Regions and Communities

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The legislative framework for the policy on sustainable development in Flanders is the Flemish decree on Sustainable Development. This decree stipulates that sustainable development is an inclusive, participative and coordinated process. You can find more information on the Flemish policy for sustainable development (link is external)here.

In accordance with the decree, upon the appointment of a new Flemish Government, a strategy for sustainable development (FSSD) must be drawn up. The Flemish government of 2014-2019 decided to integrate the third Flemish strategy on sustainable development into a cross-sectional policy paper, Flanders 2050: Vision 2050,(link is external) a long-term vision for Flanders. This was approved by the Flemish government in March 2016. In its 'Vision 2050 (link is external)', which also serves as the third Flemish strategy for sustainable development (FSSD3), the Flemish Government is showing Flanders that it would like to see, in the long-term: a strong, social, open, resilient and international Flanders in which everyone is included, and which creates welfare and well-being in a smart, innovative and sustainable manner.

The long-term policy provides an answer to new opportunities and challenges, and accelerates the transitions required by society. The vision paper contains a vision for 2050, selects a number of priority transitions and provides a context for an adjusted governance model to support these transitions.

Sustainability is a central thread in the vision paper. Sustainability is central to the vision section, to the transition priorities and to the governance portion. The sustainable development goals (link is external) have been integrated into the text. 

There is a leading pair of ministers for each transition priority. Alongside this, engagement and guidance from the full Flemish Government will remain crucial.

The overview of the leading ministers per transition priority is as follows:

  • Continuing the transition to a circular economy: ministers Schauvliege/Muyters
  • Smart living: ministers Homans/Bourgeois
  • Making the leap to industry 4.0: ministers Muyters/Bourgeois/Schauvliege
  • Lifelong learning and the dynamic career path: ministers Crevits/Muyters
  • Building care and well-being 4.0: ministers Vandeurzen/Gatz
  • Working towards a safe and smooth mobility: ministers Weyts/Schauvliege
  • Ensuring an Energy Transition: minister Tommelein

The coalition agreement for the Flemish government of 2014-2019 (link is external) states that Flanders will remain a pioneer in the field of sustainability.

Every minister in the Flemish government will dedicate themselves to the implementation of sustainable development in his or her policy domain. The co-ordination of all these efforts lies with the Minister-President, who is supported in this by a Sustainable Development Team (link is external) (SD Team), which forms part of the Chancellery and Administration Department. Policy preparation and evaluation will be designed in an official government-wide Sustainable Development Working Group (link is external) (SDWG).

The Minister-President's policy paper lays out the major strategic choices and options for the policy for the duration of the government term. The Minister-President states that he will continue to stimulate sustainable development as a cross-sectional theme. The Minister-President also sets out his policy in respect of sustainable government projects (link is external), transition sustainable living and construction(link is external) and the collaboration with other authorities (link is external). A new element in the 2014-2019 policy paper from Minister-President Bourgeois is the Expertise Centre (link is external) on sustainability.

The TRADO Support Centre (link is external) supports the policy with policy-oriented scientific research into transitions for sustainable development.


In 2013, Wallonia provided a legal basis for the promotion of sustainable development with the decree of 27th June 2013 regarding the Walloon strategy for sustainable development. In this decree, the draft of the strategy for sustainable development was described as follows: “an orientation and action document, the aim of which is to promote the initiative and coherence in respect of sustainable development in the Walloon Region's forms of public policy (…)”. It also stipulates that every new Walloon Government will outline its own strategy by determining its priorities in respect of sustainable development.

An initial Walloon strategy for sustainable development was adopted in November 2013, a second on 7th July 2016. The adoption of this second Walloon strategy for sustainable development fits in with the implementation by Wallonia of the seventeen sustainable development goals, as adopted in September 2015 by the United Nations.

This strategy provides a framework for encouraging sustainable development initiatives by all public and private actors in Wallonia and contains one hundred measures to which the Walloon Government has committed itself for a more rapid transition towards sustainable development.

An initial Walloon report on implementation of the sustainable development goals was adopted by the Walloon Government on 20th April 2017. This document, entitled “En route to 2030”, and coordinated by the Sustainable Development department of the Walloon Government Service, is the result of a collaboration between dozens of Walloon actors.

This report discusses:

  • the Walloon policy inventory, with an overview of the strategies, programmes and plans that will help to bring about the sustainable development goals;
  • the analysis of 70 indicators that lay out the current state of affairs in Wallonia;
  • a list of good practices as regards sustainable development by Walloon government institutions, civil society and the private sector.

More information (link is external) can be found on the website for the Walloon Public Service for Sustainable Development.


The Brussels-Capital regional government has confirmed its intention to draw up a new Regional Plan for Sustainable Development (RPSD) (link is external) through its ‘Declaration of intent to fully alter the Regional Development Plan’ of 2009. This decision has begun the drafting procedure and indicates the major pillars of the future RPSD, based on the new challenges with which the Brussels-Capital Region was confronted.

The RPSD intends to provide the Region with a design for the middle term and the long term (2025 and 2040), and with a vision that leads the regional development and develops 4 pillars:

The ambitious production of adapted homes

  • Making use of the Region's land ownership: the RPSD identifies multiple zones that display particular potential. They can count on wholesale efforts by the authorities as a priority. Besides the Canal zone, which forms the backbone of the Region and redevelopment of which will therefore be essential, 10 priority development zones have been delineated.
  • An equal spatial densification: The densification of the existing fabric, high-rise buildings with respect for the Brussels landscape, making optimum use of existing buildings.

The development of facilities and a pleasant, sustainable and attractive living environment

The Region will be developing 10 new districts that will help promote its image. It must also work with the municipalities, however, to enhance the links between the residents of Brussels and their direct environment, which contribute to the quality of their daily life. It is the intention to develop a city where people live, work and relax, bring about a neighbouring town and then structure it around a dense public transport network.

104 local identity cores have been identified. These are districts where the neighbourhood life is concentrated and are perceived as tailored to the pedestrian, with room for homes, facilities (crèches, schools, sporting grounds, businesses, small firms, cultural centres, etc.), public spaces and areas of nature, in short everything necessary to make a comfortable, high-quality lifestyle possible.

The biggest challenge for Brussels will lie in ‘digesting’ the expected population boom. The Region must pay priority attention to expanding the ‘neighbouring town’ in order to safeguard the social mix and cohesion and to ensure that the shops, companies and residents remain in these districts.

Improving mobility as a factor for sustainable urban development

It is becoming ever more difficult to drive in Brussels. Brussels can no longer sustain the more than 3 million daily journeys (for all methods of transport combined) on its terrain without reviewing its mobility policy. The RPSD therefore places powerful measures first in line, of which some will be taken by 2025 and others by 2040.

Making use of the terrain for the development of the urban economy

The presence of NATO and of the European institutions makes Brussels a "small world city". The Belgian and European capital city is very well connected with the international world, through both physical (air traffic hubs, HST, railway network) and digital networks. Brussels' international function directly generates 40,000 jobs at these institutions and indirectly provides for at least twice as many. As with every metropolis, however, the Brussels-Capital Region is confronted with the challenges of a globalised world. It must strengthen its role on the world stage AND safeguard its residents' quality of life.

In this regard, the Region is making targeted efforts for priority sectors to ensure economic growth and job creation at the same time.


You can find this information on the French-Speaking Community’s website (link is external) (FR).


The Regional Development Concept (REK), a long-term strategic plan for the German-Speaking Community (link is external), which extends beyond the legislative periods, was drawn up in 2008 and 2009. The first two parts of the REK contain a vision and future-oriented goals for the region. Parts 3 and 4 zoom in on the two implementation phases of the REK up to the present: 2009-2014 (REK I) and 2014-2019 (REK II). Minister-President Oliver Paasch is responsible for the implementation of the sustainable development goals for the German-Speaking Community within the framework of the implementation of the REK.

The sustainable development goals are incorporated into all of the REK's regional development projects.

Within the framework of REK II, more particularly this includes 24 future projects and 3 cross-sectional projects that relate to all areas of competence in the German-Speaking Community (notably education, culture, employment, family, health, social affairs and youth).

More information on the Regional Development Concept (REK):