OECD Issues Recommendation on Coherent SDG Implementation

OECD Issues Recommendation on Coherent SDG Implementation

The following is a re-posted article from IISD. Original article posted on the IISD SDG knowledge Hub and written by Catherine Bensen Wahlen.

In December 2019, The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) released a Recommendation on Policy Coherence for Sustainable Development (PCSD), which provides a response to demand for guidance on the “how” of coherent SDG implementation. The Recommendation focuses on essential enablers to facilitate governments’ efforts to enhance PCSD.

The ‘Recommendation of the Council on Policy Coherence for Sustainable Development’ represents a joint proposal from the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee (DAC) and Public Governance Committee (PGC), and is a revision of the OECD Council’s 2010 Recommendation on ‘Good Institutional Practices in Promoting Policy Coherence for Development,’ to respond to the universal commitments made under the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs. The need to enhance PCSD is underlined in SDG target 17.14 on means of implementation for the Goals.

The new Recommendation, which was adopted on 11 December 2019, draws on DAC peer reviews and PGC country experiences, as well as lessons learned by OECD through more than 20 years in promoting policy coherence. It can be tailored to adapt to specific national capacities and realities.

The Recommendation sets out three pillars for promoting PCSD:

  • a strategic vision for implementing the SDGs, underpinned by a clear political commitment and leadership;
  • effective, inclusive governance and institutional mechanisms to address policy interactions across sectors and align actions across levels of government; and
  • responsive, adaptive tools to anticipate, assess and address policy impact.

On vision and leadership, the Recommendation promotes political commitment and leadership to foster whole-of-government action and define priority areas, time-bound action plans and key performance indicators for progress on PCSD. It also recommends crafting a strategic long-term vision to orient government and stakeholders to the SDGs and support policy coherence, and policy integration to capitalize on synergies across economic, social and environmental policies.  The Recommendation further calls for systematically applying a poverty, gender and human rights perspective to PCSD frameworks.

On policy interactions, the Recommendation calls for whole-of-government coordination to mitigate divergence between sectoral policies and priorities, and for subnational engagement to promote coordinated action and enhance coherence. The Recommendation suggests using high-level coordinating mechanisms to promote PCSD and integration of sustainable development across central agencies, line ministries and other public institutions. In addition, the Recommendation highlights the role of stakeholder engagement in sustaining broader support for PCSD and its implementation.

To achieve impact, the Recommendation suggests adopting ex-ante and ex-poste impact assessment practices, with an emphasis on economic, social, gender and environmental impacts and human rights. The Recommendation highlights the role of monitoring, reporting and evaluation in building capacity and skills for data collection, collecting evidence on the impact of policies and financing, reporting progress on PCSD, and embedding a policy coherence dimension in evaluation systems.

Alongside the Recommendation, OECD released an online toolkit to help users design policy coherence strategies and implement the Recommendation according to their national circumstances. The toolkit includes a self-assessment checklist, examples of good practices, and tools for countries to analyze, enhance and track progress on policy coherence in SDG implementation.

The Recommendation instructs the DAC and the PGC to serve as a forum for information exchange on its implementation, and it mandates the DAC and PGC to report to the OECD Council on the Recommendation’s implementation five years from its adoption and every ten years thereafter.

OECD developed the 2019 Recommendation through an inclusive process that included five rounds of consultations and an online public consultation. [Recommendation webpage] [Publication: Recommendation of the Council on Policy Coherence for Sustainable Development] [Recommendation flyer] [PCSD toolkit] [SDG Knowledge Hub story on OECD’s PCSD report