OECD Reviews How Policy Coherence for Sustainable Development Can Contribute to Resilient Societies
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The OECD has released the 2018 edition of its report on Policy Coherence for Sustainable Development (PCSD), which discusses ways through which integrated and coherent policies, supported by strong institutional mechanisms, can contribute to the theme of the HLPF 2018.

The report highlights eight building blocks for enhancing policy coherence for sustainable development, namely: political commitment and leadership; policy integration; long-term planning horizons; analysis and assessments of potential policy effects; policy and institutional coordination; subnational and local involvement; stakeholder engagement; and monitoring and reporting.

28 May 2018: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has released the 2018 edition of its report on Policy Coherence for Sustainable Development (PCSD). The report discusses ways through which integrated and coherent policies, supported by strong institutional mechanisms, can contribute to the theme of the July 2018 session of the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF): ‘Transformation towards sustainable and resilient societies.’ The report also reviews eight building blocks for enhancing policy coherence for sustainable development, and identifies emerging good institutional practices drawing on recent OECD work, country surveys and countries’ voluntary national reviews (VNRs).

The report titled, ‘Policy Coherence for Sustainable Development: Towards Sustainable and Resilient Societies,’ notes that enhancing policy coherence is one of the most difficult challenges to implement the SDGs.

Chapter 1 on building coherent approaches to transformation, applies a PCSD lens to identify interlinkages between SDGs 6 (Clean water and sanitation), 7 (Affordable and clean energy), 11 (Sustainable cities and communities), 12 (Responsible consumption and production) and 15 (Life on land), which are being reviewed in-depth during the HLPF 2018. It also explores these goals in terms of challenges, synergies and trade-offs that to be managed to ensure a coherent and effective implementation, and potential policy and governance responses. It notes, for example, that Goals 6, 7, and 15, all related to key natural resources, are necessary to life and a “major foundation of economic activity” and can be affected by ways countries address Goal 13 on climate action. Therefore, it says, they cannot be addressed through sectoral approaches alone.

Chapter 2 applies eight building blocks of the PCSD framework, namely: political commitment and leadership; policy integration; long-term planning horizons; analysis and assessments of potential policy effects; policy and institutional coordination; subnational and local involvement; stakeholder engagement; and monitoring and reporting. The report uses these building blocks as a framework to identify good institutional mechanisms and practices in 20 OECD countries that presented VNRs at the HLPF in 2016 and 2017 (Belgium, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, Luxembourg, Mexico, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland and Turkey). It states that developing a specific time-bound action plan with clear objectives that encompass all government policies helps to translate political commitment into action. Among other cases, it cites Norway, which has developed a plan for national SDG follow-up linked to the budget process, and Switzerland, which has a concrete SDG action plan as part of its Sustainable Development Strategy 2016-2019.

Chapter 3 describes practices and institutional mechanisms that are relevant for enhancing PCSD, by presenting profiles from 19 countries (Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Greece, Japan, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mexico, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland). It notes, for instance, that new directives aimed at incorporating SDGs into the programmes of all ministries in Austria helped to strengthen the commitment to policy coherence across the government. According to the report, profiles draw on responses to a survey that was distributed to members of the informal network of national focal points for policy coherence, which included questions on the eight PCSD building blocks.

Chapter 4 on ‘Tracking progress in policy coherence for sustainable development’ presents a framework for tracking progress on PCSD. The framework is composed of three components: institutional mechanisms to ensure that structures, processes and methods of work are conducive to higher degrees of policy coherence; policy interactions, to examine how sectoral policies in different domains complement each other to achieve a larger goal; and policy effects to consider the economic, social and environmental impacts of policy on sustainable development. It also suggests indicators that are relevant for tracking progress to enhance PCSD from a policy and institutional perspective.

Chapter 5 on aligning domestic and international agendas for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development notes that, while national governments are ultimately accountable to their citizens for delivering on the international commitments, effective implementation of the 2030 Agenda requires collective action and policy coherence at multiple levels.

The report includes contributions from The Brookings Institution, Jorge Moreira da Silva, Director of the OECD Development Co-operation Directorate, and some member institutions of the Multi-Stakeholder Partnership for Enhancing Policy Coherence for Sustainable Development (PCSD Partnership), including: the German Development Institute/Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE); the European Centre for Development Policy Management (ECDPM); IISD; Lady Lawyer Foundation; and Philip Morris International. The PCSD Partnership is a forum for exchange of knowledge and expertise among governments, international organizations, civil society, think tanks, and the private sector on the policy implications of SDG implementation.

PCSD is included in SDG 17 (Partnerships for the goals), under target 17.14 (Enhance policy coherence for sustainable development). [Publication: Policy Coherence for Sustainable Development 2018: Towards Sustainable and Resilient Societies] [PCSD Partnership Website]


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