Although the uptake of the SDGs has been "slow and difficult" thus far, an OECD study of seven comparative case studies indicates the alignment of development co-operation to SDG results is possible.
The report also identifies two critical factors and one game changer: support for country leadership by the international community; development partners to "change their set-ups" in order to deliver on the SDGs; and resetting long-term strategies and rethinking internal systems.
How can policy makers and development co-operation managers best support the achievement of the SDGs? The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) explores this question and identifies six actions in a publication titled, Achieving SDG Results in Development Co-operation: Summary for Policy Makers.
The report highlights that, while integrating the SDGs into development co-operation can accelerate the achievement of development results, uptake of the SDGs has been “slow and difficult” thus far. Nonetheless, through seven comparative case studies, the report illustrates that the alignment of development co-operation to SDG results is possible. The case studies are conducted in Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Kenya, Myanmar, Peru, Samoa, and Uganda.
Based on the case studies, the report identifies obstacles policy makers and development co-operation managers face in integrating the SDG framework into their work along with solutions that helped them increase their focus on the SDGs. The report presents the following six actions as strategic steps to help development co-operation leaders, managers, and policy makers manage the transition successfully:
- promote the achievement of SDG results from the top;
- invest in organizational transformation needed for the SDGs;
- adapt SDG alignment strategies to each country context;
- support countries in SDG mainstreaming efforts;
- invest in country-led SDG data to jointly monitor progress towards the SDGs; and
- build partnerships with others around specific SDG results.
In regard to promoting achievement from the top, the report suggests that leaders should widely communicate the purpose and benefits of SDG alignment across their organization. At the same time, management should set clear SDG results for the organization and use the information on SDG results to improve strategic management at all levels.
In regard to organizational transformation, the report identifies the need for leadership to provide guidance, incentives, and resources to support changes in management processes that will allow use of the SDGs as a road map for an inclusive and sustainable recovery. Such investments will increase the organization’s managerial focus on long-term outcomes and its capacity to work across sector silos, which the report highlights is “essential for addressing the complex development challenges ahead.”
On SDG alignment with country context, the report indicates partner countries should lead the alignment with SDG results at country level, and alignment processes should be coordinated with country-led initiatives at national, sector, or subnational levels.
On SDG mainstreaming, the report suggests joining forces with partner governments in realigning national or sector policies, financing and monitoring systems around SDG results. It emphasizes the importance of inclusive and participatory approaches to ensure broad ownership and sustainability.
On country-led SDG data, the report suggests using country-led data for joint monitoring of progress, and avoiding the collection of SDG data that only meet internal domestic reporting and accountability needs.
On building partnerships around specific SDG results, the report highlights the need to join with others in co-designing, co-financing, analyzing, monitoring, implementing, and evaluating development programmes in support of specific SDG results.
The report also identifies two critical factors and one game changer. The critical factors are the need for country leadership to be supported by the international community and the need for development partners to “change their set-ups” in order to deliver on the SDGs.
The “game changer” is for governments and development partners to reset their long-term strategies and rethink their internal systems. The report suggests that the changes that have come with the COVID-19 pandemic have provided such an opportunity to use the SDG framework collectively as a roadmap to recovery. [On-line report][Case studies: Ethiopia, Kenya and Myanmar, Peru, Samoa, Uganda (Bangladesh is forthcoming)]