The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) offer another perspective on well-being, and here we describe Dutch well-being on the basis of these 17 SDGs. As some SDGs comprise different elements of well-being, we have divided them into two or three parts to reflect these aspects.
The monitor measures Dutch progress on the SDGs in terms of 293 indicators. For each indicator in the 17 SDGs, we establish whether the trend is moving towards target, away from target, or is neutral. Where possible, we also present the position of the Netherlands compared with other EU countries.
The summary figure below combines all indicators for which a medium-term trend (2015–2022) was calculated. It shows the percentage of indicators moving towards the goal (green), the percentage showing a neutral trend (grey) and the percentage moving away from the goal (red).
- Over half the indicators are moving towards higher well-being in SDG 5 Gender equality, SDG 7 Affordable and clean energy, SDG 8.2 decent work and economic growth: labour and leisure time, SDG 9.2 Industry, innovation and infrastructure: sustainable business and SDG 13 Climate action
- At least a quarter of indicators are moving towards lower well-being in SDG 10.1 Reduced inequalities: social cohesion and inequality, SDG 10.2 Reduced inequalities: financial sustainability, SDG 11.1 Sustainable cities and communities: housing, SDG 15 Life on land and SDG 16.2 Peace, justice and strong institutions: institutions.
The figure below gives an overview of trends in all indicators measured for each SDG, by category of indicator: resources and opportunities, use, outcomes and subjective assessment. It is an in-depth version of the figure above. The colours have the same meaning: green indicates a trend moving towards the goal, red a trend moving away from the goal.
The figure reveals some interesting combinations of trends in different indicator categories, for example:
- SDG 1 No poverty: green trends in the category resources and opportunities, but relative poverty is trending upwards (red) in the category outcomes.
- Four of the six trends in the category use in SDG 2 Zero hunger are green. The two indicators for resources and opportunities (utilised agricultural area and agricultural production per 1,000 working years) are red.
- SDG 5 Gender equality: eight of the thirteen indicators point to increasing well-being, all three of those in the category use and five in the category outcomes. The trend for the percentage of women in parliament switched from downward (red) to grey. There are no red trends in this SDG.
- The only indicator for SDG 6 Clean water and sanitation that points to increasing well-being is water productivity in the category use. For three other indicators in this category, the trend switched from green to grey. Two indicators in the category outcomes show a red trend: fauna in freshwater and marshes, and surface water with good chemical quality.
- SDG 8.2 decent work and economic growth: labour and leisure time: nine trends are green (e.g. fall in unemployment, rise in net labour participation, fewer employees with flexible employment contracts, positive trends for the subjective assessment indicators). Work-related mental fatigue is the exception here: this is trending upwards (red), and rose in the most recent year measured.
- SDG 10.1 Reduced inequalities: social cohesion and inequality: three of the four indicators in the category use show a red trend (downward trends for contact with family, friends or neighbours, participation in clubs, associations, etc., and voluntary work).
- SDG 11.1 Sustainable cities and communities: housing: trends in indicators for affordable housing are pushing well-being down. But the percentage of households saying that housing costs are a heavy burden is also trending downwards, which is favourable in terms of well-being.
- SDG 15 Life on land: indicators in the category outcomes, especially biodiversity indicators, point to a deterioration of well-being. Red trends for the Red List Indicator, farmland birds and fauna on land.
- For SDG 16.2 Peace, justice and strong institutions: institutions, trends for indicators in the categories resources and opportunities, use and outcomes are red or grey, while the category subjective assessment (trust) shows a few green trends. However, the trends in trust in civil servants and trust in the House of Representatives, which were rising, have turned into neutral. The most recent year-on-year changes in the subjective assessment category show deterioration for all indicators.
As not all EU countries measure the same indicators, or do not measure them in the same way, international comparison is not possible for all indicators in the monitor. Where comparison is possible, we established the average position of the Netherlands within the EU27 for each SDG. In some cases, international comparison is based on indicators with a slightly different definition than those used for the national trend calculation.
Uitleg samenvattend figuur
- Compared with other EU countries, the Netherlands ranks among the leaders for the following five SDGs: SDG 1 No poverty, SDG 9.2 Industry, innovation and infrastructure: sustainable business, SDG 10.1 Reduced inequalities: social cohesion and inequality and SDG 16.2 Peace, justice and strong institutions: institutions.
- As few internationally comparable indicators are available for SDG 9.1 Industry, innovation and infrastructure: infrastructure and mobility, SDG 14 Life below water and SDG 17 Partnerships for the goals, it is difficult to determine a position for these SDGs.
- For SDG 13 Climate action the Netherlands is at the very bottom of the EU rankings.