Converging national sustainability challenges in the southwest delta

Expected in early 2019

Background and request for advice

A multiplicity of sustainability challenges converge at the regional level. In this report, the Rli focuses on several issues of national importance: climate adaptation, the energy transition, circular economy and greening the food system. These challenges come together and take shape at the regional level. Why is this, and how do they relate to each other and other regional challenges? Are there conflicts? Is a holistic approach called for?
 

Photo Zuidwest10: The Delta Farms sandworm farm near the Zeeland bridge at Kats. The village Colijnsplaat aan de Oosterschelde can be seen in the distance.
Photo Zuidwest10: The Delta Farms sandworm farm near the Zeeland bridge at Kats. The village Colijnsplaat aan de Oosterschelde can be seen in the distance.

Focus on the region

This advisory report takes a single region as an example: the southwest delta. The aim is to infer some general conclusions and make recommendations for the national government that will also apply to other regions in the Netherlands. The southwest delta was selected for the case study because it is a less well-known region that faces multiple sustainability challenges. Are these challenges and other developments in the region being sufficiently coordinated, or even being tackled in a holistic manner?

It cannot be taken for granted that the measures taken to deal with different challenges will reinforce each other. Since challenges may differ widely in character, timeframe and dynamics, they can be hard to combine. Climate adaptation is a long-term issue requiring efforts over a period of fifty years or more, while greening food production and consumption needs immediate attention. In addition, there can be differences between stakeholders, the level of public sector involvement and in geographic scope. These differences can be at odds with the need for a holistic approach?

The public sector decentralisation has made the implementation of national government objectives largely a regional matter. It will obviously be very difficult to meet these objectives without additional national involvement. The southwest delta seems to have its hands full with various issues (such as a rapidly declining working-age population), which can undermine efforts to adequately deal with the threats and opportunities posed by the sustainability challenges mentioned above. This Rli advisory report can provide insight into what the national government will need to do to realise its objectives.

Publication

The expected publication date is early 2019.

Composition of the committee

Co Verdaas (chair)

Saskia Goole

Henri de Groot

Rein van der Kluit

Mart Lubben

Krijn Poppe

 

 

Information or response: 

For more information or to respond, please contact Tim Zwanikken (project leader) at tim.zwanikken@rli.nl.