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 place.

Nine 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.

Flanders
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:

-       Circular economy

-       Smart living

-       Industry 4.0

-       Lifelong learning and a dynamic professional career

-       Healthcare and welfare

-       Transport and mobility

-       Energy

 

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 indicators.

 

Wallonia
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 plan). 

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.

 

Brussels-Capital Region
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 resources.

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 plans/strategies: “Good 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.

 

 

 

 

Type of SD strategy

 

The national SD strategy has long term goals inspired by the 2030ASD which are pursued by all federal authorities. It provides coherence for strategies elaborated by every Belgian authorities.

The federal SD strategy is a ‘report-plan-do-check-act-cycle’ governed by law. It outlines a program of measures (Federal Plan SD) the Federal Government has to implement in view of its international and European engagements relating to sustainable development, as well as to the objectives contained in the long-term vision for SD. It focusses on interdepartmental cooperations between federal ministries.

The Flanders SD strategy is a long-term strategy which focuses on several key areas of action initiated by the Flemish Government: the seven transition priorities. It endorses the 17 SDG’s.

The Wallonia SD strategy is a long-term and broad strategy which includes a more targeted action plan, focused on changing consumption and production patterns in 3 fields (food, energy and resources) and on cross-cutting tools. It complements other existing and future Walloon global or sector-specific plans.

The Brussels-Capital Region strategy
The regional sustainable development plan integrates the three dimensions of the sustainable development.

 

Lead ministry/institution in
the SD strategy process

 

National
The Interministerial Conference for Sustainable Development (IMCSD) – gathering the respective ministers in charge of SD and other relevant ministers like the minister of development coordination and regional prime ministers was established in 2012. This SD interministerial conference has been mandated to follow-up the implementation of the Agenda in Belgium including by coordinating the preparation of reports on progress made and challenges faced. The presidency used to rotate between the members on a half-year base but to ensure coherence since 2016 the rotation will happen on an annual base. At this moment Flanders has taken up the presidency. After 2017, however, IMCSD work at the political level has come to a standstill.

Federal
The fruitful interactions of the above mentioned ICSD, TFSD and FCSD in the short and long run are placed under the authority of the Minister or Secretary of State on Sustainable Development, supported by the Federal Institute for Sustainable Development (FISD – formerly known as Federal Public Planning Service for SD).

Federal Institute for Sustainable Development
Cédric Van de Walle (coordinator strategy & planning)
email: cedric.vandewalle@ifdd.fed.be
phone: +32 (2) 501 04 69

Federal Planning Bureau, Task force Sustainable development
Alain Henry (coordinator)
email: ah@plan.be
phone: +32 (2) 507 74 76
www.plan.be

 

Flanders
Flemish Government, Department of Public Governance and the Chancellery,

Sustainable Development Unit
Ilse Dries (Director)
Elisabeth Bonne

Filip François

Nancy Matthys

Boudewijnlaan 30, bus 20, room 7A17
1000 Brussel
Tel. 02-553 54 44 - Fax 02-553 59 59

Elisabeth.bonne@vlaanderen.be

filip.francois@vlaanderen.be

www.do.vlaanderen.be

Wallonia

The directorate on Sustainable Development was set up in July 2012 by the Walloon Government. It is under the General Secretariat of the Walloon administration.

Directorate of Sustainable Development
Public Service of Wallonia - Secretariat General
Place Joséphine Charlotte, 2
5100 Jambes (Namur) 
Belgium

Natacha ZUINEN (Head of Department)
email: natacha.zuinen@spw.wallonie.be  
phone: +32 (0) 81.321.543

http://developpementdurable.wallonie.be/

The Brussels-Capital region
Anne SAUDMONT Bruxelles Environnement - IBGE
Div. Information, Coordination générale, Economie circulaire 
Département international et juridique
Site de Tour & Taxis
Avenue du Port 86C/3000 B-1000 Bruxelles
email: asaudmont@environnement.irisnet.be
www.bruxellesenvironnement.be
www.agenda-iris-21.be
phone : +32 (2) 563.43.93

The German speaking community
Daniel Hilligsmann (Berater)
Regierung der Deutschsprachigen Gemeinschaft 
Kabinett des Ministerpräsidenten, Oliver Paasch 
Postanschrift: Klötzerbahn 32, B-4700 Eupen
Amtssitz des Ministerpräsidenten: Gospertstraße 42, B-4700 Eupen  
Tel. +32 (0)87 789 631, Fax +32 (0) 87 786 722 
E-Mail: daniel.hilligsmann@dgov.be 

Internet: www.oliver-paasch.be / www.dglive.be

Publications

 

Link to the SD strategy
document

Federal
Federal Long Term Vision for Sustainable Development

Federal Plan for Sustainable Development 2004-2008

 

 

Flanders
Vision 2050: A long-term strategy for Flanders

Wallonia

http://developpementdurable.wallonie.be/concept-objectifs-strategie

SDG indicators in the National Country Report of Belgium (2019)

The full list(s) of NSDS objectives as identified by a study commissioned by Eurostat can be downloaded here:

Further information about
the SD strategy process

Link to FPS SD policies

Sustainable Development in Wallonia

 

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National Implementation of 2030 Agenda for SD

 

Federal level

SDGs implementation will occur through existing mechanisms of the federal strategy for sustainable development and a dedicated implementation plan to broaden the commitments. The existing Interdepartmental Commission on SD (ICSD) will be the platform to implement the SDGs in the existing instruments:

-  The long-term vision on SD exists since 2013 and encompasses 55 goals towards   2050, the ICSD will match this with the new SDGs so as to create synergies.

-  The Federal Plan for SD coordinates action between the different Federal Ministries (officially known as Federal Public Services) for the following five years, it will take into account the SDGs.

- A mapping exercise of the federal policy has been conducted in 2016, followed by a gap analysis in 2017 with a view to anchoring each SDG target within a Federal Ministry or at the level of subnational governments.

Annual reports from the ICSD will contribute to the follow up and review of the SDGs : last Report published in April 2019 presents how the federal public services are contributing to the SDGs.[vdWC1] 

-  The Federal reports on SD, from the Federal Planning Bureau will also contribute to the follow up and review of Agenda 2030, through their database of SD indicators and work on policy evaluation tools.

-  Furthermore the Federal Ministries (officially known as Federal Public Services) will be stimulated and supported to implement the SDGs in their operations and policy by an array of tools (SD objectives in their own action plan, public procurement procedures etc.).

-  Finally, the advisory body (Federal Council for sustainable development) composed of representatives from civil society organizations will also review the progress towards SDGs.

 

The SDGs also touch on subnational competences, as such the already existing Interministerial Conference on Sustainable Development (IMCSD) is reinvigorated to enhance cooperation within the Belgian framework. One of the themes of this IMCSD will be the implementation of the SDGs in the National Strategy on SD. Whereas the interaction with the European and multilateral level is concerned, existing coordination platforms for political and strategic orientation (e.g. Coormulti and DGE) will continue serve as mechanisms to determine the common Belgian position by taking on board the positions of the federal and federated entities.

 

In terms of external action, the Belgian development cooperation focuses especially on the needs of LDCs and fragile states/environments. At least 50% of ODA should be channeled towards LDC’s and fragile states and, accordingly, 12 out of 14 partner countries of the Belgian development cooperation are LDCs. 13 out of the 14 partner countries are African countries and 10 of the 14 countries are considered by the OECD as (extremely) fragile states.

Furthermore, Belgium works through SDG references in multi-annual cooperation arrangements with multilateral partner organizations, and through multilateral efforts to make the whole UN development system more « fit for purpose ». Thematic priorities across the board in the Belgian international development efforts in support of Agenda 2030 will be a right-based approach and inclusive, sustainable growth.

Flanders:

Flanders endorses all 17 SDG’s of the United Nations in its Vision 2050, the long term strategy of the Flemish Government. The 7 transition priorities (implementation of the long term strategy) will contribute to accomplishing the SDG’s on the subnational level. This will mainly be monitored by existing structures. However, a new governance model, based upon the principles of the transition management approach, was conducted. Hereby responsible ministers were designated for each transition priority. Besides the responsible ministers, transition managers within the Flemish public administration were appointed.

Flanders introduced an SDG lens into its new, multiannual Country Strategy Papers and held a stakeholders consultation moment on the 18th of April 2016 within a broader exercise to adapt its development cooperation policy to the new paradigm of the 2030 ASD.

 

 

Wallonia:

The 2nd Walloon Sustainable Development Strategy, adopted on 7 July 2016, aims to implement SDGs at the regional level along with other global or sectoral policies and plans. This Strategy fully integrates the SDGs adopted at UN level 10 months before the adoption of the strategy. The long-term vision of the strategy "reflects a region in which all 17 Sustainable Development Goals adopted at the UN Summit will be achieved". SDGs are also presented as the short and medium term objectives for Wallonia in terms of sustainable development, and the axes of the action plan are related to SDGs. Specific actions of the Strategy are dedicated to monitor SDGs  and to raise awareness about the 2030 Agenda.

Concerning monitoring, the Walloon Government has adopted its first SDGs’ implementation report in April 2017. It includes an inventory of the Walloon strategies, programs and plans that contribute to achieving the SDGs, an analysis of 70 indicators selected to monitor SDGs in Wallonia and a set of good practices implemented by Walloon public institutions, civil society and the private sector.  An update of the list of indicators is being carried out for a publication planned for the autumn of 2019. In addition to the temporal update of the data, some indicators are added to offer a better views of the progress of Wallonia towards SDGs.

Concerning awareness raising, as SDGs were not yet sufficiently known in Wallonia, the Sustainable Development Directorate has defined a communication strategy focused on SDGs and three priority target groups: local authorities, businesses, young people (aged between 15 and 20). It includes the production of tools (including visual aids and/or methodological guides and video capsules adapted to each audience), events and the facilitation of networking of actors, as well as devices for making SDG actions and good practices more visible. For more details, see the web page.

 Finally the Walloon government has decided to include in each draft decision  a chapter explaining to which SDGs the decision will contribute.

 

Brussels-Capital Region:

The Brussels-Capital Region has undergone profound changes and is now facing new challenges, such as rapid demographic growth, access to housing, access to employment, training and education, functional and social diversity, poverty, environment, mobility and internationalisation. 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.

 

Leading Ministry and
respective unit

 

An Interministerial Conference for Sustainable Development (IMCSD) – gathering the respective ministers in charge of SD and Development Cooperation of the different authorities – was established in 2012.    This IMCSD has been mandated to follow-up the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in Belgium including by to coordinating the preparation of reports on progress made and challenges faced. See also the relevant SD institutions already described.

 

Other ministries involved [No information available]
Main contact point for the
implementation process

 

See segment dealing with “Lead ministry/institution in 
the SD strategy process”.

Links to main websites/
documents on national
implementation of the
2030 Agenda and SDGs

www.sdgs.be·  National Policy

 http://www.wallonie.be/fr/developpement-durable-en-wallonie

https://www.fdfa.be/en/sustainable-development

Voluntary National Reviews

Belgium submitted a VNR in 2017

 

 

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Mechanisms of Vertical Integration

National — sub-national linkages

 

In the context of the national strategy for sustainable development adopted in 2017, technical working groups with representatives of each level of governance are set-up to prepare the decision of the Interministerial Conference for Sustainable Development. There is one administrative steering group, a working party on NSDS, a working party on sustainable public procurements and a working party on international policy.

On the level of local governments, Local Agenda 21 initiatives have been developed by numerous municipalities. The municipalities also receive support of their respective regional government to boost sustainable development.

 

In Wallonia, the Walloon Region has organised training sessions for local authorities in order to integrate SDGs in their “strategical transversal plans”. Dedicated tools are available for helping them implementing SDGs in their policies and projects (see chapter SDGs). 

In Flanders, VVSG, the Flemish Association of Cities and Munipalities [vdWC1] launched a large series of initiatives. Recently, three actions are put at the forefront :

·      Awareness raising video ‘We the mayors for the SDGs’. Flemish mayors explain in clear language (and in their own dialect) what the SDGs are about. Available in English and French.

•          Update of the publication ‘Local support for global challenges’. For each SDG, we give some examples of local actions and we add good local practices. Available in English.

•          Publication The SDGs in municipal international cooperation. SDG 17 with a focus on international partnerships and solidarity is a crucial element of the Agenda 2030. This publication gives examples and ideas on how to integrate the SDGs into international cooperation between local governments. The publication is available in English and Spanish and soon also in French.

EU linkages

In the context of the 2009 review of the EU-SDS Belgium has actively participated in the Friends of the Presidency meetings.

The 2010 Federal Act on SD extends the duration of the new FPSD from four to five years to better match with the respective EU and regional legislation cycles.

The first Flemish strategy for SD was based on the European Strategy for SD (EU SDS).

Where the interaction with the European and multilateral level is concerned, existing coordination platforms for political and strategic orientation (e.g. Coordination Multilateral - Coormulti and DG Europe - DGE) will continue to serve as mechanisms to determine the common Belgian position by taking on board the positions of the federal and federated entities

 

EU linkages

EU linkages

The renewed EU Strategy for Sustainable Development (EU SDS), adopted in June 2006, foresees that Member States bi-annually report about how they address the priorities of the EU SDS. Belgium has published its first national report on implementing the EU SDS in June 2007. In the context of the 2009 review of the EU-SDS Belgium has actively participated in the Friends of the Presidency meetings.

The 2010 Federal Act on SD extends the duration of the new FPSD from four to five years to better match with the respective EU and regional legislation cycles.

The first Flemish strategy for SD was based on the European Strategy for SD (EU SDS).

 

 

-- Back to overview --

Mechanisms of Horizontal Integration

 

At the national level, an administrative steering group under authority of the Interministerial Conference for Sustainable Development is in charge for the supervision of technical working groups’ activities.

At the federal level, horizontal coordination is undertaken through the Interdepartmental Commission on Sustainable Development (ICSD) and through the sustainable development units (SDU) created in the respective federal administrations. Additional institutions involved are the Task Force on Sustainable Development (TFSD) of the Federal Planning Bureau (FPB), the Federal Institute for Sustainable Development (IFSD) and the Federal Council for Sustainable Development (FCSD).

The ICSD as mechanism of horizontal policy coordination is responsible for:

•      preparation of the preliminary draft and the draft of the Federal Plan (FPSD); 

•      coordination of the development and update of the Long-term Vision for SD;

•    coordination of the report by its members which provides information about the implementation of the measures through which each administration has contributed to the objectives of the FPSD; 

•    coordination of policy regarding sustainable development (e.g. through working groups on public procurements, CSR, international policy, …). 

Reference can be made to various outcomes of the mechanisms for horizontal policy coordination, inter alia the Federal Plans for Sustainable Development; Action plans in line with the FP from the SD units of the various federal administrations; opinions by the FCSD; reports by the members of the ICSD; and evaluation reports of the FPB.

Next to those institutions, the Sustainable Impact Assessment (SIA) tool has been integrated in a Regulatory Impact Assessmentsince the January 2014. The long term vision for sustainable development gave the structure to new ex ante impact assessment tool and the past experience of the SIA has been taken into account to improve the quality of the process. More information here

At the Flemish level, horizontal integration is undertaken through the Working Group on Sustainable Development (WGSD) consisting of representatives of the different Flemish departments. There are two groups: one on policy and one on implementation. The Flemish sustainable development policy is the main topic of the first working group. The implementation working group exchanges good examples and inspires the implementation of sustainable behaviour and practices inside the Flemish administrative organisations. Besides this, a centre of expertise on sustainable development is being formed, in which more Flemish entities are involved.

As far as the Brussels-Capital Region is concerned, the Brussels Office of planning (“Bureau Bruxellois de la planification”) is in charge of the design and monitoring of studies and strategic development plans, included the Regional Sustainable Development Plan. The draft foresees as well the establishment of a support committee to support and stimulate the process.

At the Walloon level, horizontal integration is undertaken mainly through the implementation of the SD strategy. Indeed the strategy is the project of the whole Government and its implementation is under the responsibility of different Ministers and administrations each of them being in charge of the implementation of specific measures within the action plan. 

 

 

-- Back to overview --

Evaluation and Review

At the national level, the sustainable development strategy stipulates that every legislature two events will be organised on the implementation of the 2030ASD The first of these events took place in November 2017. All federal authorities have their own dedicated process for evaluation and review.

  The Interministerial Council on Sustainable Development has been mandated to follow-up the implementation of the Agenda in Belgium by coordinating the preparation of reports on progress made and challenges faced twice per legislature.

The Federal reports on SD, from the Federal Planning Bureau will also contribute to the follow up, review of Agenda 2030, through their database of SD indicators, and work on policy evaluation tools.

Finally, the advisory body (Federal Council for sustainable development) composed of representatives from civil society organizations will also review the progress towards SDGs.

At the national level, apart from the Voluntary National Review that was presented at the HLPF 2017, the Inter-Ministerial Conference for Sustainable Development (IMCSD) organized an event in the framework of the National Sustainable Development Strategy that discussed progress of the 2030 Agenda in Belgium.

At the federal level the 2010 revision of the Act of May 1997 on Sustainable Development puts forward two distinct provisions for internal review:

The report by the members of the Interdepartmental Commission on Sustainable Development (ICSD), which contains Information on the implementation of the measures through which the administrative unit they represent aims to contribute to the objectives of the Federal Plan (FPSD). This report is to be completed at least 18 months prior to the agreed completion date of the FPSD. 

• The Federal Report on Sustainable Development, drafted by the Task Force on Sustainable Development (TFSD) of the Federal Planning Bureau (FPB). This is divided into two parts: a status and evaluation report and a foresight report looking at future developments. The status and evaluation report needs to be published at least 15 months prior to the completion date of the FP. 

The timing of submission of both reports (18 and 15 months prior to the completion date of the FP) is specifically decided to support and allow the integration of lessons learned into the design of the subsequent FPSD.

At the Flemish level evaluation is obliged through the Flemish decree for SD: the new Strategy for SD must incorporate an evaluation of the previous strategy.  The insights of the evaluation were taken as starting point for the third Strategy for SD, Vision 2050. There were several important findings and recommendations:

-       a long term strategy is important to tackle the challenges for SD

-       the principles of transition management are a good framework

-       a uniform approach for all transition processes is not appropriate, however focusing on a number of principles for SD is essential

-       focus on a few priorities, not an extensive list of actions

-       a unifying and guiding position for de third Strategy for SD is needed

Brussels-Capital Region

The draft of the Regional Sustainable Development Plan proposes a framework to assess the impact of its implementation on social, economic and environmental situation of the region.

Thematic evaluations, framed by considerations such as the nature of the measures, the type of beneficiaries and the objectives) on the priorities of the Regional Sustainable Development Plan will conducted. These evaluations will consist in measuring, at specific times , the effects of concrete actions and in assessing these effects through assessment criteria such as the effectiveness, efficiency and coherence.

According to the draft currently available, a comprehensive report published every 5 years will prepare the next Regional Sustainable Development Plan or partial changes in the one in force.

Wallonia

The evaluation of the Walloon sustainable development strategy is foreseen by decree: each new strategy must include an evaluation of the previous strategy. In order to follow-up the 100 actions of the SD strategy action plan, a monitoring report of the strategy has been adopted by the Walloon Government in March 2020.

 

 

 

-- Back to overview --

Indicators and Monitoring

 

At the national level, the Interfederal Institute for Statistics has created a working group on indicators to monitor the implementation of the SDG’s. In a first step, the working group has  provided an inventory of existing indicators in Belgium (at the federal, regional and community levels) that correspond to the UN proposed indicators to monitor sustainable development goals. This working group will continue its task in 2018, with the goal of organising a database of SDG indicators for Belgium and its regions. As a preview, the working group has prepared the statistical annex of the Voluntary National Review, presented in July at the UN-General Assembly. This annex included 34 indicators (2 per SDG) and their disaggregation by sex, age, income level, education, etc. These indicators are available on https://www.indicators.be/en/t/SDG/.  

In accordance with the act of March 2014, a new annual statistical report on indicators "beyond GDP" is published yearly by the National Accounts Institute (NAI) and the FPB.  According to the law, these indicators must measure the quality of life, the human development, the social advancement and the sustainability of the economy in Belgium. The 67 selected indicators are grouped by the 17 SDGs and when possible to the LTV. This report also updates the composite indicator to measure well-being 'Here and now‘. In addition, this indicator is presented for various population categories: by sex, age and income. It should be completed in the forthcoming updates by composite indicators for the two other dimensions of sustainable development, ’Later‘ and ’Elsewhere‘. The 2019-report shows that the well-being of Belgians fell after the 2008 crisis. It improves in 2016 and 2017. But this recent improvement is not shared by everyone.

 

 

At the federal level, the 2010 Federal Act on SD stipulates that within the development of the long-term vision, indicators must be used to assess whether the objectives are achieved. Sustainable development indicators are published by the Task Force on Sustainable Development (TFSD) of the Federal Planning Bureau (FPB) as part of the Federal Reports on Sustainable Development. The latest set, updated in December 2017, was conducted on the basis of the 34 indicators of the statistical annex of the Voluntary National Review. These 34 indicators are part of a larger set of about eighty indicators, published on the web site with SD indicators (www.indicators.be).

Its review of the UN list of 232 SDG indicators found that about 100 of them are readily available for Belgium. These will be progressively incorporated into a comprehensive inter-federal SDG follow-up and review mechanism. Some indicators will be adapted to better reflect the Belgian context. The statistical annex of the VNR included a list of 34 indicators (2 per SDG) that will be extended in the future. More indicators are announced and some are published on indicators.be.

The Interdepartmental Commission on Sustainable Development (ICSD) and the public services monitor the implementation of the Federal Plan measures. The analysis of these data by the TFSD resulted in the construction of an indicator on the Plan implementation.

Flanders

At the Flemish level there is the Research Centre of the Flemish Government which publicises an overview of regional indicators (VRIND), every year. Some indicators can be related to SD. In 2016 this Centre prepared the sdg-indicators and they are an active member of the Interfederal Institute on Statistics.

Focus 2030 together with the corresponding Flemish set of indicators, formally approved by the Government of Flanders on the 5th of April 2019, is dynamic and evolutive and so it is being further developed and adjusted according to (new) long-term Flemish policy plans or new developments in the EU-approach on the SDGs. This dynamic approach is necessary as many of the objectives from the 2030 ASD are set out in long-term sectoral policies that are being drawn up. We have chosen to let these plans follow their own development path. Following the adoption of these long-term policy plans, their 2030 objectives will form an integral part of Focus 2030 and thus complete it. The 2030 objectives framework and the associated indicators are thus adjusted on the basis of these (new) long-term policy plans and after evaluation by the Government of Flanders.

The Flemish set of indicators, based on the EUROSTAT and Flemish public statistics frameworks is also being further developed to monitor the implementation of Focus 2030. For a number of Flemish 2030 objectives, no indicators are available yet in the Flemish Public Statistics or new indicators need to be developed. As the list of Flemish Public Statistics is revised annually, statistics can be added (or omitted) at a later date. For any proposal to change the set of indicators feedback is given via the working group between Ministers' offices before making any changes. For a number of relevant indicators that are not yet available at the Flemish level, contact has been made with the actors involved to see to what extent these indicators can be broken down and used regionally.

The monitoring of Focus 2030 through the reporting of the adjusted Flemish set of indicators, is planned once a year alongside the September Statement of the Flemish Government.

 

Brussels-Capital Region

The draft of the Regional Sustainable Development Plan proposes a framework to monitor the implementation of actions included in the plan.  Indicators will be defined by each public administration or agency in order to monitor the implementation of the actions foreseen in the Regional Sustainable Development Plan, and follow step by step its achievements. These indicators are limited to operational measures and differ from those used in the framework of the evaluation. This approach implies to establish a process for gathering information, reporting and analyzing the state of play of the actions included in the plan.   All public administration or agencies in charge of one or more measures will report the evolution of their implementation, both the achievements made and the results obtained.   These information and monitoring data are an essential source for the evaluation exercise.

Wallonia

At the Walloon level, a list of sustainable development indicators has been elaborated for the diagnosis of the SD strategy. They reflect the economic, environmental and social trends in Wallonia and help report on the transition of Wallonia to a sustainable development.

Furthermore, the SD strategy foresees the elaboration of a report on the implementation of the SDGs in Wallonia every 3 to 4 years and for the 1st time in 2017.

 

The Walloon Government has adopted its first SDGs’ implementation report in April 2017. It includes an inventory of the Walloon strategies, programs and plans that contribute to achieving the SDGs, an analysis of 70 indicators selected to monitor SDGs in Wallonia and a set of good practices implemented by Walloon public institutions, civil society and the private sector. The indicators presented in this report are updated and a new publication is scheduled in autumn 2019 to assess the progress of the Region in its transition to sustainable development. The latest report analyzing the regional progress towards SDGs was published in 2020. The indicators-set is composed of 80 indicators related to environmental, social, economic, and governance issues. The report presents the temporal evolutions of these indicators and makes recommendations drawn up by academic experts in order to improve the monitoring process of SDGs in Wallonia. More information can be found here.

 

 

 

 

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Participation

At the national level, the updated Framework for a National Strategy for Sustainable Development will be submitted to advisory councils of the federal authorities.

At the federal level the 2010 Federal Act on SD describes the following consultation provisions linked to the preparation of the new FP:

• The Interdepartmental Commission on Sustainable Development (ICSD) is responsible for preparing a preliminary draft of the SD plan, which is then subjected to a legally mandatory consultation of the population. During the 60 days consultation, the Federal Council for Sustainable Development (FCSD) has to formulate its opinion on the preliminary draft plan. 

• The scope and method for consulting the population is decided by the Minister on the basis of a proposal by the ICSD. 

• The ICSD subsequently has 60 days to examine the FCSD opinion and the feedback from the consultation and to prepare a draft of the new plan. 

• The draft plan is submitted then to the government. The government has to state the reasons for deviating from the FCSD’s unanimous opinions. 

 

The Federal Council for Sustainable Development (FSCD) plays a central role, as it

• expresses opinions on measures related to the federal and European sustainable development policy implemented by the federal government; provides a forum for exchange of views; proposes scientific research and stimulates the active participation of public and private sector organizations as well as the wider public; 

• performs these missions at the request of the federal ministers and the legislative chambers or on its own initiative. 

·      Participated in the creation of the Voluntary National Review and the NSDS

With regards to the outcome of the consultations undertaken to date, there has been a wide response from experts and civil society in the preparation of the Federal Plans in 2000, 2004, 2008. In addition, there is a large body of opinions issued by the FCSD on the federal policy for sustainable development, whether at the request of the federal ministers or on its own initiative (available on http://www.cfdd.be)

At the Flemish level, the Decree on Sustainable Development states that sustainable development is an inclusive, participatory and coordinated process. The current Government of Flanders decided to integrate the third VSDO in  Vision 2050. Vision 2050 was developed through a participatory process. In this process several departments and agencies were involved. In addition, two meetings with stakeholders were held (in total 140 participants). The objectives of the meetings were: (1) to inform the stakeholders about the content and the process, (2) to create a shared vision through feedback and input from the stakeholders, and finally (3) to appoint transition priorities for Flanders. Finally a formal request for advice to the Strategic Advisory Councils was made.

Stakeholder involvement has for a long time been a key point in Flanders. Flanders has experience with participation in the transition process of sustainable housing and living. Transition arena’s offer stakeholders the opportunity to participate. Participation has an essential role in the implementation of Vision 2050.

In Brussels-Capital Region

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.

In Wallonia, the decree on the Walloon SD strategy foresees the stakeholder participation in the elaboration, implementation and follow up of the SD strategy. In the framework of the elaboration of the 2nd SD strategy, a public consultation was undertaken in order to receive comments and suggestions of civil society on the draft long term vision and action plan. Furthermore, the 2nd strategy includes in its action plan several measures to ensure the participation of civil society.

 

For a detailed documentation of all advisory and participatory councils (for SD and/or the environment) in this country, please go to the EEAC website at       and click on one of the listed institutions.

 

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Sub-national activities

[No information available]

 

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This Country Profile has been last updated on: Thursday, 07 May 2020

For the sources used in the country profiles, please click here.

 

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