Swift and well-organised start to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals

The Dutch government has firmly committed itself to the worldwide achievement of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. In a letter to the House of Representatives, the Netherlands Court of Audit yet still asks attention for coordination and monitoring of coherence in the implementation of the SDGs. We also call attention to the way in which ministers and state secretaries publicly account for the SDGs.

The SDGs are aimed at reducing poverty and inequality, maintaining a sustainable living environment and achieving sustainable economic growth and safe, secure societies. They are directed not only at the poorest and most vulnerable countries but also at challenges that can still be overcome in the Netherlands.

We reviewed the steps the government has taken so far to achieve the SDGs in the Netherlands in the years ahead and to monitor the results effectively. We are positive on both aspects at this stage. Responsibilities have been allocated clearly to the various ministers and in November 2016 Statistics Netherlands (CBS) became the first statistics office in the world to publish a monitoring report on the SDGs.

Other public authorities, the business community, civil society organisations, knowledge institutions and youth organisations have also embraced the SDGs. This has led to many initiatives and partnerships. Around Accountability Day these parties jointly presented the first Dutch SDG report to the House of Representatives.

Background of the Court’s review on the progress of the Dutch government in implementing the SDGs, is the international commitment expressed by the International Organisation of Supreme Audit Institutions in 2016 to contribute to the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals by auditing progress of UN Members States in realizing these goals.