Blog from Hugo von MeijenfeldtIt can be said that, on the eve of the celebration of the fourth birthday of the SDGs, a lot has happened in the Netherlands. The informal networks that have been using it surprisingly broadly bottom-up and top-down already existed for the most part. That was a lot of less organizing. The number of national goals that are linked to the year 2030 has increased considerably, without these being necessarily traceable to the SDGs. That has saved me a lot of interference.

Can it continue this way? No. That conclusion has already been drawn from the bottom up and is accelerating. SDG Charter, the SDG Houses, the Global Goals Municipalities and SDG Café are doubling their strengths. Alliances around the 17 SDGs are developing strongly. A number of major events will be devoted to the SDGs, such as the World Tour of the Clipper Amsterdam and the Floriade in Almere.

There will also have to be something extra from above. The Netherlands must guarantee that it will honor its commitment to reach the SDGs by 2030. All actors say that it is now time to strengthen governance and goals, without striving for magisterial SDG cathedrals and fist-sized theoretical books. However, there is a demand for an increase in political and social direction and a workable implementation strategy.

Time to pass on the baton of SDG coordination. Earlier this happened to me in mid-2013, when after four years I retired as the first Climate Envoy. Two and a half years later, the Paris agreement was a fact. My successor can pick up the changed assignment with new impetus and work together with a doubled team from the SDG Charter on the conclusion in 2022 that the Netherlands is on track. A stronger commitment from the ministries is then necessary.

I myself will assist the sustainable forces in the “mainstream” of companies and financial institutions with public advice and action. Relocation of the SDG House in Amsterdam to the Malietoren in The Hague is then an obvious choice. There, in addition to its 10 principles, the Dutch network of UN Global Compact has strongly linked itself to the 17 SDGs. You didn’t get rid of me yet.