Dutch SDG coordinators operate by forming coalitions around each of the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), collaboratively addressing the most significant challenges and seeking solutions within their alliances. They meticulously map out the intricacies of these goals, exploring connections with other objectives, and foster collaboration with fellow SDG alliances. Annually, these coordinators integrate the most promising opportunities to achieve the SDGs into the SDG roadmap. This concerted effort is supported by Sandra Pellegrom, the National SDG Coordinator, and Ivy de Bruijn. Together, they weave a tapestry of sustainable development initiatives, intertwining diverse perspectives and expertise to propel the Netherlands towards a more sustainable and interconnected future.
Today we would like to introduce you the new SDG coordinator for SDG #3: Irene de Vries
Can you share a bit about your background and what inspired you to take on the role of national SDG3 coordinator for the Netherlands?
I am a physician global health & tropical medicine and medical anthropologist-sociologist. After years of clinical work in various settings I have continued my career as a global health professional at KIT royal tropical institute. I am also an active NVTG-member and quite strongly involved with the curriculum for global health physicians. The beauty of the global health profession is that it unpacks and aims to address the multifactorial influences on health and disease. Everything is interlinked, just as with the Sustainable Development Goals. We need to address poverty (SDG2), hunger (SDG3) and gender equality (SDG5), just to name a few, to achieve good health and well-being and vice versa. As a medical doctor and social scientist I love to work at these intersections and I think it is important to build bridges between the medical field, the public health field, civil society and the political & policy-making field.
As the SDG3 coordinator, what specific goals or initiatives do you plan to focus on to advance global health and well-being, both in the Netherlands and on a broader scale?
The mandate of SDG Nederland is to promote and advance the SDGs in the Netherlands. Very important, as also in the Netherlands growing poverty is of concern; people will experience the consequences of climate change; there is unequal access to, and unequal outcomes of, health care; and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) are constantly under threat, just to name a few SDG3 issues. But the Netherlands is not standing on its own. I have a passion for what we as global health professionals know and can do to improve and advocate for better health for all around the world, including our planet. And I think in the Netherlands we have much to learn from what is happening globally. See also: vice versa global health special? ‘we hebben mondiale dokters nodig!’
I am fulfilling the role of national SDG alliance coordinator together with Karen van Ruiten, the director of Alles is Gezondheid. Alles is gezondheid is a large network of Dutch health organizations. I am happy that we can complement the Dutch field with global health-oriented organizations, as global health knowledge and experiences are crucial to also improve equitable health in the Netherlands.
The mandate of applying global health knowledge to strengthen healthcare in the Netherlands very much aligns with the mandate of KCGH. Therefore, I think it is great that the NVTG-KCGH-OIGT network can be used to spread the word of the importance of the SDGs. In the current election times for example, SDG Nederland launched the Duurzaam Regeerakkoord (Sustainable coalition agreement). In this manifest, organizations call upon our future leaders to hold accountable to the SDGs in their policies. Wouldn’t it be great if the hospitals, medical professional associations and societies, universities and other partner organizations that are connected to the NVTG-KCGH-OIGT triangle will sign the manifest? So I call upon all NVTG-members, medical supervisors and working group members to advocate within their organizations for its signature.
Where can people reach out to you if they have questions or ideas related to SDG3 and global health initiatives in the Netherlands?
The role of national SDG alliance coordinator is mainly a networking and advocacy role, on a voluntary basis. I am happy to connect people to others and to push agenda’s. You can connect with myself and the SDG3 alliance on Linkedin and tag us for your initiatives. And of course, I am, together with KCGH, always keen to discuss collaborations within and across the SDGs.
For more info click on the links:
Kenniscentrum Global Health (KCGH)
Arthur van Schendelstraat 650
3511 MJ Utrecht
Kenniscentrum Global Health is opgericht door de NVTG en het OIGT met als doel global health kennis toegankelijk en bruikbaar maken ten behoeve van de Nederlandse gezondheidszorg.
KCGH wordt gesubsidieerd door het ministerie van Volksgezondheid, Welzijn en Sport.
Blijf op de hoogte via e-mail!