• The implementation of SDGs is to be integrated into the National Strategy on Sustainable Development, accompanied by a specific implementation plan for the different levels (federal and regional).
  • The Federal Council for Sustainable Development serves as a platform for SDGs implementation.
  • Civil society was consulted on SDG implementation, on the proposed Framework for a National Strategy for Sustainable Development and on the Voluntary National Review (2017).

Description of the initiative

    Institutional framework

    Lead and supporting government bodies
    • The Inter-ministerial Conference for Sustainable Development (IMCSD) – a gathering of the respective ministers in charge of Sustainable Development and Development Cooperation from the different authorities – was established in 2012. It has been mandated to follow up the implementation of Agenda 2030 in Belgium and to coordinate the preparation of reports on progress made and challenges faced.
    • The federal sustainable development strategy outlines a "report-plan-do-check-act-cycle" and the mutually supporting roles of four institutions that prepare, adopt, implement and improve Sustainable Development Policies, namely:
      • the Federal Institute for Sustainable Development, in charge of the planning and monitoring part of the process;
      • the Task Force on Sustainable Development (Federal Planning Bureau), in charge of reporting on the current situation, on policy evaluations and on forecasting;
      • the Federal Council for Sustainable Development – the stakeholders' advisory council – in charge of organizing the involvement of major groups in Sustainable Development policy-making;
      • the Interdepartmental Commission for Sustainable Development (ICSD), in charge of organising the work within the departments of the federal administration.
    Strategic framework
    • Since 2007, sustainable development has been anchored in the Belgian Constitution (article 7bis) as a general policy objective.
    • A framework for a National Sustainable Development Strategy (NSDS) was agreed on in April 2014, however due to the adoption of the 2030 Agenda, the NSDS was adjusted in September 2016 and as the IMCSD is currently inactive, the common initiatives that had been planned are still on hold.
    • The Federal State has also implemented a Federal Strategy on Sustainable Development, outlined by the Act of May 1997 but revised in 2010.
    • The revision also included a Federal Long Term Vision (2050) on sustainable development, which sets 55 objectives and proposes different indicators to report on progress achieved.
    Implementation of Sustainable Development Goals
    • The implementation of the SDGs is a shared responsibility between the Federal State, the Communities and the Regions. The IMCSD is responsible for common initiatives but, as mentioned before, is currently inactive.
    • At federal level, there is no official strategic implementation plan. The minister announced the preparation of an "SDG Action Plan", to be published in 2019.The SDGs will be implemented through existing mechanisms contained in the federal strategy for sustainable development and a dedicated implementation plan to broaden the commitments, with the Federal Institute for Sustainable Development assisting the Federal Government in enforcement of policy decisions.

    Role of civil society

    Involvement in implementation of Sustainable Development Goals
    • At federal level, the FCSD issued several opinions on the implementation of Agenda 2030.
    • The FCSD served as the coordinator of a group of advisory councils preparing an opinion on the updated Framework for a National Strategy for Sustainable Development. Actual involvement was limited.
    • With regard to the outcome of the consultations undertaken at federal level to date, there has been a wide response from experts and civil society in relation to the preparation of the Federal Plans in 2000, 2004, 2008. In addition, a large body of opinions has been issued by the FCSD on the federal policy for sustainable development, whether at the request of the federal ministers or on its own initiative.
    Civil society platform for 2030

    Perspectives 2030 from CNCD 11.11.11: national coalition aiming to encourage the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and of the SDGs in Belgium.

    SD council or equivalent

    • to advise the government on all measures concerning federal policy on sustainable development; to serve as a forum for the exchange of ideas on sustainable development;
    • to organise dialogues with stakeholders in preparation for the drafting of opinions within the statutory bodies, working groups and forums;
    • to provide information and raise awareness about sustainable development among citizens, individuals and public bodies. This mainly takes the form of study days, the sustainable development press award, and publications;
    • to conduct research in all areas relating to sustainable development.
    • Societal stakeholders (environmental organisations, organisation for development cooperation, users’, employees’ and employers’ bodies, youth organisations and the scientific world) are members of the council and meet in working groups and general assemblies (taking place more or less every three months).
    • A bureau composed of a president and members' representatives from different areas meets on a monthly basis to coordinate the work.

    National Economic & Social Council

    Economic and Social Council of the Brussels-Capital Region Economic and Social Council of Flanders (SERV) Walloon Region Economic and Social Council

    The plenary session is made up of 30 full members, appointed for four years

    There are currently six standing committees, including the Environment Commission

    Ten members of the Flemish employers' organizations and ten representatives of the Flemish employee organizations sit on the SERV council.

    Within SERV, the focus is on environmental dossiers with a socio-economic impact such as climate and air policy, integrated water policy or the environmental permit policy (VLAREM). For many of these environmental dossiers SERV aims to cooperate with Minaraad. SERV has also accumulated expertise on strategic topics such as sustainable development, transition policy and environmental policy instruments.


    The CESW General Assembly has 50 members, whose terms of office are for four years, renewable.

    - The "environmental section" is an advisory body responsible for submitting opinions on various environmental matters at the request of the Government, the Regional Administration, the municipal colleges or on its own initiative.


    Economic and Social Council of the Brussels-Capital Region Economic and Social Council of Flanders (SERV) Walloon Region Economic and Social Council

    Facilitates exchanges between the government and stakeholders, studies.

    Advises on the budget of the Flemish Community on an annual basis. The advice comments on government and parliamentary initiatives from a socio-economic angle.

    SERV also facilitates social dialogue between social partners (bipartite) as well as at tripartite level, in cooperation with the Flemish Government.

    Conducts surveys, organising consultations between both sides of business in Wallonia and the Government.

    Monitoring & Evaluation


    UN SDSN SDG Index Country Profile

    Belgium ranks 12th in the global SDG ranking of 2017.



    National level: the SDG-indicators Working Group of the Inter-federal Institute for Statistics has created a working group on indicators to monitor the implementation of the SDG's. In June 2017 it published an inventory of existing indicators in Belgium that correspond to the proposed UN indicators. The next step in 2018 is to organise a database of SDG indicators for Belgium and its regions.

    Federal level: sustainable development indicators are published by the Task Force on Sustainable Development as part of the Federal Reports on Sustainable Development. The latest set of reports (2017) were prepared based on 34 indicators.

    Voluntary National Report

    The report highlights that Belgium has been very proactive on SDGs related to health, gender, inclusive and sustainable economic growth and decent work, terrestrial biodiversity and peaceful societies. Meanwhile, it needs to work on several challenges such as scale matters (i.e. the extent to which various governments have been able to systematically incorporate the SDGs throughout their areas of competence.

    CSOs were consulted from the initial stages onwards to ensure the report includes CSO initiatives and best practices.