Every year on the 3rd Wednesday of May, ministries give an account of the past year's finances and policies. On this Accountability Day (also known as "Meat Day"), the annual SDG reporting from the Netherlands published. That report provides insight into progress by SDG goal. We watched the live webcast on the report. In this article you can read how Minister Kaag looks at the SDGs, what role knowledge institutions have and how to pay attention to the SDGs in the classroom.
Interviews with Minister Kaag and SDG coordinator Pellegrom
Every year since the SDGs were signed in 2015, CBS measures the Netherlands' progress compared to other EU countries. This report (Monitor Broad Prosperity) was published in 2020 at the same time as the SDG report. On May 20, SDG Netherlands, Partos, Building Change and MVO organized a webcast on the SDG report and the CBS figures. The webcast explored the state of affairs and whether the Netherlands is on track to achieve the SDGs by 2030. Minister Kaag (Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation) bit the bullet and expressed satisfaction with the daily growing awareness of the SDGs. According to her, it is becoming increasingly clear that the SDGs are universal goals that we must also work on in the Netherlands. About the results, Minister Kaag is more critical: especially on climate and gender goals, she sees room for improvement. Still, she is optimistic: "Choose a goal in which you can make a difference. Think small; it becomes very big."
Sandra Pellegrom, national SDG Coordinator, is also enthusiastic about how alive the SDGs are in the Netherlands. She names the optimism about the route to 2030. Confidence that the SDGs can bring about positive change is growing. In the next decade, the "Transformative Twenties," the SDGs must actually start to be achieved. Although the Netherlands has achieved 26 of the 169 subgoals, the SDG coordinator warns against thinking we are already there. "The current crisis makes it clear that you must continue to invest in broad prosperity."
Education and the SDGs
During the webcast, people asked how the SDGs can be integrated into primary education. Sandra Pellegrom explained that the SDGs mainly help as a means to show the connection between different problems. As an example, she mentioned thematic education, where a problem is addressed from multiple subjects. That kind of project helps children understand why they are learning something. And this is not only true in primary education; also in VO, MBO and HO help the SDGs deliver the professionals of the future.
The same conclusion can be read in the SDG report itself. In addition to the efforts of government and business, among others, the report highlights how knowledge institutions contribute to the SDGs. The emphasis is on how the institutions contribute among themselves to better knowledge development and knowledge sharing. From MBO, HBO and WO, examples are mentioned such as the Whole School Approach, SustainaBul MBO and the HBO-SDG coalition.
Not only education, but also young people themselves receive special attention. The report mentions that several youth organizations provided input to curriculum.nu, but also that it is important to give young people a structural and meaningful role in decision-making on the SDGs. Sandra Pellegrom emphasizes this: "Question young people. They are worried about their future, and especially now many things can happen that young people will have to live with for decades to come. So listen carefully to their concerns and their concrete recommendations."
17 goals you share: interactive learning environment about the SDGs
Especially for children, there is the website 17 goals you share. This online translation of the SDGs is a platform that takes children through the World Goals. The website existed before, but has now been expanded to include a free interactive lesson environment. An interactive IWB lesson has been developed for each goal, which is also easy to use at home. The lessons are diverse: from how-are-they-going-with-these-animals-quiz to democratic elections in the classroom. Initiator Anne-Marie Rakhorst: "If you know what's going on in the world, you can take action yourself and talk to adults about your future. Children may not have the right to vote, but they do have a voice."
The platform also features the 17 Goals Guide, which shows how the Netherlands scores on the SDGs. This is a handy itinerary that leads children past all the goals, with information, videos, interviews and tips for getting started themselves. The SDGs may seem complicated, but many of these issues are very important to children. The website of 17 goals is made for upper secondary school students. The website is accessible for children to explore on their own and the lessons are largely classroom-based.
Source: Press release from 17doelendiejedeelt.nl