Netherlands' sustainability efforts fall behind other EU countries

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While the Netherlands is working hard to meet the United Nations targets for a fairer and sustainable world, other European countries are doing relatively better when it comes to clean energy and combatting climate change, according to a report Statistics Netherlands released on Friday.

Last year UN member states agreed to 17 goals aimed at making the world fairer and more sustainable in the period to 2030. Statistics Netherlands looked at the intermeidate position on those goals in its reports. Though the statistics office does note that many of the sustainability goals are very hard to measure, let alone compare to other countries. And figures on only about a third of the goals are readily available. 

But based on these limited figures, the Netherlands can be called a "very stable sub-top performer", according to Statistic Netherlands economist Peter Hein van Mulligen, according to "with that we are close to surrounding coutries such as Germany, Belgium, France and Great Britian. The Scandinavian countries are doing the best by and large and countries in southeast Europe the worst."

The Netherlands also scored below average on a number of themes related to equality. Relatively many people feel discriminated against in the Netherlands. And the healthy life expectancy of woman is low in the Netherlands compared to other European countries. The difference in income between men and woman is relatively large. And Dutc consumption also has an above-averageimpact on nature and the environment. 

Hugo von Meijenfeldt, coordinator of sustainable development at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, pointed out that the Netherlands is doing well on many points. "But we must be careful that we do not slip and are overtaken by others", he said to "Netherlands for example, was once the green leader in Europe, but not anymore."

The government is meeting with the business community and interst groups, among others, to discuss solutions to improving the Netherlands performance on December 8th.