Sustainable development department

The Sustainable development department (SDD) was set up in July 2012 by the Walloon Government. It is under the General Secretariat of the Walloon Administration. The SDD undertakes several tasks in order to move towards a more sustainable region:

  • It contributes to the regional policy on sustainable development and to the integration of the SDGs in the activities and actions of the Walloon government and the public services of Wallonia;
  • It works to improve the sustainability of public services (through the development and implementation of the 2nd Plan of sustainable development) ;
  • It contributes to the international commitments for sustainable development;
  • It acts as the National Focal Point of the 10-year framework of programmes on sustainable consumption and production patterns.

The department mainly works through the following macro-policies:

  • Walloon SDS;
  • Public purchase;
  • Alliance Work Environment
  • Internal action plan
  • Advisory unit

The Walloon sustainable development strategy

The Walloon Government adopted in 2013 a decree on the Walloon sustainable development strategy that foresees the elaboration of such a strategy every legislature and determines its key elements (state of the art, vision, transition paths, action plan). According to that decree and following a first strategy adopted in October 2013, the second Walloon sustainable development strategy was adopted on the 7th of July 2016.

The Wallonia SD strategy is a long-term and broad strategy which aims to help implement the SDGs, as well as to bring coherence in the actions undertaken by the Walloon Government to achieve the SDGs. It complements other global or sector-specific plans.

It includes 4 chapters:

  • The first chapter provides a long term vision by 2050 around the following four axes: living in Wallonia, living in the world, living beyond 2050 and governance. It gives direction to all the Walloon actors to continue the transition to a sustainable development in Wallonia;
  • The second chapter consists in a diagnosis which describes the current situation in Wallonia using 40 indicators;
  • The third chapter deals with short and mid-term objectives. They are based on the SDGs;
  • The fourth chapter includes a focused action plan. It comprises 100 actions aiming to change unsustainable patterns of consumption and production patterns in food, energy and resources and to promote cross-cutting tools such as participative dynamics, information and awareness raising, education and research, social responsibility of private and public organizations, sustainable public procurement and involvement of Wallonia at the international level.

Its implementation is under the responsibility of different Ministers and administrations (including the DSD) each of them being in charge of the implementation of specific measures within the action plan.


Download the English flyer on the strategy

Action plan for responsible (sustainable) public purchases

In 2017, the Walloon government adopted its second Action Plan for responsible (sustainable) public purchases. It lasts from 2017-2019 with the objective to attain 100% of green public procurements by 2020. This means public procurements without social dumping, SME-friendly, fostering professional insertion, contributing to the fight against climate change and contributing to efficient resources management.

In addition, this plan will contribute to the achievement of Wallonia’s international commitments in terms of sustainable development, especially SDG 12 on sustainable consumption and production.

This plan is intended not only for the contracting authorities of Wallonia, but also for the managers of public services so that they institute change in their institution and for SME in order to encourage tendering.

It has 3 strategic goals that complement its main objective: fighting social dumping, increasing the access of public procurements by SMEs and managing efficiently natural resources.

The Actions plan entails 3 different types of actions in order to attain these goals:

  • Actions aiming to sensitize, help and support contracting authorities;
  • Actions aiming to increase SME access to public procurements ;
  • Actions working towards the development of several practical tools.

Several tools and actions have already been developed during the first action plan for sustainable public purchases (2013-2016) such as a helpdesk to assist contracting authorities in the integration of environmental, social and ethical clauses. These tools will be further improved and new ones are being developed. Concretely, contracting authorities have access to several tools in addition to the helpdesk to support them if they want to adopt a sustainable public procurement policy : a guide to limit social dumping, 3 guides on social clauses, a framework paper on public procurement law and a network of sustainable public buyers. Additionally, more tools are in development and the existing tools will continuously  be adapted to legislation/societal changes.

Environment/Employment Alliance

The Environment/Employment Alliance is based on the principle that protecting and improving the environment creates opportunities in terms of economic benefits and employment. Its 2nd plan (2016-2019) was adopted in October 2016 with a focus on sustainable construction. It contains 36 actions distributed among 4 axes:

  • Defining norms and terms of reference applicable to sustainable constructions and renovations;
  • Promoting sustainable construction/renovation;
  • Stimulating projects in sustainable construction/renovation;
  • Implementing training/continuing education in building and construction trades.

The strategy of the Alliance is to mobilise all the stakeholders – public services, citizens and businesses – around several actions in order to face the many challenges arising from climate change, the energy transition and unemployment.

Action Plan for a more sustainable Walloon Public Service

In May 2016 the second Plan of sustainable has been adopted. Its main objective is to reduce the negative impacts of the public services of Wallonia on the environment while improving the well-being of the civil servants. It contains around a hundred actions that are currently implemented.

Advisory unit

An independent sustainable development advisory unit has been established in 2013. This unit is consulted by the Government as regards compliance with SD principles of certain projects or legislative proposals. It provides an integrated assessment which is carried out on the basis of sustainability criteria, grouped in five categories:

  • Horizontal integration;
  • Vertical Integration;
  • Intra-generational equity;
  • inter-generational equity;
  • Participation.

Either  (a) policy proposals in the very early stages (global policy overview) are submitted to the advisory unit by policy makers; or (b) all other policy proposals may be submitted to the unit, either by policy makers or by officials from the administrations in charge of policy design; or (c) the unit may also put forward its own proposals on any relevant subject to policy makers.

The resulting assessment contains recommendations for improving the policy proposal. Governmental ministers are obliged to provide arguments when recommendations are not taken into account.  

The advisory unit is eager to exchange views with other organisations carrying out SD assessments on public policies.


Walloon sustainable development strategy
First Belgian voluntary review on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda