Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

1No poverty

Internationally, the Netherlands contributes to the elimination of extreme poverty and the creation of sustainable and inclusive growth and development in developing countries, which are core goals of the 2030 agenda.
Dutch efforts abroad are partly determined by (thematic) results frameworks, including indicators and targets. These indicators are closely linked to the specific SDG targets and indicators. A sub-set of 15 indicators is included in the Foreign Trade and Development Co-operation budget for 2017. In addition, the focus on the poorest is reflected in the Netherlands' choice of partner countries - 11 of the 15 Dutch partner countries are among the world's Least Developed Countries (LDCs). The action planon 'Inclusive development in Dutch foreign trade and development cooperation programmes, places even greater emphasis on poverty reduction by: creating jobs for young people and women; and engaging in dialogue with developing countries to encourage greater commitment to inclusive growth and development. Read more about the results on this action plan.

2Zero hunger

Food and nutrition security is one of the priorities of the Dutch development co-operation agenda, as expressed in the policy document ‘The Netherlands' commitment to worldwide food and nutrition security' . Thanks to the efforts and investments made by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in co-operation with partners and contractors, between 10 and 20 million people were helped annually from 2013 to 2016 to gain access to better food and reduce malnutrition. In 2016, the figure was 15.5 million people. In addition, 1.9 million farmers were supported in 2016 to increase their productivity and incomes, in Benin and Ghana, among other countries.

Related Dutch development cooperation themes:

Food & Nutrition SecurityClimateHumanitarian Assistance

3Good health and wellbeing

Dutch development co-operation policy in the field of health is stated, among other sources, in the 'Letter to parliament on Dutch commitment to health systems’ and the ‘Policy framework for SRHR for the period 2016-2020’. The Netherlands focuses on sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). Because progress in SRHR requires well-functioning and accessible health care, the Netherlands' commitment also places great emphasis on strengthening health systems. The position of young people is given particular attention - whether it concerns sexual education at schools, mother/child care (in the form of food supplements), the prevention of teenage pregnancy or ensuring that young people can be tested for HIV, and that those with HIV have access to the care they need. Thanks to Dutch efforts in 2016, in co-operation with a large number of partners, an additional 1.8 million women and girls gained access to modern contraceptives, which also contributes to the Family Planning 2020 initiative. The ambition is to increase this number to 6 million women and girls in 2020.

Related Dutch development cooperation themes:

Sexual and Reproductive Health and RightsHumanitarian Assistance

4Quality education

Much improvement has been made in the field of education in recent years, especially relating to women and girls. At present, 91% of children in developing countries attend primary school. Through its support of UNICEF programmes for peace-building and education, the Netherlands is contributing to the education of children in conflict areas and refugee camps. In Lebanon and Jordan, such programmes are helping Syrian refugee children to get back to school. Although education is not a (thematic) priority of Dutch development co-operation policy, education and vocational training is supported worldwide via our multilateral partners, NGOs, etc.

5Gender equality

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that men and women have the same rights. In practice, however, women and girls are often disadvantaged compared to men and boys. This fifth goal states that in 2030 men and women must enjoy equal rights in practice. Women's rights and gender equality is a priority within current Dutch foreign trade and development co-operation policy. Discrimination is the basis for violence against women and unequal opportunities for women to become involved in political leadership. Dutch international policy to improve the position of women focuses on four goals: (1) the prevention and eradication of violence against women; (2) ensuring a fair share of women in politics and positions of power; (3) the economic empowerment of women to help them gain independence; and (4) an equal role for women in conflict resolution, peace-building and reconstruction. In 2016, the Netherlands supported 113 civil society organisations (CSOs) in reducing violence against women and girls. Support was for example also offered to the government of Mozambique to reduce the prevalence of child marriages.

6Clean water and sanitation

Too much, too little or too polluted water poses a threat in many places around the world. The Netherlands focuses, on the one hand, on increasing water safety in heavily populated deltas and, on the other, on providing sustainable access to water, sanitation facilities and hygiene (WASH), in both urban and rural areas. Among other activities, this involves supporting the development and implementation of measures to prevent floods, silting and ground subsidence. In the case of the WASH programme, it involves installing water pumps and latrines, and educating people on the importance of hygienic living conditions. Clean drinking water and good, clean sanitation facilities also have a positive impact on other SDGs, such as food and nutrition security, education and health. Clean drinking water ensures fewer infections and clean toilets ensure that girls go to school, even when they are menstruating. With Dutch support, 2.8 million people were reached with sustainable and improved water sources in 2016.

Related Dutch development cooperation themes:

WaterFood & Nutrition SecurityClimateHumanitarian Assistance

7Affordable and clean energy

We need energy for our prosperity and wellbeing; in our lives, homes and work. Without energy, societies could not develop as they now do. In order to achieve its climate goals, the world must accelerate the switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy. Among others, the Netherlands provides climate financing to developing countries to allow those countries to take advantage of the rapid rise of renewable energy, and thus reduce their dependence on oil, gas and coal. At the same time, climate financing is used to reach the large groups of people that do not have access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy. In 2016 alone, Dutch support helped 2.2 million people to gain access to renewable energy.

Related Dutch development cooperation themes:


8Decent work and economic growth

SDG 8 focuses on the creation of jobs for everyone and sustainable and inclusive economic growth. This means that everyone that is able to work must have the opportunity to work and enjoy good working conditions and fair pay. The jobs must stimulate economic growth without harming the environment. Sustainable and inclusive growth throughout the world is a chief ambition of Dutch development policy. The Netherlands aims to improve the local business climate, especially in low and middle income countries. In 2016, 217,000 jobs were directly supported by Dutch private sector developments, such as the Dutch Good Growth Fund. A more thorough explanation for this SDG is given in the action plan on Inclusive development in Dutch foreign trade and development cooperation programmes, see SDG 1.

Related Dutch development cooperation themes:

Private Sector Development

9Industry, innovation and infrastructure

When we think of infrastructure, we think about transport, roads, irrigation, energy and information and communication technology. But infrastructure is also needed to improve education, health care and drinking water. Without roads or transport, it is much more difficult for children in remote villages to get to school, for example. Many developing countries do not have this basic infrastructure. The Netherlands offers low- and middle-income countries financial support to develop and successfully implement infrastructure projects, which also allows them to make use of Dutch companies' knowledge and entrepreneurship. In co-operation with PIDG , FMO , ORET and ORIO, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has provided 47 million people with access to new and improved infrastructure.

Related Dutch development cooperation themes:

Private Sector DevelopmentWater

10Reduced inequalities

The Netherlands is committed to sustainable and inclusive growth worldwide and conveys the message that wide inequalities must be combated as a precondition to achieving the SDGs. The Netherlands is a pioneer in advocating effective action to fulfil the promise that no-one will be left behind. In 2016, the Netherlands launched Voice programme, which supports civil society organisations to represent the voice of marginalised groups on a national level. Within multilateral institutions and the EU, the Netherlands lobbies for the reduction of inequality. To this end, the Netherlands makes substantial contributions to the funds of the World Bank, for which sustainable and inclusive growth are a goal, and which focus on the creation of opportunities for women and young people. The Netherlands also advocates constructively within the World Bank and the IMF for the strengthening of developing countries and growing economies' representation within these institutions. For more information, please read the action plan on Inclusive development in Dutch foreign trade and development cooperation programmes. Read more about the results on this action plan.

11Sustainable cities and communities

Half of the world's population, around 3.5 billion people, live in cities. And the expectation is that this number will only rise: in 2030, it is possible that 60% of the world's population will live in urban areas. Almost all of this urbanisation, 95%, is taking place in developing countries. Unfortunately, the growth of 'urban areas' also includes slums. Today, 823 million people already live in slums but without proper measures, that number will continue to grow. Sustainable growth is the biggest challenge for the cities of the future. With investments in infrastructure the Netherlands contributes to sustainable cities and communities.

12Responsible consumption and production

The transition to a sustainable economy is an international issue, because economies are becoming more intertwined. Indeed, the Dutch economy is also heavily dependent on international trade flows. These trade flows exert considerable pressure on the environment, particularly in developing countries in which raw materials are produced or extracted. Within the themes of climate and private sector development, the Netherlands supports initiatives for sustainable consumption and production through climate diplomacy and the promotion of sustainable supply and value chains.

Related Dutch development cooperation themes:

Private Sector DevelopmentClimate

13Climate action

Every country on every continent is having to deal with climate change. Global warming is already affecting the daily lives and incomes of millions of people worldwide and the effects will only increase in the future. The Paris Agreement is the foremost vehicle through which our country implements SDG 13 internationally. The Netherlands makes an important contribution by supporting developing countries in reducing their CO2 emissions and strengthening their resilience to climate change. Action on climate is integrated within development activities, especially in the fields of energy, water and food and nutrition security. Despite the El Niño phenomenon, one effect of which was to cause severe drought in parts of the world, the Netherlands was able to reach 1.3 million people with clean drinking water facilities in 2016. In addition, the Netherlands works with the World Bank and FAO, as part of the Global Alliance for Climate-Smart Agriculture and the Post-Harvest Network, to improve food and nutrition security and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. With Dutch support, 1.3 million farmers now work in a climate-smart way.

Related Dutch development cooperation themes:

ClimateWaterFood & Nutrition Security

14Protection of seas and oceans

With their temperatures, streams and underwater life, oceans are the engine of the global systems that make the earth inhabitable for human beings. Among its international networks and contacts, the Netherlands encourages technological innovation to increase food production from aquatic food sources, thus increasing resilience to climate change. The Netherlands is working to restore the absorption capacity of oceans, seas and coastal waters, among others in Bangladesh

15Restoring ecosystems and maintaining biodiversity

This goal concerns the protection, restoration and promotion of the sustainable use of ecosystems, the sustainable management of forests, counteracting desertification, counteracting and reversing land degradation, and bringing a halt to the loss of biodiversity. With the help of sustainable landscape programmes, carried out by:
IDH ISLA, IUCN and HoA-CCP and the Dutch embassy in Nairobi, support was given to sustainably manage land and forests. In 2016, this concerned a land area of more than 760,000 hectares.

Related Dutch development cooperation themes:


16Peace, justice and strong institutions

The Netherlands' efforts to address the root causes of armed conflict, instability and irregular migration fall under SDG 16. These efforts are largely included within the priority theme of Security and Rule of Law. The Netherlands is committed to adopting an integrated approach towards peace, security and justice, particularly in countries that are having to deal with violence, lawlessness and exclusion. Lawlessness is an important factor in people fleeing their countries. The Netherlands prioritises improved access by citizens to legitimate legal systems, in order to solve problems before they lead to conflicts. With Dutch support, 360,000 people have benefited from improved access to justice.

17Partnerships for the goals

SDG 17 is an overarching goal that focuses on achieving all SDGs through the renewal of global partnerships for sustainable development. A good example is implementation resources, which includes aid, trade, taxes, the transfer of knowledge and technology, and different forms of innovative financing. Under this goal, Dutch efforts will co-operate on aid and non-aid areas, with the Netherlands aiming to make policy as coherent as possible for the advantage of developing countries. This means that the negative effects of Dutch policy on developing countries are combated as much as possible and the positive effects are maximized. This is crucial for achieving SDGs in developing countries. The Cabinet has formulated an action plan with concrete goals, linked to the SDGs. These actions are monitored over time and reported annually to the Second Chamber in the 'action plan and annual report Policy Coherence for Development'. In the area of ​​capacity-building in developing countries, the Netherlands also encourages an independent role for (local) civil society organisations. In 2016, for example, the Netherlands provided financial, political and technical support to 1,300 civil society organisations to increase their knowledge and capacity.

Related Dutch development cooperation themes:

Strengthening Civil SocietyPrivate Sector Development