Debate the Issues: New Approaches to Economic Challenges

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To capitalise on the new international resolve epitomised by COP21 and the agreement on the universal Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) requires a renewed effort to promote new policy thinking and new approaches to the great challenges ahead. Responding to new challenges means we have to adopt more ambitious frameworks, design more effective tools, and propose more precise policies that will take account of the complex and multidimensional nature of the challenges. The goal is to develop a better sense of how economies really work and to articulate strategies which reflect this understanding. The OECD’s New Approaches to Economic Challenges (NAEC) exercise challenges our assumptions and our understanding about the workings of the economy. This collection from OECD Insights summarises opinions from inside and outside the Organisation on how NAEC can contribute to achieving the SDGs, and describes how the OECD is placing its statistical, monitoring and analytical capacities at the service of the international community. The authors also consider the transformation of the world economy that will be needed and the long-term “tectonic shifts” that are affecting people, the planet, global productivity, and institutions.

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Co-ordination and implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals: The role of the centres of government

A principal issue for governments with respect to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is how to align policies in practice given the breadth and complexity of the SDGs and their 17 goals and 169 targets, the mixed track record of most governments in working horizontally, and the need to include an unprecedented range of public and private actors in both policy formulation and implementation. The different phases bring with them very specific challenges. For example, adapting global targets to national contexts and setting targets at department level is a delicate, political task that requires careful and sensitive negotiation in order to ensure an inclusive process with real buy-in from key stakeholders both within and beyond government. Implementing the SDGs is a formidable governance challenge that needs to be steered. In recognition of this challenge and as a shift in thinking since the last set of global goals were agreed, the SDGs underscore the importance of building effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels (Goal 16) as a foundation for achieving the desired outcomes from ending poverty, to improving health, and combating climate change and its impacts.

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