OECD Recommendation on Policy Coherence for Sustainable Development

Background Information

The Recommendation of the Council on Good Institutional Practices in Promoting Policy Coherence for Development was adopted by the OECD Council on 29 April 2010. The Recommendation was revised by the Council on 11 December 2019 on the proposal of the Development Assistance
Committee (DAC) and the Public Governance Committee (PGC). On this occasion it was renamed the Recommendation on Policy Coherence for Sustainable Development (PCSD).

The revisions aimed at providing a comprehensive instrument to help Adherents equip policymakers with the necessary institutional mechanisms and policy tools to support and promote coherent policies for sustainable development with a view to respond to the universal commitments made under the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals.

OECD’s work on Policy Coherence for Sustainable Development and the need for a standard on Policy Coherence for Sustainable Development

Since the early 1990s, the OECD has been at the forefront of international efforts to promote policy
coherence for development (PCD). The OECD has a strong track record in monitoring policy
coherence efforts in its Member countries through peer reviews. While PCD has traditionally been
seen as the main responsibility of countries that are providers of development co-operation, the 2030
Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted by all United Nations (UN) Member States calls for a
broader approach to policy coherence. The 2030 Agenda states that the SDGs are indivisible, and
that they balance the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development and
calls for no one to be left behind. To help make progress toward this balance, the SDGs include SDG
Target 17.14, which calls on all countries to enhance policy coherence for sustainable development
(PCSD) as an essential means of implementation for all the Goals.

Since the adoption of the 2030 Agenda, the OECD has been working on aligning its approaches to
policy coherence with the principles and nature of the 2030 Agenda, and develop tools and guidance
for implementation in collaboration with the European Union, the UN specialised organisations and
agencies, and other stakeholders. It is also collaborating with UN Environment and OECD Members
to develop methodologies for tracking progress on policy coherence at the global and national levels.
The Recommendation on PCSD responds to the growing demand by OECD Members and non Members to deal with the “how” of coherent 2030 Agenda implementation.

The 2019 revisions of the Recommendation build upon Adherents’ experience in implementing the
2010 Recommendation. It is the culmination of more than 20 years of lessons learned in promoting
policy coherence. As a joint proposal from the DAC and the PGC, the revisions draw on the DAC
peer reviews as well as on country reviews done under the auspices of the PGC.

The 8 Principles for promoting policy coherence

Vision and Leadership
1. Political commitment and leadership
2. Strategic Long Term Vision
3. Policy Integration
Policy Interactions
4. Whole of Government Coordination
5. Subnational Engagement
6. Stakeholder Engagement
Impact
7. Policy and Financing Impacts
8. Monitoring, reporting, and Evaluation

An inclusive process for revising the Recommendation

The 2019 revisions were developed through an inclusive process. It benefited from five rounds of
consultations involving a number of OECD committees and other bodies, including the DAC, PGC,
Regulatory Policy Committee (RPC), Regional Development Policy Committee (RDPC),
Environmental Policy Committee (EPOC), Committee on Statistics and Statistical Policy (CSSP) and
the informal network of National Focal Points for Policy Coherence.

Key stakeholders, including the UN Committee of Experts on Public Administration, UN Environment and the members of the PCSD Partnership under the UN Partnerships for SDGs platform, also provided substantive comments. Consistent with the universal and inclusive spirit of the 2030 Agenda, the OECD launched an online public consultation to reach government officials, civil society organisations, international organisations and interested citizens and stakeholders from all over the world. The public consultation helped to test the relevance and applicability of the guidance and definitions included in the Recommendation on PCSD.

Scope of the Recommendation

The Recommendation focuses primarily on the enablers that are essential to facilitate governments’
efforts to enhance PCSD. It is based on the premise that the ability to consistently develop and
implement coherent policies in all areas is dependent on the processes, systems, structures and tools
used by governments to manage and co-ordinate policy at all levels.

The Recommendation presents eight principles to enhance policy coherence for sustainable
development under three main pillars:
  • A strategic vision for implementing the 2030 Agenda underpinned by a clear political commitment and leadership to enhance policy coherence for sustainable development;
  • Effective and inclusive institutional and governance mechanisms to address policy interactions across sectors and align actions between levels of government;
  • A set of responsive and adaptive tools to anticipate, assess and address domestic, transboundary and long-term impacts of policies.
When implementing the Recommendation, Adherents may tailor the guidance to their specific
national realities and capacities. The principles are mutually supportive and efforts should be made in
each area in order to enhance PCSD.

Support to implementation and dissemination

The Recommendation includes provisions where the Council invites Adherents and the SecretaryGeneral to disseminate it and instructs the DAC and PGC to monitor its implementation in consultation with other relevant committees, in particular, the Regulatory Policy Committee. To that effect, the Recommendation instructs the DAC and PGC to:
  • serve as forum to exchange information on experiences with respect to the implementation of this Recommendation;
  • develop, through an inclusive process, an implementation toolkit, which would include an accompanying guidance note with good practice examples, to help Adherents design their own policy coherence strategies and implement this Recommendation according to their specific national circumstances;
  • make use of existing OECD reviews, such as the DAC peer reviews and the Public Governance reviews, to promote, assist and monitor the implementation of this Recommendation, in order to avoid duplication and increase synergies;
  • report to the Council on the implementation of this Recommendation no later than five years from its adoption and at least every ten years thereafter.
Download the OCED Report here
For further information please consult: www.oecd.org/pcsd .
Contact information: pcsd.contact@oecd.org

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