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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 a NSDS and in view of furthering coherence in the implementation of SD policies in Belgium, 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 SD interministerial conference has been mandated to follow-up the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in Belgium including coordinating the preparation of reports on progress made and challenges faced.

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 terms (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 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. In 2013 the ICSD began to prepare a new draft of third plan, the current government received the draft in January 2015. However, a public consultation which is a mandatory step of the process has yet to happen. Due to this delay there is the opportunity to update the draft to the 2030ASD.

Eight Federal Reports on Sustainable Development have been published from 1999 to 2017 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  “Make the global Sustainable Development Goals real” was published in December 2017 and takes as its starting point the Sustainable Developments Goals (SDGs). It assesses 34 indicators showing the evolution of Belgium towards the SDGs and examines the gap between existing scenarios and the SDGs in 3 areas: poverty, energy and transportation. Current developments usually go in the right direction, but most often lag far behind the quantified objectives. 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. Specific to the implementation of the SDG’s, the government of Flanders approved a set of goals tailored to the Flemish competences and circumstances, ‘Visor 2030- a 2030 framework of goals for Flanders’ on the 9th of March 2018. The stakeholders will be consulted the 23rd of April.

 

 

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). 

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.

A public consultation on the long-term vision and the action plan, first and fourth chapters of the strategy, was undertaken from end of February 2016 to the 1st of May. The outcome of the consultation has been taken into account in the final text.  In parallel to this consultation, the public was invited to post on the website commitments or projects aiming at contributing to the priorities of the action plan and therefore to the transition to a sustainable development in Wallonia.

 

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.

The current government is planning to launch a public consultation on the Regional Sustainable Development Plan in the following months. It will be adapted to take into account the outcome of the public consultation and to meet priorities of the current governmental agreement (2014-2019).

Through its “agenda‐Iris‐21” programme, Brussels Environment also provides financial and methodological support since 2007 to municipalities and public centres for social assistance (CPAS) implementing local Agenda 21 projects.

In practice, it includes several chokepoints: a preliminary diagnosis, consultation of stakeholders and the drafting of a concerted action plan (or program) involving all stakeholders.

The support program of municipalities and CPAS "Iris Agenda 21" is carried by Brussels Environment, the environmental administration in the Brussels-Capital. This support takes the form of an annual call for projects. Two types of projects are eligible:

1. The implementation of a Local Agenda 21 ( the 6th call was launched in 2016)

2. The realization of an exemplary sustainable project (Call for thematic projects launched every year since 2012)

The Partner for the Agenda Iris 21 is the Association of the City and the Municipalities of the Brussels-Capital Region (AVCB/VSGB) which provides training, support, advice and information to all participants. 

After 8 years of support, 29 local Agenda projects have been financed (17 municipalities and 12 Social centers). 21 Local Agendas 21 have been politically approved and are implemented. To support the implementation, a financial support via calls for thematic projects is offered by the Brussels Capital-Region.   


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 April 2011, with the addition of a third volume, the initial implementation phase of the REK with its 16 main projects and 48 sub-projects was described in detail (Living East Belgium – 2025).

 

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 federal authority.

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.

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 Development Cooperation of the different authorities – was established in 2012. This SD interministerial conference has been mandated to follow-up the implementation of the Agenda in Belgium including by to 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.

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(IFSD – 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

Simon Callewaert (attaché international policy)
email: simon.callewaert@fido.fed.be
phone: +32 (2) 501 04 75

https://www.developpementdurable.be/fr

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

Ine Baetens Ine.baetens@vlaanderen.be (international policy)

Filip François filip.francois@vlaanderen.be


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

Ine.baetens@kb.vlaanderen.be

Filip.francois@kb.vlaanderen.be

 

www.do.vlaanderen.be

Wallonia

The department on Sustainable development was set up in July 2012 by the Walloon Government. It is under the General Secretariat of the Walloon Administration.

Department 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

Michel AMAND (Director of the Sustainable development strategies Unit)
Email: michel.amand@spw.wallonie.be
Phone: +32 (0) 81.321.572

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

http://www.dglive.be/desktopdefault.aspx/tabid-3494/6320_read-37232/

 

Link to the SD strategy
document

 

Federal
Federal Plan for Sustainable Development 2004-2008

The full list(s) of NSDS objectives as identified by a study commissioned by Eurostat can be downloaded here: Federal Plan for SD 2004-2008 - Objectives

Flanders
Vision 2050: A long-term strategy for Flanders

http://www.vlaanderen.be/int/europese-unie/en/news/vision-2050-long-term-strategy-flanders

Wallonia

http://www.wallonie.be/fr/strategie-wallonne-de-developpement-durable

 

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 Federal Reports

·       Link to FCSD advices

·       Link to ICSD Reports

·       Link to FPS SD policies

·       Link to Walloon SD policies

 

 

 

 

-- Back to overview --

National Implementation of 2030 Agenda for SD

 

 

Federal level

 

 

On 18/07/17 Belgium proudly presented its Voluntary National Review (VNR) to the High-Level Political Forum. This extensive exercise grouping all federal entities, their respective administrations and civil society has created for the first time ever a national overview of relevant actions contributing to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. With this exercise Belgium wants to strength its commitment to the 2030ASD while confirming that business as usual will not suffice to realize the SDGs and that additional work definitely needs to be done! You can take a look at the VNR and the main messages here, or on our sdgs.be website.

 

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 50 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 is being conducted at this moment, 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

-  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 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.

 

The SDGs also touch on subnational competences, as such the already existing Interministerial Conference on Sustainable Development 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 will focus 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 the Belgian government recently decided on a list of partner countries for the Belgian development cooperation. In this list, 12 out of 14 partner countries are LDCs. 13 out of the 14 partner countries are African countries and 8 of the 14 countries are considered by the OECD as fragile states.

Furthermore, Belgium will work 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.

 

Finally, Policy Coherence for Development (PCD) has recently been identified as a political priority, giving rise to a legal framework and corresponding institutional architecture. These aim to identify and mitigate potential policy trade-offs impacting developing countries, as much as to foster a whole of government approach with regards to migration, peace and security (diplomacy, defence, development, law & order (3D-LO)), trade and finance, climate and food security. The 2030 ASD will serve as the overarching guiding instrument to further discussions in this context.

 

 

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 within a broader exercise to adapt its development cooperation policy to the new paradigm of the 2030 ASD.

 

 

Wallonia:

The 2nd Sustainable Development Strategy,  adopted on 7 July 2016, aims to help implement the SDGs along with other global or sectoral policies and plans. It intends to bring coherence in the actions undertaken by the Walloon Government to achieve the SDGs.

The strategy 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 contribution of the actions to the implementation of the 2030 ASD is clearly indicated.

 

It also  integrates the SDGs and targets as medium term objectives and specifies for every target if a commitment has already been made by the Walloon Government.

A mapping exercice of the walloon policy is being conducted for the moment in order to have a state of play as regards implementation of the SDGs and to allow an assesment of the progress made in the future, on the basis of a set of relevant indicators taking into account the list elaborated by UNSTAT.

This exercice will also support the  implementation of  2 of the 100 actions planned by the strategy:

- the elaboration of a barometer in order to evaluate the progress made in Wallonia on its way towards sustainable development

- 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.

Finally the Walloon government has decided in April 2016 to include in each draft decision  a chapter explaining to which SDGs the decision will contribute.

 

Brussels-Capital Region:

The government of the Brussels-Capital Region will launch a public consultation on the draft of Regional Sustainable Development Plan in the following months. It will be adapted to take into account the outcome of the public consultation and to meet priorities of the current governmental agreement (2014-2019).

 

 

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 SD interministerial conference has been mandated to follow-up the implementation of the Agenda in Belgium including by to coordinating the preparation of reports on progress made and challenges faced. See also the relevant SD institutions already described.

The federal level:
Federal Institute for Sustainable Development

Flanders:
Flemish Government, Department of Chancellery and Governance, Sustainable Development Unit

 

Wallonia:

Department of Sustainable Development
Public Service of Wallonia - Secretariat General

 

Brussels:

Bruxelles Environnement

 

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

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

 

Voluntary National Reviews

https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/content/documents/15721Belgium_Rev.pdf 

 

 

-- Back to overview --

Mechanisms of Vertical Integration

National — sub-national linkages

 

In the context of the forthcoming national strategy for sustainable development, 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.

 

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 Assessment since 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 on http://ria-air.fed.be.

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. An independent sustainable development advisory unit has also been established in 2013. This unit is consulted by the Government as regards compliance with SD principles of certain projects or legislative proposals. Here are some of the features of this new instrument: (a) Policy proposals in the very early stages (global policy overview) are submitted to the advisory unit by policy makers; (b) All other policy proposals may be submitted to the unit, either by policy makers or by officials from the administrations in charge of policy design; (c) The unit may also put forward its own proposals on any relevant subject to policy makers; (d) The resulting assessment contains recommendations for improving the policy proposal; (e) Governmental ministers are obliged to provide arguments when recommendations are not taken into account; (f) The integrated assessment is carried out on the basis of sustainability criteria, grouped in five categories, which are then refined using a holistic approach including horizontal and vertical integration, intra- and intergenerational equity, participation; (g) The advisory unit is eager to exchange views with other organisations carrying out SD assessments on public policies.

 

 

-- 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 also have their own dedicated process for evaluation and review.

 

At the federal level the 2010 revision of the Act of May 1997 on Sustainable Development stipulates inter alia: (1) the duration and content of the planning and reporting cycle; (2) the composition of the Interdepartmental Commission on Sustainable Development; (3) the alternation in the focus of the Federal SD Report on current situation and policy evaluations and on SD long term forecasting; (4) the possibility for a new government to change the Federal Plan SD.

The original Act has been revised in July 2010. The revised Act calls for inter alia the development of a long-term vision for SD, based on which a new SD policy will be prepared that is deemed necessary to achieve the long-term objectives determined by the vision. This long-term Vision has to comprise goals for 2050, intermediary goals by decennia and indicators for monitoring progress of implementation. These elements of the vision have been agreed by the Federal government on May 17 2013 and are endorsed through a Royal Decree, as an implementation of Article 7bis of the Belgian Constitution and in view of Belgium’s international commitments on SD.

The 2010 revision of the Act of May 1997 on SD also takes into account lessons learned during previous reviews undertaken, as it:

• takes into account the changed international context related to SD, 

• promotes vertical integration by a stronger focus on cooperation among the various levels, 

• integrates the monitoring and reporting procedures as components of a coherent learning cycle, 

• reaffirms the Sustainability Impact Assessment procedure, 

• allows for increased flexibility in the development and implementation of future Federal Plans for SD, providing a new government with the possibility to change a plan during its life span. 

 

The 2010 Federal Act on SD 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.

 

 

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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 www.indicators.be.

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 theme and also according to three dimensions of sustainable development: their contribution to the description of the situation Here and now, Later, and Elsewhere. When possible, the indicators are linked with the goals listed in the LTV and the SDGs. The observed evolutions show generally better results for the environmental than for the social indicators, mostly since the financial and economic crisis of 2008.

 

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).

 

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.

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. Those indicators are used in 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.

In the framework of the SD strategy, a mechanism will be put in place to monitor the achievement of the various actions of the action plan.

In addition one of the 100 measures in the action plan foresees the elaboration of a barometer in order to evaluate the progress made in Wallonia on its way towards sustainable development.

Another action of 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.

 

 

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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. 

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 the current government is planning to launch a public consultation on the Regional Sustainable Development Plan in the following months. It will be adapted to take into account the outcome of the public consultation and to meet priorities of the current governmental agreement (2014-2019).

Furthermore, the Regional Sustainable Development Plan foresees to reinforce the participation of the concerned actors for specific measures.

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 http://www.eeac.eu/councils/belgium and click on one of the listed institutions.

 

 

 

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 http://www.eeac.eu/councils/belgium 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: Friday, 27 April 2018

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

 

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