Bringing in new voices to improve policy coherence in Scotland
In October 2019, a new Wiki resource was launched that seeks to collaboratively develop understanding on policy coherence issues, suggest solutions, track progress and stimulate debate. Crucially, this open and editable online resource is for all sectors in Scotland. Read more to find out why and get involved.
Over the past few years the Alliance has been at the centre of a small group of iNGOs taking forward the issue of Policy Coherence for Sustainable Development (PCSD), mainly working with the Scottish Government International development team on thematic areas of where coherence can be improved.
Towards the end of September, Ben Macpherson MSP, Scottish Government Minister for Europe, Migration and International Development, announced that they will be launching a new Inter-Ministerial Group that will take forward the Scottish Government’s commitment to policy coherence for sustainable development. We think this is a big deal, and have been asking for such a group since the publication of our first report on policy coherence back in 2014.
However, policy coherence is about more than international development - it is about making sure that actions taken by one part of government, or sector within society, do not undermine the positive actions taken by others; and preferably, support and reinforce one another.
It is relevant to all sectors of society, all parts of government and is essential for efficiency, achieving the SDGs and for creating a fairer, kinder and greener Scotland. Empahising this point, it is notable that the 2019 theme for the National Advisory Council on Women and Girls (NACWG) - that exists to advise the First Minister on what’s needed to tackle gender inequality in Scotland - is policy coherence.
We think co-creation and collaboration with other sectors is key to improving policy coherence in Scotland. Therefore, this new wiki and the work of the new inter-ministerial group should be shaped by both domestic and international voices if we really want to have a chance of enhancing PCSD in any meaningful way.
Ultimately, improving policy coherence benefits everyone. Whether the ultimate goal is poverty eradication at home or overseas, upholding human rights, a well-being economy, improved environmental protection or long-term economic efficiency, improving policy coherence is critical to ensuring that progress towards one goal is not at the expense of others.
What can you add to this Wiki?
Anything you think might be relevant is worth adding. We have framed our own suggestions thematically (which can be added to or amended) but we have also added a section using the framing of the UN Sustainable Development Goals - any point related to coherence can be added under each of the 17 SDGs.
Do you work on a specific SDG? Have you noticed a glaring incoherence by another sector or government policy that impedes what you do? Or maybe you have noticed that your work is greatly enhanced through the actions of other sectors?
There are also clear gaps around the environmental impact of policies, human rights frameworks and others...
How can you get involved?
Easy. Go to the site and start editing. Every part of the Wiki should be considered a 'work in progress' and can be added to and edited by anyone who visits the site. You can immediately start working on developing any section you wish whenever you want (no wiki experience required), just click on 'edit' on a section you want to add to or amend. You can also add new sections that don't yet exist.
So, check it out, share with others and collaborate openly on how we improve policy coherence in Scotland!