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Frameworks for action

From Improving Policy Coherence in Scotland

The UN Sustainable Development Goals

Under SDG 17 (Partnership), enhancing policy coherence for sustainable development is a specific target (17.14).

A nuanced understanding of how different policy areas (and SDG targets) interact with one another that can facilitate better policy coherence.

SDG based interactions literature

To be completed.

The OECD Recommendations on Policy Coherence

The OECD Recommendation on Policy Coherence for Sustainable Development (PCSD) is the culmination of more than 20 years of lessons learnt in promoting policy coherence. As a joint proposal from the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) and the Public Governance Committee (PGC), the Recommendation draws on the DAC peer reviews as well as on country experiences in the PGC. It responds to the growing demand by OECD Members and non-Members to deal with the “how” of coherent 2030 Agenda implementation.

The Recommendation presents a set of eight principles for promoting PCSD, which are organised under three main pillars. It calls on Adherents to develop:

  • I. A strategic vision for implementing the 2030 Agenda underpinned by a clear political commitment and leadership to enhance policy coherence for sustainable development.
  • II. Effective and inclusive institutional and governance mechanisms to address policy interactions across sectors and align actions between levels of government.
  • III. A set of responsive and adaptive tools to anticipate, assess and address domestic, transboundary and long-term impacts of policies.

The Recommendation, agreed on 11 December 2019, is available here.

The eight principles, previously known as 'building blocks' are outlined below.

The OECD Building Blocks for Policy Coherence for Sustainable Development (PCSD)

Policy coherence requires a political choice by governments to establish institutional structures and take specific initiatives. Enhancing PCSD in line with the SDGs depends on mechanisms to anticipate, balance and reconcile divergent policies, including: conflicting domestic and international priorities; opposing economic, social and environmental concerns; competing sectoral interests; and reconciling short-term priorities with the long-term policy that is integral to attaining sustainable development.
Elements for tracking progress on PCSD.
Elements for tracking progress on PCSD. Source: OECD PCD Unit, adapted from OECD, 2015
The PCSD Framework developed by the OECD is useful, broad and adaptable to different national contexts. It can be used to frame different actions, recommendations and gaps in relation to enhancing policy coherence across different parts of government and wider society.

The framework encourages countries to focus on three, interrelated elements of the policy coherence cycle: i) institutional mechanisms, to ensure that structures, processes and methods of work are conducive to higher degrees of policy coherence; ii) policy interactions, to examine how policies in different sectors complement each other to achieve a larger goal; and iii) policy effects, to consider the economic, social and environmental impacts of policies on sustainable development “here and now”, “elsewhere” and “later” (see image: Elements for tracking Progress on PCSD).[2]

Within this overarching framework, the OECD identify key elements on which countries need to take action (institutional mechanisms) if they want to ensure coherence of their policies for achieving the SDGs: the Building Blocks for PCSD (See image: Eight Building Blocks of PCSD)

The OECD building blocks illustrate how different institutional mechanisms fit together and can contribute towards higher degrees of policy coherence in terms of:
The OECD building blocks illustrate how different institutional mechanisms fit together and can contribute towards higher degrees of policy coherence
  1. mobilising whole-of-government action;
  2. balancing economic, environmental, and social concerns;
  3. reconciling short- and long-term priorities;
  4. addressing potential negative impacts of domestic policies beyond borders;
  5. ensuring coordinated and mutually supporting efforts across sectors;
  6. involving sub-national and local levels of government;
  7. engaging key stakeholders beyond government;
  8. using monitoring and reporting systems to inform coherent policy making

They posit that there is no particular sequencing, but all eight must be in place for sustained progress towards policy coherence for sustainable development.

Human Rights based approaches

To be completed.

The Well-being Economy

to be completed.