UNDP Releases Guidance on Mechanisms for SDG Implementation
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The UNDP released a guidance note offering insights on how to facilitate integration and coherence in SDG implementation.

The note makes recommendations on how to adapt or establish mechanisms and institutions and shares country experiences.

18 December 2017: The UN Development Programme (UNDP) released a guidance note on integration and coordination mechanisms for implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The note provides information on how countries have adapted or established institutional and coordination frameworks to implement the Goals, and highlights efforts to promote horizontal and vertical coherence.

The document titled, ‘Institutional and Coordination Mechanisms: Guidance Note on Facilitating Integration and Coherence for SDG Implementation,’ finds that many countries are adapting and expanding institutional frameworks established during the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) era, such as national councils for sustainable development (NCSDs), for SDG implementation. The note recommends that such institutions should be positioned within the office of the president or prime minister to ensure effective coordination, and should include some form of decentralization, whether by ensuring representation of local focal points in the NCSD or through establishing sub-national bodies. An annex to the note shares country experiences from Germany, Indonesia, and Nigeria.

On new mechanisms and structures, the guidance argues that the scope and ambition of the SDGs requires systems that facilitate cross-sectoral action and shared accountability that traverses ministries, agencies, levels of government and stakeholders. The note shares how countries have created inter-ministerial commissions to oversee SDG implementation, established high-level inter-ministerial committees to bring together sectoral working groups, and established inter-sectoral thematic working groups, or requested ministries to identify their SDG-related responsibilities. Country experiences from Botswana, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ghana, Pakistan, the Philippines, and Sierra Leone illustrate how countries have created new institutional frameworks to implement the SDGs.

The note identifies the functions of an inter-ministerial commission for sustainable development. They include: operating as an advisory body on the SDGs; developing or coordinating implementation strategies on the SDGs; engaging with key stakeholders; developing a national monitoring framework and national indicators; reviewing the SDGs and targets; recommending financing measures for SDG implementation; and preparing for regional and global dialogues on SDG implementation.

The guidance also discusses allocation of responsibility among various levels of government, emphasizing that sub-national and local governments are often responsible for implementation. The note recommends governments promote vertical coherence and integration across government levels by creating explicit institutional links between sustainable development strategies and federal and sub-national processes. The note further recommends, inter alia: maintaining two-way communication; including partners from outside government with local expertise; and matching devolved responsibilities with funds and revenue-raising powers.

Additional sections of the guidance note address, inter alia: promoting an integrated cross-sectoral approach, drawing from national institutions to implement climate interventions; addressing challenges related to SDG monitoring and reporting; and engaging stakeholders. The note underscores the role of parliaments in SDG implementation through their legislative, oversight, and budgetary functions. The document elaborates on opportunities for parliaments to ensure no one is left behind, promote gender equality, support the rights of persons with disabilities, and engage youth populations.

The publication concludes with recommendations on questions countries should consider when adapting or establishing institutional frameworks for SDG implementation. These questions focus on: designation of a key institution to oversee SDG implementation; high-level support for the institution; the institution’s mandate to oversee and coordinate SDG implementation; a sustainable development road map or strategy with clear roles and targets; mechanisms to foster horizontal and vertical coordination; stakeholder engagement; access to decision-making and inclusion of marginalized groups; and mechanisms for arbitration of conflicting views. Finally, the note proposes key structural factors that countries should consider when setting up an institutional mechanism for SDG implementation.

UNDP intends for the note to be a living document that will be updated based on feedback and lessons learned from ongoing SDG implementation. [Publication: Institutional and Coordination Mechanisms: Guidance Note on Facilitating Integration and Coherence for SDG Implementation]

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