Policy perspectives for sustainable development

Many problems in the physical environment have been tackled energetically over recent decades, but since the turn of the century the vitality of the policy on sustainable development appears to have stagnated somewhat. Climate change, in particular, is an issue that is of constant concern. The WRR addresses some of the issues surrounding sustainable development in a wide-ranging series of publications and activities.


An important part of policies for sustainable development relates to its institutional embedding. Specifically, Dutch climate policy contains a wide range of measures, but there is a lack of a clear, properly embedded long-term perspective. Yet that is precisely what is needed for coherence and stability in long-term climate policy. In this project the WRR explores institutional pathways for national climate policy from a long-term perspective.

Policy Brief

In 2016 the WRR has published a policy brief on this topic, setting out recommendations for long-term institutional anchoring of climate policy.

Cover (small) of Policy Brief no 5: Long-term-commitment for climate policy in the Netherlands

Long-term commitment for national climate policy in the Netherlands (Policy Brief no. 5)

Dutch climate policy is geared excessively to the short term, which is why national climate legislation is needed that binds politicians to a long-term objective for the reduction of greenhouse gases. This will also require a climate authority to monitor the consistent implementation of the climate policy.

Sustainable development policy

In 2015, the project team authored or articulated various working papers on the vitality of sustainable development policy in the Netherlands. The complexity of the issues at stake demand a policy that is better geared towards these challenges. It demands cohesion and a balance between different values and goals, between short-term and long-term thinking, and a carefully thought-out approach to the displacement of issues to different localities or different (policy) levels.

Value orientations

The working papers explore achievements to date, the support for and impact of policy, political/administrative institutions and governance, value orientations and discursive context, and the interaction between knowledge and policy. This background studies were published in 2015 as WRR-Working Papers.

Effective and widely supported policy

The project will further explore a number of specific themes, such as governance and funding and the development of new infrastructure. In taking this approach, the project contributes to explore the barriers and challenges that need to be overcome for an effective and widely supported policy for the environment and sustainable development.