OECD Outlines Finland’s Efforts on Policy Coherence for Sustainable Development
Photo by IISD | Lynn Wagner
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Finland’s PCSD country profile provides information on the OECD’s eight building blocks for the coherent implementation of the SDGs.

Per the profile, Finland has developed a new national follow-up system that enables stakeholder participation, and an independent assessment of Finland’s sustainable development policy will be conducted in parliamentary election years (every four years), starting in 2019.

18 March 2019: Reporting on Finland’s policy coherence for sustainable development (PCSD), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) notes that following the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, PCSD is becoming a shared responsibility for all governmental bodies.

PCSD is part of SDG target 17.14 (Enhance policy coherence for sustainable development), and is defined by the OECD as an “approach and policy tool to systematically integrate the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development at all stages of domestic and international policy-making.”

Finland’s PCSD country profile, issued by the OECD, provides information on the OECD’s eight building blocks for the coherent implementation of the SDGs. Those are: political commitment and leadership; policy integration; long-term planning horizons; analysis and assessments of potential policy effects; policy and institutional co-ordination; sub-national and local involvement; stakeholder engagement; and monitoring and reporting.

On political commitment and long-term planning, the document states that the 2030 Agenda’s implementation plan submitted to Finland’s Parliament in February 2017 makes an explicit commitment to PCSD, and has a long-term perspective to urge “intergenerational debates” and considerations. It reports that the Government also established an Agenda 2030 Youth Group to further engage young people in political planning, and “help ensure a long-term perspective in decision-making.” The Youth Group comprises 20 young people from different backgrounds and regions.

On policy integration, the profile indicates that several procedures are in place for identifying trade-offs and synergies. It also notes that all line ministries are required to compile their policies and measures for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda as part of the Government’s annual report, and to include information for the promotion and monitoring of sustainable development in the yearly budget planning.

On analysis and assessments of potential policy effects, OECD states that: the national follow-up system includes indicators on transboundary and intergenerational issues; the existing impact assessment process for bill drafting will be improved to ensure better alignment with the SDGs and to enhance coherence between actions undertaken at national and global levels; and steps will be taken by the Prime Minister’s Office in 2018-2019 to include sustainable development impact assessment in key policy and legislative motions.

An interministerial coordination network and a multistakeholder forum have helped prevent deadlocks in the administration.

On policy and institutional coordination, an inter-ministerial coordination network led by the Prime Minister’s Office supports horizontal coordination between line ministries, and the National Commission on Sustainable Development (NCSD), a Prime Minister-led multi-stakeholder forum, seeks to integrate sustainable development strategic objectives into all sector policies and measures, the document says. According to the country profile, these mechanisms have been successful in building common understanding and consensus, and in preventing deadlock situations in the administration and beyond.

On sub-national and local involvement, the document reports that Finland’s Prime Minister’s Office has conducted “roadshows” at the sub-national level to increase cities’ and regions’ awareness and commitment for the 2030 Agenda’s implementation. The authors note that cities and towns are represented in the NCSD.

On stakeholder engagement, the document notes that under the Society’s Commitment to Sustainable Development framework, more than 750 commitments have been made by companies, schools, NGOs, trade unions, political parties, cities and private individuals. In addition, a sustainable development expert panel supports and challenges the work of the government and NCSD, and outlines the work of the Agenda 2030 Youth Group.

On monitoring and review, Finland has developed a national follow-up system to enable stakeholder participation. Beginning in 2019, an independent assessment of Finland’s sustainable development policy will be conducted in parliamentary election years (every four years). Per the country profile, the Prime Minister’s Office, the NCSD and the Development Policy Committee – which monitors and assesses the implementation of Finland’s international development commitments – also co-host an event on a yearly basis to discuss current status and trends, based on sustainable development indicators, data assessment and contributions by experts and civil society.

The OECD’s eight building blocks for the coherent implementation of the SDGs are applicable to countries regardless of their administrative and political traditions, and are detailed further in a report titled, ‘Policy Coherence for Sustainable Development 2018: Towards Sustainable and Resilient Societies.’

In addition to Finland, the OECD has issued PCSD profiles for 20 countries, namely: Austria; Belgium; Czech Republic; Denmark; Estonia; Germany; Greece; Ireland; Italy; Japan; Lithuania; Luxembourg; Mexico; The Netherlands; Poland; Portugal; Slovak Republic; Slovenia; Sweden; and Switzerland. [Finland PCSD Country Profile]

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