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SDGs broaden our horizon and provide a language everybody understands

Interview with Ms Wobine Buijs-Glaudemans, Mayor of Oss in the Netherlands

  • Donnerstag, 03. Oktober 2019, 17:30 Uhr
  • Author Aseniya Dimitrova
Medium optimized global goals 007
Quelle: Municipality of Oss

Wobine Buijs- Glaudemans (MBA) has been Mayor of Oss (91.000) in the Netherlands since 2011. She is national ambassador for the local government for the Global Goals. Before this she was Manager Economics and Mobility of the Province of North Brabant and Dean of the Faculty of Marketing and Business Management of Avans Professional University. Her focus has been on developing talent and entrepreneurship in a sustainable world.

Ms Buijs-Glaudemans, how would you describe the city of Oss: what is unique about it and what could a visitor see here?

Oss is a medium sized industrial city with an active centre with many activities surrounded by farms in fields and nature, villages and the river Meuse (45 km of dikes with a yearly marathon) with medieval fortified cities like Ravenstein and Megen. It is biking country. All within the community borders.

In 2011, you were elected Mayor. Could you tell us how did the city change under your supervision ever since?

In 2011 there was an economic crisis. Our pharmaceutical industry got reorganized, our hospital left, government jobs were concentrated in the provincial capital. We lost 4000 jobs in just a few years. This was a wakeup call. The focus of the city shifted into realizing that we are depending on our entrepreneurs and their businesses for the basics of our economy. My role was strategic focus on core sectors like agri-food, pharmaceutics, logistics and industrial production. Together with regional partners like the province, the professional universities and companies we formed Agrifood capital to work on entrepreneurship, innovation and skills and Pivot Park as a pharmaceutical High-tech campus. We worked on Sustainable Development Goal 4 (education), 8 (jobs) and 9 (innovation) with our economic policies. Specifically, on SDG 2 (feeding the world) and 12 (smart consumption and production) with Agrifoodcapital and on SDG 3 (better health) with Pivot Park.

Your coalition set the goal of becoming an energy neutral city by the mid-century. Could you tell us about the initiatives such as “Sustainability circle” or the Energy Saving Agenda that help Oss reach ambitious long-term environmental goals?

Oss started by setting clear goals on SDG 7: 50% energy use reduction or private sustainable energy production (sun panels on roofs etc), 25% sustainable energy production and 25% procurement of sustainable energy by participating in national projects. It is hard: but we wanted to start with specific projects instead of safe far away ambitions. The first plans in realising windmills are taking shape, the first plans on solar energy on farmland are emerging. At the same time, we set up a garbage plan: reduce, reuse and recycle to work on SDG 12. A lot of time was spent on getting public awareness and involvement.

Oss was chosen in 2017 and 2018 as most inspiring Global Goals municipality in the Netherlands by VNG. In your opinion, what is exemplary in your approach and what helped you win this title?

Because Oss is so diverse, we have a lot of complex challenges to deal with. But they also cover almost all Global Goals. We have this method: define an ambition, look for allies, set an agenda and work on activities. We involve schools and entrepreneurs and if possible, people from Oss. The SDG s broaden our horizon, provide a language everybody understands and a sustainable strategy. We are not only working for us for today, but also for our children and their future.

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