Alumnus testimonial

Lieke - Senior Policy Officer at Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Lieke works as a senior policy officer for the Dutch ministry's 'Social and Economic UN Affairs' division. Providing the minister for Sustainable Development Goals advise has led her all te way to the UN in New York.

MDR was very helpful for me, because I had a background in Biology, and I wanted to understand sociological and political processes better.

How would you describe your work?
"I'm currently working at the Social and Economic UN Affairs division of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. My team coordinates the monitoring, implementation and reporting of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that have been agreed upon in 2015 by all UN Members states with a deadline of 2030. In the international context, that means we align our Dutch Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation policies with the 17 SDGs and use our worldwide network to convince governments and other actors like the private sector to work (faster) towards these goals.

Unlike its predecessors the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the SDGs are relevant for all countries, not only the 'Global South'. That is why we also commission the National Statistics Office to monitor SDG-progress in the Netherlands on a yearly basis, and have regular meetings with policy makers from other ministries on the 'SDG-challenges' we have here in the Netherlands, for example sustainable production and consumption, gender equality and CO2 reduction."

What is your position at the ministry and what does it entail?
"I'm a senior policy officer which means that I advise the National SDG Coordinator and Minister Kaag (coordinating minister for the SDGs) on SDG action. Currently, I am based at the Dutch permanent mission to the UN, in New York. In September, the 4-yearly SDG Summit takes places in the margins of the UN General Assembly. This means we make the programs (make a selection of relevant panels and side-events) and coordinate the interventions for high level delegates of the Kingdom of the Netherlands."

How did your master’s prepare you for this career?
"MDR was very helpful for me, because I had a background in Biology, and I wanted to understand sociological and political processes better. It helped me to take a more multi-disciplinary and holistic approach towards the complex global 21st century challenges that are aloe captured in the 17 SDGs."

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