The Northern Netherlands RIS3 is characteristic in the sense that already in the current strategy a link has been created between sustainable development and smart specialization.
In contrast to more traditional strategies which focus on priority areas, or even sectors, the Northern Netherlands have expressed the objectives of the strategy in terms of societal challenges - four (European) challenges for which the region has the capabilities to contribute to the solutions:
*Healthy and secure supply of food,
*Sustainable use of energy,
*Clean water and
The choice of the challenges are linked to the strengths the region identified in the design phase of the strategy.
An important implication of the choice for challenges, indeed an important rationale behind the decision to do so, is that the strategy is an inclusive strategy. No one is excluded in advance. Basically everyone is invited
to contribute and participate.
A second important implication is that the challenges give the strategy a dynamic character. The challenges are a starting point, they form the “crash barriers” for a continuous process of entrepreneurial discovery, that is fostered within the region and eventually can be expected to lead to refinement.
The Northern Netherlands RIS3 refers explicitly to the following SDGs:
*SDG 2. End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture
*SDG 3. Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
*SDG 4. Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all
*SDG 6. Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all
*SDG 7. Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all
*SDG 8. Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
*SDG 9. Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation
*SDG 13. Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts
*SDG 15. Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss
The Northern Netherlands RIS3 is directly linked to the SDG2, SDG3, SDG6 and SDG7, however the RIS3 has more horizontal links with SDG4, SDG8,SDG9, SDG13 and SDG15.
Like many other european regions, the Northern Netherlands are preparing itself for the new programming period 2021-2027. The first consultations and interactions with stakeholders have taken place. There appears to be consensus among stakeholders that the logic and reasoning behind the current RIS3 are still valid and the choice for challenges a smart choice.
It is expected that in the new RIS3 an explicit link will be created with the UN’s SDG’s (starting point). At the moment the region is in the process analyzing if the current challenges are still accurate, if choices are still logical, if adjustments need to be made.
There is a common understanding that taking the challenges a step further, by
expressing challenges into missions and organizing the implementation of the strategy around the mission, might be a way forward, a way to increase the effectiveness of the strategy.
Apart from the regional strategies in the Netherlands, the national government intends to combine the current ' Topsector policy' with a mission oriented
approach. For the implementation of the strategy public-private " knowledge and innovation agenda's" (KIA's) will be created. the agenda's will be the result of a process in which the regions are involved. The process leading to the KIA's will ensure that alignment will take place.