June is widely known as report time at school, but Belgium also received its report card in June. More specifically: Belgium received its sustainable goals report from the United Nations. Unfortunately, it is not encouraging: our country dropped from fifth to 18th place.

What is the 'Sustainable Development Report'?

In 2015, the “Sustainable Development Goals” were adopted for the United Nations. These goals represent the new global ambition of the sustainable development agenda for 2030. The Sustainable Development Goals consist of 17 objectives and 169 underlying targets. Each member state of the United Nations must ensure their own translation into their national policies. Every year, each member state of the United Nations receives its status report.

These are the 17 goals:

Belgium's scores

Last year we were in 5th place, today we drop to 18th place in the list of 163 countries. Overall, we score 79.7%, which is not very bad either since the average this year is 77.2%. Of course, we can always do better.


Only on “SDG 1: poverty” did we get a green score. So in that area we did meet the targets. On the other hand, there are 3 other goals that require a lot more effort: responsible consumption and production (SDG 12), climate action (SDG 13) and living in water (SDG 14). For these 3 goals, Belgium received a red score, read: an insignificantly low score.


We received an orange score for the following SDGs, in other words, these still require a lot of attention: no hunger (SDG 2), good health and well-being (SDG 3), quality education (SDG 4), clean water and sanitation (SDG 6), affordable and sustainable energy (SDG 7), life on land (SDG 15) and partnerships to achieve goals (SDG 17).


This year, though, we are already doing a little better and scored yellow with gender equality (SDG 5), decent work and economic growth (SDG 8), industry, innovation and structure (SDG 9), reducing inequality (SDG 10), sustainable cities and communities (SDG 11), peace, security and strong public services (SDG 16). In other words, here we are well on our way to a green score, but there are still some challenges to address.

The top ten

The entire top ten this year consists only of European countries:

1 Finland 86.5

2 Denmark 85.6

3 Sweden 85.2

4 Norway 82.3

5 Austria 82.3

6 Germany 82.2

7 France 81.2

8 Switzerland 80.8

9 Ireland 80.7

10 Estonia 80.6


Europe scores well this year, but that doesn’t mean it can rest on its laurels.

Every European country it so still has its negative points, but here we can (hopefully) see improvement next year.


Unfortunately, for the second year in a row, the world is no longer making progress on the SDGs. The reason? Corona? Most likely yes, as pandemic scores increased on average by 0.5 and we are now seeing a downward trend. Hopefully this year each country can refocus on the SDGs and we will see the upward trend again next year.