The Dutch Voluntary Subnational Review are now available

13 July 2022

The Netherlands Association of Municipalities (VNG), the Interprovincial Consultation (IPO) and the Union of Waterboards (UvW) have published their report on the Global Goals from the perspective of the local government. In addition to data, this report also contains recommendations to municipalities, provinces and water boards for the future.

The report, the Voluntary Subnational Review (VSR), supplements the Voluntary National Review (VNR) that the Netherlands published for the UN on the state of play regarding the implementation of the Globals Goals (also called SDGs) in the Netherlands.

Results and findings

The Netherlands scores relatively well on the social and economic goals. Of course, this is a relative concept with still a world to be won. The country scores noticeably less on the climate and nature-related goals. The VSR sheds light on the fact that this is an issue on the national as well as on the decentralized level. The three pillars – people, planet and profit – are therefore very unbalanced on average.

The VSR also shows that there are major differences in scores between municipalities and regions. In addition, local authorities are faced with issues that require national coordination, such as shrinkage of population or socio-economic challenges. The VSR advises the national government to draw up a national strategy for the goals to provide local authorities with an integrated financing mechanism for integrated sustainable development.

Why is this report needed?

We use this to map the administrative context for SDG implementation, measure progress in achieving the goals, identify obstacles and provide advice on how to achieve the goals. The sustainable development goals can only be achieved with the strong involvement and input of both national and local authorities.

It is up to municipalities, provinces, water boards and the national government together to achieve our sustainability goals for 2030. The Dutch VSR was presented during the High Level Political Forum of the United Nations in New York (July 11-13, 2022), together with the VSRs of a dozen other countries.


The findings from the VSR are the result of a combination of qualitative and quantitative data collection. Qualitative data was collected through surveys and interviews. The previously drawn up SDG indicators for municipalities, available in the Global Goals dashboard, were used as the basis for the qualitative data. This provides insight into the decentralized average of the Netherlands as well as into the mutual local differences.

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