Presentation of exploration and start of advice on Systemic Failure in Policy on the Living Environment

What is preventing the major problems in the living environment from being solved sufficiently effectively? What fundamental choices are needed to actually solve them sufficiently effectively? What are the consequences of those choices? What forms of organisation and steering will this require, and what are the roles and position of government, the market and the community in this regard? The council has started an advisory process on this. Publication is expected in late 2024.


The Netherlands faces a hefty number of intractable problems in the living environment that urgently require solutions. These problems in areas such as climate, biodiversity and raw material transitions, housing and making agriculture more sustainable have long been something we were aware of. The government has formulated 'tasks' for the living environment, which together can dramatically change the use of space, the economy and society as a whole. Goals and measures have been laid down in policy for the benefit of these tasks, and laws have been formulated and agreements made. Moreover, the policy ambitions are still being constantly tightened. 

However, the interplay between government, the market and the community does not seem to function sufficiently well to bring about effective solutions to the complex issues in the living environment. Each time, government interventions (or a lack thereof) and the free market do not or not yet appear to be delivering the outcomes deemed necessary for society. 

The Minister of the Interior and Kingdom Relations has raised the question of what needs to change in order to be able to make progress on the necessary major tasks in the living environment. 

Exploration of ‘Systemic failure in policy on the living environment’

In December 2023, in preparation for the advisory process, we published the 'Exploration of Systemic Failure in Policy on the Living Environment'. In the exploration, we addressed the various persistent problems in the living environment that urgently need a solution but persist despite continued attention from society, politics and policy. We then analysed the drivers and causes behind the failure to achieve the desired results. 

Download 'Systemic failure in policy on the living environment' 

View the presentation by council member and committee chair Jantine Kriens (20:42)

Read more about the advice 'Systemic failure in policy on the living environment'

For more information about the advice or to respond to it, please contact the project coordinator, Bart Swanenvleugel at, or call +31 (0)6 5201 2691.