HLPF Side Event Discusses Policy Coherence in SDG Implementation
Photo by IISD | Lynn Wagner
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The OECD has identified eight building blocks that are needed for policy coherence: political commitment and leadership; integrated approaches to implementation; intergenerational timeframe; analyses and assessments of potential policy effects; policy and institutional coordination; local and regional involvement; stakeholder participation; and monitoring and reporting.

Participants discussed experiences and mechanisms that could promote policy coherence for sustainable development, including tax reform and identification of co-benefits between the climate and SDG agendas.

18 July 2017: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the Government of Luxembourg organized a side event during the 2017 session of the High-level Political Forum (HLPF) on the theme, “Policy Coherence as a Means for Addressing Dilemmas in SDG Implementation.”

OECD Deputy Secretary-General Doug Frantz said the OECD is committed to supporting countries at all stages of implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Ebba Dohlman, Senior Advisor, Policy Coherence for Sustainable Development (PCSD), OECD, highlighted eight building blocks for policy coherence: political commitment and leadership; integrated approaches to implementation; intergenerational timeframe; analyses and assessments of potential policy effects; policy and institutional coordination; local and regional involvement; stakeholder participation; and monitoring and reporting.

Luxembourg’s Minister for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs, Romain Schneider, said his country had reactivated an interagency committee and given it a mandate for policy coherence issues. He also noted that civil society has been an active observer on all issues of policy coherence.

El Salvador’s Vice-Minister for Development Co-operation, Jaime Miranda, said El Salvador is one of 15 countries that has been selected for a pilot project for accelerated SDG implementation. Miranda informed that El Salvador has linked national plans with monitoring and indicators and will reform its tax system, among other mechanisms to promote policy coherence.

WRI’s Global Director for Climate, Paula Caballero, asked how we can ensure that our efforts today do not create the conditions that will generate tomorrow’s poverty?

Paula Caballero, Global Director for Climate, World Resources Institute, said that, while countries are linking their climate and SDG agendas, we need a better understanding of the co-benefits of both agendas, including for job creation and public health. She noted that natural capital accounting needs to be at the heart of SDG implementation, the financial and corporate sectors are seeing that climate change alters risk management, and continued investment should be made for human capital to prepare projects. She stressed that the Paris Agreement on climate change and the SDGs are about shifting mindsets and changing how we frame problems, and highlighted that decisions we make in the next few years on infrastructure will determine the development trajectory for decades to come. In this regard, she asked how we can ensure that our efforts today do not create the conditions that will generate tomorrow’s poverty?

Jan Moström, President and CEO, LKAB Sweden, noted his company’s efforts to have the lowest carbon footprint for iron ore production, and said the incentive driving his company to achieve this goal is to remain competitive. He said governments can reduce the timeframe for achieving carbon-free production processes by supporting related technology development efforts.

Debapriya Bhattacharya, Chair, Southern Voice, noted that the change from a focus on policy coherence for development (PCD) to PCSD represents a new paradigm. He said the Voluntary National Review (VNR) guidelines barely mentioned how countries should reflect the coherence issue, and said these guidelines need to be reviewed and a space should be created for how systemic issues are affecting countries.

Charlotte Petri Gornitzka, Chair, OECD’s Development Assistance Committee (DAC), said that changing mindsets is at the heart of what the DAC needs to do, and emphasized the need to build credibility with partners. She said the total official support for sustainable development (TOSSD) measure will provide more information on flows in addition to ODA for development, and she added that we will be able to crowd in the investment sector when we can demonstrate data on the impacts of such investments.

Marion Barthelemy, Director, Division for Public Administration and Development Management (DPADM), UNDESA, stressed that integration will be supported when heads of state and government are engaged. She also noted that efforts to promote coherence should extend to parliaments, budgets, and civil servants, and highlighted that Supreme Audit Institutions (SAIs) are reviewing SDG readiness within countries.

Carole Dieschbourg, Minister for the Environment, Luxembourg, stressed the importance of a whole of government approach, a new narrative, and identification of co-benefits.

The side event was followed by an interactive learning session, facilitated by Måns Nilsson, Stockholm Environment Institute, on the interaction scoring method developed for its report titled, ‘A Guide to SDG Interactions: From Science to Implementation.’ [IISD Sources] [OECD Policy Coherence for Development Side Event agenda (with link to webcast)][SDG Knowledge Hub story about SAI meeting on SDG preparedness audits]


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