Jan Peter Balkenende: “The private sector needs to be engaged in sustainability”

World Leadership Alliance–Club de Madrid (WLA–CdM) Member, Jan Peter Balkenende, led a mission on 23 January to Geneva in the framework of the Shared Societies Project (SSP) for the launch of the Global Report on the State of the SDGs, organized by our partner Southern Voice.

Jan Peter Balkenende, former Prime Minister of the Netherlands (2002–2010), participated in this initiative as part of SSP’s aim to support an inclusive implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This activity was organized in collaboration with Southern Voice, an open platform for think tanks that contributes to the global dialogue about the challenges and obstacles to implementing the Agenda. The project provides evidence-based analysis and recommendations from research centers across the Global South.

PM Balkenende, who is a recent addition to WLA-CdM’s extensive Membership, gave a keynote speech on how to accelerate the achievement of the SDGs. The former PM emphasized the relevance of taking concrete actions and measurements in order to realize the goals on time, and the need for inclusive prosperity, also for groups still left behind.

“We have to work together, including with the private sector, which needs to be increasingly engaged in sustainability”, he said, and claimed that within the WLA-CdM “we believe a shared society’s perspective offers a viable way forward.”


Afterwards, the former Dutch Prime Minister joined an interactive panel with the authors of the Global Report on the State of the SDGs on a participatory research approach grounded in the knowledge of national experiences, referring to the barriers and solutions that prevent us from ‘leaving no one behind’, the motto of the SDGs.

Through this mission, WLA-CdM shared leadership experience to build consensus around and momentum for achieving Agenda 2030, the plan to achieve the SDGs. The former PM of the Netherlands also raised awareness of the importance of an inclusive Shared Societies approach to the achievement of the SDGs and the role of the private sector, in achieving fair and just societies that can ensure prosperity and wellbeing for all.

Club de Madrid shares recommendations from our 2019 Policy Dialogue with the ITU

As part of the mission, PM Balkenende attended a bilateral meeting with Houlin Zhao, Secretary General of the United Nations International Telecommunication Union (ITU). PM Balkenande presented the WLA–CdM’s policy lab in Boston on Emerging Technologies and Multilateralism, which will address key issues that emerged in our 2019 Policy Dialogue on Digital Transformation and the Future of Democracy.

PM Balkenende detailed WLA-CdM’s work on digital inclusion, which is soon to be released. Furthermore, he showcased how Club de Madrid is capable of leveraging the experience and convening power of its Members to give recommendations to Member States in policies, strategies and programmes.

The former Prime Minister of the Netherlands also attended Ambassador Thomas Guerber, Director of the DCAF – Geneva Center for Security Sector Governance in a bilateral meeting, with the aim of exploring synergies and collaboration to support inclusive peace and sustainable development. During the dialogue, Prime Minister Balkenende recognised the importance of a strong Security Sector Governance (SSG) to guarantee the healthy functioning of democracies. In this regard, he noted the importance of the job which DCAF is doing in promoting good governance, democratic principles and Human Rights.