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Source: Small Island Developing States

July 2019: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) released the 2019 edition of its report on policy coherence for sustainable development (PCSD) as input to the July 2019 meeting of the High-level Political Forum (HLPF). In line with SDG target 17.14 that calls on all countries to “enhance PCSD as a key means of implementation,” the report finds that the essential building blocks of a robust PCSD system for SDG implementation are in place in many countries, but alignment with the principles and nature of the 2030 Agenda can be strengthened.

The OECD defines PCSD as an “approach and policy tool that supports the integration of the economic, social, environmental and governance dimensions of sustainable development across all stages of policy making, facilitating integrated approaches to proposed solutions for the SDGs.” It also notes that PCSD aims to foster synergies, reduce trade-offs, and address transboundary and inter-generational impacts, while promoting partnerships and collaboration.

The report titled, ‘Policy Coherence for Sustainable Development 2019: Empowering People and Ensuring Inclusiveness and Equality,’ was published on 12 July 2019, as part of the OECD’s contribution to the July 2019 session of the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) under the auspices of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). It comprises sections on: coherent approaches for empowerment, inclusiveness and equality; institutional approaches to PCSD; tracking progress on PCSD; and partnerships for coherence.

The report shows that to successfully address SDG interactions, an integrated approach to policymaking is required, as well as strong and inclusive governance mechanisms. It also reveals that there is no-one-size-fits-all approach for ensuring coherent SDG implementation; instead, countries need tailored solutions that take into account the national context, administrative set-up and political traditions.

Per the report, enablers needed to facilitate governments’ efforts to enhance PCSD can be categorized in three main areas:

  • a strategic vision for achieving the SDGs, underpinned by a clear political commitment and institutional leadership to enhance policy coherence for sustainable development;
  • effective and inclusive institutional and governance mechanisms to address policy interaction across sectors, and align actions between levels of government; and
  • a set of responsive and adaptive tools to anticipate, assess and address domestic, transboundary and long-term impacts of policies.

On monitoring and reporting to collect evidence on the benefits of policy coherence, the report indicates that countries are struggling to set national targets and indicators for policy coherence that account for country circumstances and priorities. It notes that the OECD framework for tracking progress on PCSD at the national level suggests that countries need to consider three interrelated elements of the policy making cycle: (i) institutional mechanisms; (ii) policy interactions (synergies and trade-offs); and (iii) policy effects “here and now,” “elsewhere” and “later”. It further highlights a number of indicators from different disciplines that countries can use to capture these elements as they relate to specific SDGs.

On partnership, the report refers to the Multi-stakeholder Partnership for Enhancing Policy Coherence for Sustainable Development (the ‘PCSD Partnership’), facilitated by the OECD, to encourage better and more coherent policies. It provides an overview of partners’ experiences in implementing PCSD. [Publication: Policy Coherence for Sustainable Development 2019 Empowering People and Ensuring Inclusiveness and Equality] [Brochure on report]

MIL OSI Asia Pacific News