Annex A. Case studies on whole-of-government coordination and policy coherence

Czech Republic: An overarching framework for sectoral, regional and local strategies

In the Czech Republic, the Agenda 2030 is coordinated by the Sustainable Development Unit in the Ministry of the Environment and continuously consulted at the Government Council on Sustainable Development (GCSD). The Council is chaired by the Vice Prime Minister and Minister of the Environment and made up of representatives of ministries, Parliament, the private sector, trade unions, academia, civil society and regions and municipalities, and is divided into thematic committees. The work of the Council is supported by its Secretariat, which is currently based in the Sustainable Development Unit.

Strategic planning

The Strategic Framework Czech Republic 2030, adopted by the Government in 2017 is the main reference document outlining the national vision of the SDGs in the Czech Republic. It guides the work of the Council and the Secretariat; it defines long-term objectives in the social, environmental and economic pillars of sustainable development, as well as in governance, global development and regions and municipalities. It sets forth 97 specific goals aimed at improving people’s wellbeing, and it serves as an overarching framework for sectoral, regional and local strategies (Government of the Czech Republic, 2017[1]).

In 2018, the Government adopted another two important documents. The Implementation plan of the Strategic Framework Czech Republic 2030 includes 277 measures and more than 300 recommendations for fulling the 97 specific goals. Implementing the Agenda 2030 in Czech Republic, in turn, assesses the SDGs’ relevance in the internal and external dimension, sets responsibilities to the relevant targets (at the ministerial level), defines interlinkages between the 2030 Agenda and Czech Republic 2030, and sets the key (and general) measures for the fulfilling the SDGs in the Czech Republic that goes beyond the Czech Republic 2030 scope.

Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have been involved closely throughout the planning and design of the SDG process. The drafting of the Strategic Framework Czech Republic 2030 has been carried out in close co-operation with ministries, local and regional authorities, Parliamentary representatives and a wide range of other stakeholders, including civil society, the private sector, academia and labour unions (Government of the Czech Republic, 2017[1]). Even though the coordination function has been moved out of the Government Office, it will still be important that such engagement activities continue.

Leadership on the 2030 Agenda and inter-ministerial coordination

(i) The Centre of Government as a leader of the 2030 Agenda

The need for whole-of-government coordination was enshrined in the Strategic Framework Czech Republic 2030, which states that the government should strive for “coherent/ interconnected policies for sustainable development that communicate with the whole society (including all sectors), stemming from the objective division of the decision-making power.” The Secretariat of the Government Council on Sustainable Development was at its creation in 2003 located in the Office of the Government, and then moved in 2006 to the Ministry of the Environment. However, with only one staff member committed to the coordination efforts, the Environment Ministry faced significant capacity constraints. Hence, in 2014, the Secretariat was transferred back to the Office of the Government, given that the SDG agenda requires a strong political mandate, coordination and analytical capacities, and the Government Office was seen as the most appropriate institutional home to manage the coordination during the agenda’s preparatory phase. The Ministry of Environment backed this move in order to better to respond to the cross-sectoral nature of the sustainable development agenda in 2014. With the Prime Minister leading, there was a clear structure and mandate to coordinate the overall and whole-of-government approach to the SDGs and to engage meaningfully with line ministries, other levels of government, Parliament and civil society stakeholders.

(ii) Housing the coordination of the SDGs in a line ministry

In April 2018, however, the SDG secretariat was moved back to the Ministry of the Environment. Whilst acknowledging the strengths of the Government Office’s coordinating role, Czech stakeholders also recognised that there were certain challenges to having the Centre of Government lead the SDG implementation process including, for example, the risk posed by changes in political priorities of the Prime Minister, and unstable ownership of the agenda across electoral cycles. Motivations for this change also included the view that the Czech Centre of Government had too many cross-sectoral responsibilities, and that other ministries also have strengths that could benefit the sustainable development agenda.

(iii) Coordinating the SDGs with other government strategies

Beyond the need for cross-government coordination, domestic policy coherence on the SDGs requires that government strategies clarify the link, to the extent possible, between the priorities and vision of the government and the SDG targets. While respective Czech ministries are expected to take the lead in aligning their sectoral strategies with the SDGs, the Strategic Framework Czech Republic 2030 highlights that all the SDGs and most of the targets of the SDGs are applicable at the national and regional levels. Nevertheless, there remains a significant challenge in ensuring the SDGs are perceived as an overarching strategic framework given the existing 150 government strategies, and, at least at the sub-national level, coordination remains a particular challenge.

Monitoring and identifying the impact and relevance of strategies as they relate to the SDGs is also important. A current challenge is that the IT systems between different offices (including, importantly, the Statistical Office) are not compatible. Furthermore, many of the strategies are too general to have meaningful indicators attached to them, and few strategies have implementation plans. Finally, there is a lack of capacity at the regional level to track the SDGs.

(iv) Integrating the SDGs into day-to-day management government processes

Beyond the alignment of the country’s strategies, coordination of such a comprehensive cross-sectoral agenda such as the SDGs, with their horizontal and vertical dimensions, requires significant human resource capacities within ministries, no matter where the institutional coordination lies. Yet, there is little evidence to date to suggest that the SDGs have been integrated into the day-to-day management processes across government in the Czech Republic.

Egypt: A strategic governance framework backed by political commitment

The Government of Egypt has embarked on an ambitious reform agenda to achieve key strategic objectives for the country’s growth and development by 2030. The Government has demonstrated a strong commitment at the highest political level to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. This commitment has been translated into a strategic framework through the national strategy “Sustainable Development Strategy: Egypt Vision 2030” (SDS), which is Egypt’s first-ever sustainable development strategy and which guides ongoing reform efforts.

Whole-of-government strategic planning and implementation

Egypt Vision 2030 covers economic, social and environmental dimensions of the SDGs and provides a strategic framework to ensure that all development programmes and projects contribute to advancing the SDGs. In order to implement the SDS effectively, a number of coordination mechanisms have been created to foster institutional collaboration and to mainstream the SDGs successfully into national and subnational policies across sectors.

Chief among them, the National Committee for Monitoring the Implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals has been established by prime-ministerial decree to act as an inter-institutional body responsible for monitoring the implementation of the SDGs. The composition of the National Committee has evolved since its creation in December 2015 to include stakeholders across different institutions. While the Committee was initially comprised of eight institutions based on the original decree, it is currently composed of representatives of 17 ministries and state entities, ensuring a more inclusive approach.

The draft law entitled “State Public Planning Law” proposes to establish a “High Council for Planning and Sustainable Development”, under the leadership of the President of the Republic and with the membership of the Prime Minister and all relevant ministries in order to strengthen the coordination between different stakeholders, and monitoring and evaluation of the SDGs. The High Council for Planning and Sustainable Development is expected to replace the existing National Committee for Monitoring the Implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals once it enters into force. Furthermore, sustainable development units and working groups have been established in different ministries to enhance inter-institutional coordination on SDG implementation. Equal Opportunity Units have been established across different ministries in order to mainstream gender considerations and SDG 5 across all policy areas.

Regarding vertical coordination and coherence across government levels, governorates are represented through the Ministry of Local Development in the National Committee. There is currently a Parliamentary proposal for the establishment of a subcommittee comprising the 27 governorates to monitor implementation of the SDGs.

Despite progress, there is room to continue to strengthen vertical and horizontal coordination. In particular, it is essential for Egypt to further institutionalise and formalise the structure of the existing National Committee and the planned High Council by further clarifying their competences, meeting frequency, working mechanisms and follow-up channels. Furthermore, it is also critical to institutionalise SDG and equal opportunity units across all ministries with coherent, clear and effective mandates, structures and responsibilities for their effective contribution towards the pursuit of the SDGs.

In Egypt, as in many of the OECD countries, Centre of Government (CoG) institutions are best positioned and equipped to lead the SDG implementation efforts. The existing institutional framework governing the implementation of the SDGs underlines the importance for the Ministry of Planning, Monitoring and Administrative Reform and the Ministry of Finance to steer the pursuit of the SDGs through enabling a whole-of-government approach. The ongoing efforts to establish a High Council for Planning and Sustainable Development under the leadership of the President and with the membership of the Prime Minister demonstrate the necessity to involve the offices of Prime Minister and President among the CoG institutions leading the SDG implementation.

Finland: Institutional mechanisms to ensure whole-of-government SDG implementation

Finland has been at the forefront of developing and adopting institutional mechanisms to coordinate, consult and work across different policy areas and thereby foster policy coherence for sustainable development (PCSD). It has incorporated the SDGs into long-term strategies, key legal documents, policies, as well as monitoring, reporting and evaluation mechanisms. The Finnish government has established SDG-aligned budgeting, refined regulatory impact assessments, coordination mechanisms and instruments to engage with a broad range of stakeholders and local authorities to promote the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.

Whole-of-government vision and coordination

The Government’s implementation plan for the 2030 Agenda, submitted to Parliament in February 2017, provides the framework to translate Finland’s international commitment to SDG implementation into concrete action. The plan sets out three key principles for implementation: long-term action and transformation, policy coherence and global partnership, and ownership and participation. Since the adoption of the 2030 Agenda, the Government has incorporated the SDGs into strategies and reports in the areas of development, foreign and security policy, and other policy sectors such as taxation, finance, trade, migration and agriculture (OECD, 2017[2]; 2018[3]; PMO Finland, 2017[4]).

Led by the Prime Minister’s Office, an inter-ministerial network supports horizontal coordination between line ministries. The National Commission on Sustainable Development (NCSD), chaired by the Prime Minister, strives to integrate the strategic objectives of sustainable development into all sector policies and measures, and supports decision-making for sustainable development nationally and in international co-operation (Figure A ‎A.1. ). The mandate for these mechanisms extends to information sharing, capacity-building and coordination rather than arbitration. Nevertheless, it has been successful in building common understanding and consensus, thus preventing deadlock situations in the administration and in broader society. At the moment, there are more than one thousand commitments to action (OECD, 2017[2]; 2018[3]; PMO Finland, 2017[4]).

Figure A ‎A.1. Main institutional mechanisms, policy documents and key actors for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda in Finland
Figure A ‎A.1. Main institutional mechanisms, policy documents and key actors for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda in Finland

Source: OECD (2018[3]), Policy Coherence for Sustainable Development 2018: Towards Sustainable and Resilient Societies,

All line ministries are required to compile on a yearly basis their policies and measures for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, as part of the Government’s annual report. They are also requested to include information essential to the promotion and monitoring of sustainable development in the yearly budget planning, as well as in their follow-up indicators. Several procedures, which vary from one ministry to another, are in place for identifying trade-offs and synergies. However, it is recognised that trade-offs are often very difficult to reconcile even when identified, since they entail politically sensitive issues and deep-rooted ideological differences. Many of the conflicts are therefore addressed and eventually solved at the political (ministerial) level (OECD, 2017[2]; 2018[3]; PMO Finland, 2017[4]).

The government’s implementation plan is based on the long-term vision, principles and goals set forth in the Society’s Commitment, which extends until 2050. It intentionally has a long-term perspective to urge intergenerational debates and considerations. The plan defines several key actions, such as more closely aligning foresight activities with SDG implementation, developing competence among government officials, and creating conditions for long-term work.

The Prime Minister's Office has conducted roadshows at sub-national level to increase awareness and commitment of cities and regions in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. To foster effective implementation of the SDGs at all levels, cities and towns are involved and actively engaged in the NCSD in the form of operational commitments to sustainable development under the Society’s Commitment framework (OECD, 2017[2]; 2018[3]).

Identification of priorities to strengthen policy coherence in SDG implementation

In its 2030 Agenda implementation plan, the government commits to explore the use of a sustainable development impact assessment tool to identify systematically the unintended effects of policies. The existing impact assessment process for bill drafting will be improved to ensure better alignment with the SDGs and to enhance coherence between actions undertaken at national and global levels. Steps will also be taken by the Prime Minister's Office in 2018-2019 to include sustainable development impact assessment in key policy and legislative motions. The national follow-up system includes indicators on transboundary and intergenerational issues, which can be used to inform decision-making (OECD, 2017[2]; 2018[3]).

Finland has identified a number of priorities to strengthen policy coherence in SDG implementation. In accordance with the 2030 Agenda, the Finnish Government strives to identify vulnerable groups in and outside of Finland at risk of being left behind and adjust policies according to their needs. This includes an overall assessment to clarify the roles and responsibilities of all line ministries contributing to effective SDG implementation through Finnish foreign policy. To ensure a broad perspective on sustainable development and coherent practices, procedures and policies, SDG implementation efforts are also incorporated into the performance targets of all ministries, agencies and organisations under their purview.

In addition, Finland promotes the 2030 Agenda and sustainable development at regional and global level via its active participation in organisations such as the Arctic Council, the Council of the Baltic Sea States, and the Nordic Council of Ministers as well as via its work within the European Union (OECD, 2018[3]).

After commissioning a gap analysis (the Avain2030 project) to identify challenges and best practices of sustainable development in Finland, the first report was published in 2016. Based on international comparisons and stakeholder views, the project assessed the baseline of Finland for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. Whereas the report highlighted Finland’s serious international commitment to sustainable development, green growth and circular economy, it also pinpointed deficits in policies on social inequality and employment, consumption of natural resources, and climate change more generally (Lyytimäki et al., 2016[5]).

In particular, the availability of robust indicators continues to be a concern for the effective monitoring and evaluation of progress on SDG implementation. While the UN Expert Group has identified more than 200 sustainable development indicators, not all are applicable or relevant to the Finnish context. The Finnish government has therefore developed its own indicator framework around ten indicator baskets with 4-5 indicators each. It is particularly engaged in the discussions on developing process indicators for measuring progress on policy coherence (PMO Finland, 2017[4]; OECD, 2018[3]).

Indonesia: Aligning national objectives with SDG targets

The government of Indonesia is committed to becoming one of the foremost pioneers and role models to achieve the SDGs. Its involvement in the development of the SDGs began with its appointment as the Co-Chair of the High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons by the UN Secretary General. Indonesia also served as the Co-Chair for the Global Partnership Draft Concept framework document for the Post-2015 Agenda and was one of the 30 countries that served on the Open Working Group on the SDGs.

The role of the Centre of Government in delivering the SDGs

SDG implementation is led by the President, as stated in the Presidential Decree on the SDGs. The Presidential Decree also provides the legal basis for an institutional arrangement that involves all stakeholders, through the establishment of a National Coordination Team. The structure of the National Coordination Team consists of a Steering Committee, an Implementing Team, Working Groups, Experts Team and an SDGs Secretariat.

The SDG Secretariat, which is housed in the Ministry of National Development Planning/Bappenas, was established in 2016 with support from UNDP, DFAT, UNICEF and JICA. It is tasked with laying the groundwork for the implementation and mainstreaming of the SDGs into development planning at the national and sub-national level.

Members of the Implementing Team and Working Groups are representatives of government, philanthropy and business society, civil society organisations, academics and experts to ensure that no one is left behind. This inclusive set-up aims at developing ownership and is implemented at national and sub-national levels.

Four complementary aspects help to ensure policy coherence in SDG implementation

Indonesia has prepared the implementation of SDGs from four various aspects: (i) legal framework; (ii) institutional arrangement; (iii) programme substance; and (iv) financing. Together, they form a unified approach that is coherent and mutually complementary in order to achieve the SDGs in Indonesia. From the aspect of the legal framework, the basis for coherent coordination is provided by the Presidential Decree for SDGs achievement in Indonesia. This Presidential Decree regulates the institutional arrangement; implementation strategy for the SDGs and targets in Indonesia; monitoring, evaluation, and reporting; financing; and coordination between national and sub-national governments.

The institutional aspect is also outlined also in the Presidential Decree. This coherent coordination is based on the principle of inclusiveness and leaving no one behind and is being applied at both the national and sub-national levels. The Presidential Decree has also become the legal basis for the alignment of SDG targets with the national development agenda, as outlined in the 2015-2019 Government Development Plan (RPJMN). Even before the SDGs were declared, the Government of Indonesia had accommodated major SDG targets in its 2015-2019 medium-term plan, with sustainable development being one of the issues mainstreamed throughout. This reflects an effective alignment of the global development agenda with Indonesia’s national development plan, which has been established, not only at the national level but also at the sub-national levels, for example, in Riau Province. Coherent coordination, through multi-stakeholder involvement, has been applied, among others, in the process of developing Indonesia’s SDG indicators, as well as formulating guidelines for metadata and for the preparation of action plans.

Coherent coordination between the government and non-state actors is still facing the challenge, however, of establishing synergies between the programmes of the government and non-state actors. Another challenge is the development of alternative SDG financing mechanisms at both the national and sub-national levels (Government of Indonesia, 2018[6]).

Japan: A high-level coordination mechanism for joint-up SDG implementation

Japan has made the promotion of policy coherence in SDG implementation a key priority in its efforts to translate the 2030 Agenda into its national policies. Japan’s most notable innovation is the SDGs Promotion Headquarters, which has contributed considerably to the effective coordination of Japan’s national and international policies on sustainable development.

Strategic orientation by the Centre of Government

The SDGs Promotion Headquarters holds meetings twice a year to review and decide on the strategic orientation on sustainable development, as well as SDG-related policies and projects. Its central position within the Cabinet helps to foster close co-operation among the relevant governmental agencies and supports information sharing (OECD, 2018[3]). Coordination through the Headquarters allows the Japanese government to take a whole-of-government approach and to identify how different sectoral policies can better reinforce each other in support of the overall government objectives. A new national strategy, the Implementation Guiding Principles, includes national priorities and indicators for sustainable development that form the basis of the SDGs Action Plan 2018 and the SDGs Action Plan 2019, which describe the major SDG projects that Japan is implementing. (OECD, 2018[3]; Government of Japan, 2017[7]).

The Government of Japan is taking an integrated approach to solving issues related to the economic, social and environmental dimension of sustainable development, and fosters interactions and synergies among eight identified priority areas. These areas are: (i) Empowerment of all people; (ii) Achievement of good health and longevity; (iii) Creating Growth Market, Revitalization of Rural Areas, and Promoting Technological Innovation; (iv) Sustainable and Resilient Land Use, Promoting Quality Infrastructure; (v) Energy Conservation, Renewable Energy, Climate Change Countermeasures, and Sound Material-Cycle Society; (vi) Conservation of Environment, including Biodiversity, Forests and Oceans; (vii) Achieving Peaceful, Safe and Secure Societies; and (viii) Strengthening the Means and Frameworks of the Implementation of the SDGs (OECD, 2018[3]; Government of Japan, 2017[7]; 2016[8]).

Guiding principles for coherent SDG implementation

To ensure that decision-making considers long-term implications of sustainable development, the Government of Japan has developed the SDGs Implementation Guiding Principles that set out Japan’s long-term vision, priority areas, implementation principles, implementation framework and approach to the follow-up and review processes with each policy’s indicator. The first follow-up and review of the principles will be conducted in the latter part of 2019 and it allows the Government of Japan to ensure a long-term vision that goes beyond electoral cycles in implementing the SDGs (OECD, 2018[3]; Government of Japan, 2016[8]).

The five principles laid out in the SDGs Implementation Guiding Principles are: i) universality, to consider the SDGs both at the domestic and international level; ii) inclusiveness, to ensure that “no one will be left behind” (UNGA, 2015[9]); iii) a participatory approach, to allow all stakeholders to participate in building a sustainable society; iv) an integrated approach, to address all three dimensions of sustainable development (economic, social and environmental), identify policy interlinkages, and harness synergies; and v) transparency and accountability, to ensure the participation of stakeholders and citizens in the Government’s efforts to implement the SDGs (Government of Japan, 2016[8]).

Recognising the indivisible and interrelated nature of the SDGs and SDG targets, the Government has begun updating its sectoral strategies to foster a more integrated approach across all policy areas. To this end, the Government is currently exploring systemic reforms, and endeavouring to identify and put in place incentives to foster collective action of the ministries and agencies on SDG implementation (Government of Japan, 2017[7]). Despite Japan’s considerable progress in all areas covered by the SDGs over the last decades, the Government sees room for improvement in areas such as poverty, gender equality, energy, climate change, marine and terrestrial resources, and means of implementation (Government of Japan, 2017[7]). Furthermore, while Japan has taken a number of steps to foster policy coherence for sustainable development through the creation of the SDGs Promotion Headquarters and various strategic documents, it could benefit from making its commitment to PCSD more explicit. The Government’s efforts to enhance policy coherence in SDG implementation through the SDGs Promotion Headquarters is highly commendable, and a more proactive use of the existing coordination mechanisms for enhancing policy coherence should be encouraged.

Luxembourg: Coordination mechanisms to ensure internal and external policy coherence

Luxembourg has anchored its sustainable development policy in the Law on the Coordination of National Policies for Sustainable Development from 25 June 2004. The law continues to form the basis of the Government’s institutional structure on sustainable development, establishing a coordination mandate for the minister responsible for sustainable development, an Inter-Ministerial Commission for Sustainable Development, a Special Council for Sustainable Development, and requirements for National Sustainable Development Plans and concomitant implementation reports. Luxembourg’s third National Plan for Sustainable Development is currently under discussion. A draft was presented in July 2018. In the 2017 Voluntary National Review, the Government sees “ensuring the maximum coherence of policies, both internally and externally” as one of the main concerns across all policy fields. Chapter 3 of the Review sets out a Common Commitment that includes stakeholders from civil society, academia and other sectors (Grand-Duché de Luxembourg, Loi du 25 juin 2004, 2004) (OECD, 2018[3]; Grand-Duché de Luxembourg, 2018[10]).

Anchoring and coordination of Luxembourg’s sustainable development plan

The Interdepartmental Commission on Sustainable Development (ICSD), composed of representatives of all ministerial departments, leads the coordination of SDG-related activities through the National Sustainable Development Plan. The Environment Department of the Ministry for Sustainable Development and Infrastructure coordinates national SDG-implementation and chairs the ICSD. The Inter-Ministerial Committee for Development Cooperation (ICD) meets six times a year to identify and discuss trade-offs and synergies and formulate non-binding recommendations to government regarding policy coherence for development. It has adopted a new working method in 2014, involving consultations with civil society on the choice of subjects, analysis and findings. Members of the ICSD participate in the ICD and vice-versa. Besides sharing information and formulating non-binding recommendations to the government, it provides mediation between ministries in cases of disagreement (OECD, 2018[3]; Grand-Duché de Luxembourg, 2018[10]).

The Government’s Inter-Departmental Commission on Sustainable Development supports the integration of sustainable development in sectoral policies, including through the development of the National Sustainable Development Plan. The Government’s Committee for Development Cooperation makes recommendations relating to policy coherence in the development sector. Line ministries can decide on the follow-up on recommendations in their respective fields (OECD, 2018[3]).

Fostering coordinated action at the local, regional, national and international levels is essential for ensuring a coherent implementation of the SDGs. As the level of government closest to the people, regional and local governments are in a unique position to identify and respond to sustainable development needs and gaps. In Luxembourg, many Parliamentarians are also mayors. Local concerns can be raised in Parliament, and mutual exchange of knowledge between the local and national level is a common occurrence. Furthermore, local communities have an opportunity to influence legislation via regular consultation processes. Since the National Plan for Sustainable Development will be implemented at the national as well as the local level, the Government has taken inventory of SDG-related local initiatives to ensure that priorities and policies are well aligned. It has provided a reference guide for local communities based on ISO 37120:2018 on ‘Sustainable cities and communities: Indicators for city services and quality of life’ and the Sustainability Reporting Standards of the Global Reporting Initiative (OECD, 2018[3]; Grand-Duché de Luxembourg, 2018[10]).

The Luxembourgish Government has put in place a number of strategies in line with the 2030 Agenda, including its General Development Cooperation Strategy that covers external policies. The national NGO umbrella platform ‘Cercle de Coopération des ONG de développement’ formulates recommendations on issues related to policy coherence, monitors progress, and encourages action on policy coherence independent of election periods (OECD, 2018[3]; Grand-Duché de Luxembourg, 2018[10]).

Identification of priorities to strengthen policy coherence in SDG implementation

Priorities in terms of policy coherence are identified through regular consultations with civil society. The NGO network also conducts regular assessments, based on which it provides concrete recommendations to the Government. Government staff furthermore participates in expert groups at the EU and OECD levels, as well as in a PCD Community of Practice hosted by the think tank ECDPM, through which inspiration on promising approaches is gathered, and then discussed at an interministerial level, to identify priorities and next steps. The introduction of a mandatory ex-ante sustainability check for draft laws will help to identify key topics on which trade-offs exist and need to be discussed. The interministerial committee responsible for PCD, within the broader framework of PCSD, determines its work plan at the beginning of each year based on these inputs.

Luxembourg’s Committee for Development Cooperation can identify and address potential transboundary and intergenerational effects ex-ante. Once identified, the Committee discusses unintended effects and formulates unbinding recommendations to government. To strengthen policy coherence and better understand potential national and transnational effects of policies on sustainable development, the government plans to establish a broader sustainability check. The so-called “Nohaltegkeetscheck” will allow for a systematic check of policy impacts across all three dimensions of sustainable development as well as for effects on future generations (OECD, 2018[3]).

The Government’s 2017 implementation report on the 2030 Agenda emphasised the need to strengthen institutional mechanisms to achieve target 17.14 on enhancing PCSD (OECD, 2018[3]; Grand-Duché de Luxembourg, 2018[10]).

Paraguay: A long-term vision and results-based planning

Strategic planning

Since 2014, Paraguay has made substantial progress in setting a long-term vision for the country through its National Development Plan (NDP) “Paraguay 2030”, as well as in enhancing the Centre of Government’s institutional and technical capacity to pursue its implementation. The objectives and goals included in Paraguay 2030 for the most part reflect the 17 SDGs from a national perspective, including the use in some cases of quantitative targets. In addition, the Results-Based Planning System (Sistema de Planificación por Resultados) is the main instrument for applying the NDP. It is worth noting the efforts made since 2016 to align the National Expenditure Budget (PGN) with the NDP and the SDGs.

The role of the Centre of Government in delivering the SDGs

In Paraguay, the Centre of Government supports the President of the Republic and the Council of Ministers. The CoG not only refers to the Presidency itself but includes such key institutions as the Ministry of Finance responsible for the National Budget, and the Technical Secretariat for Economic and Social Development Planning (STP), which plays a key role in developing and coordinating strategic planning. Additional ministries and and institutions such as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Secretariat of the Public Service (Secretaría de la Función Pública - SFP) play an important role in supporting whole-of-government policy coordination across administrative silos. However, the fragmentation of the Executive branch, the numerous institutions at the Presidency and the existence of limited coordination instruments for high-level policy discussion and decision-making will make SDG implementation a challenge (OECD, 2018[11]).

An important step in building institutional arrangements to translate the SDGs into national strategy and achieve a close alignment of Paraguay’s National Development Plan with the SDGs was the creation of the Inter-institutional Commission for the Implementation and Monitoring of the Sustainable Development Goals in 2016. Coordinated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and consisting of a representative of the Ministry of Finance, the Technical Secretariat for Economic and Social Development Planning and the Social Cabinet of the Presidency of the Republic, the Commission constitutes an unprecedented initiative in Paraguay. The Commission is in charge of the implementation, follow-up and monitoring of the country’s commitments within the framework of the SDGs and supports decision-making for sustainable development.

Slovak Republic: Whole-of-government coordination as a core governance principle

The Slovak government resolution on the National Agenda of the SDGs sets out a number of principles for its implementation, including principles relating to, inter alia:

  • Inclusion. The national strategy should be based on a broad consensus involving all stakeholders over the longer term.

  • Indivisibility. The plan should therefore be reflected in the development and investment plans of central government bodies as well as regional and local development.

  • Policy coherence. The national strategy should be used as a tool for finding synergies between public policies and potentially contribute to policy coherence across the public sector.

  • Vertical synergies. The national strategy calls for the right balance to be found between competencies at the level of state, regional and local authorities.

  • A whole-of-government approach. The national strategy should enable a whole-of-government approach to the implementation of the SDGs as outlined in the OECD’s 2015 Public Governance Review.

  • Open governance. The national strategy should support the principles of open government.

  • Evidence-based policy. Ensuring that the implementation of the national strategy is based on relevant, verifiable and comparable data.

  • Value-for-money. Activities should ensure value for money.

Strategic planning and coordination

With these principles, the Government of the Slovak Republic has recognised the need for whole-of-government coordination as one of its core governance principles. As in many OECD countries, the Slovak Republic has placed the responsibility for overall coordination of the 2030 Agenda at the national level within the Centre of Government. The SDG mandate was assigned to the Deputy Prime Minister’s Office (DPMO) in 2016, as part of its efforts to strengthen strategic planning across government. The DPMO is responsible for ensuring “strategic planning and strategic project management in the area of investments including the development of a national strategic investment framework as well as the coordination of investment projects designated by the Government of the Slovak Republic”.1

Ministries’ engagement in the centrally managed coordination process is mixed. Some ministries and agencies are fully engaged in the SDG implementation process. The Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs (MoFaEA), for instance, issued an official document “Outline for Implementing Agenda 2030” (March 2016), which clearly underscores the need for cross-government coordination. Other ministries, however, have yet to integrate the SDGs into their planning strategies and into their day-to-day management practices.

To foster institutional and coordination arrangements on the SDGs, institutional changes in day-to-day behaviour within and between ministries, at all levels of government is key and could include such incentives as training opportunities, using collaboration as a criterion to evaluate performance, and developing communication strategies at all levels of the administration. In the Slovak Republic, the performance evaluation framework for civil servants includes assessing the degree to which individual employees collaborate across administrative silos; however, it does not apply in annual performance evaluations, which could encourage behavioural change, nor does it yet include yet internal communications strategies to support further cross-ministerial understanding on the need to coordinate in the implementation of the SDGs.

Slovenia: Preparing the National Development Strategy 2030

In 2015, the Slovenian Government initiated a process of preparing its National Development Strategy 2030, together with its Vision 2050, focused on the implementation of the Sustainable Development Agenda. In preparing its long-term strategic direction, Slovenia established an integrated policy framework for sustainable development that helped ensure that policies are coherent internally, as well as with its international commitments and priorities for achieving the SDGs.

The process in Slovenia was designed in three phases. The first phase presented the strategic direction-setting. The second phase, focused on strategic direction, translating the new vision into strategic priorities and designing actionable goals and measurable targets. The third phase, started in autumn 2017, focuses on effective implementation and monitoring of the new national strategy on a government-wide basis and is ongoing.

Strategic whole-of-government direction-setting

Phase 1, conducted over eight months, involved establishing and coordinating different project stakeholder groups, undertaking the analysis, organising a workshop to engage in a strategic conversation and creating a draft vision statement. A horizontal group drawn from across ministries and the Institute of Macroeconomic Analysis and Development of Slovenia, supported a coordinated, whole-of-government approach to the project, for example, by reviewing the draft vision statement. Furthermore, a group drawn from across Slovenian society advises the project team on the process and the legitimacy of those involved, particularly the workshop attendees and those participating in public consultations on the draft vision statement.

A range of analyses were undertaken to support development of the vision, including 27 interviews with people from across government, business, and civil society to identify their aspirations for Slovenia, what opportunities they thought existed for the country, and the challenges facing it. In addition to the interview process, other analytical inputs included:

  • Current situation analysis. This analysis provided a comprehensive review of Slovenia’s current performance in relation to other OECD members in key areas, including the economy, finance, well-being, education, health, and sustainability. In doing so, it highlighted the country’s current strengths and challenges.

  • Developing a measurement framework. This analysis compared and contrasted the well-being frameworks of the OECD and the Slovenian Government to develop a tailor-made measurement framework for the national development strategy.

  • Stress testing. This analysis developed methods of better anticipating future disruption and challenging contexts.

  • Long-term analysis. This analysis developed long-term conditional projections based on modelling by the Slovenian Government and the OECD. These projections provide a sound assessment of where business-as-usual would take the country.

Drawing on the analyses developed by the task forces and the synthesis of the interviews, participants at the three-day workshop engaged in a strategic conversation to start to generate elements to be incorporated into a draft vision statement. About 50 workshop participants were selected to represent a cross-section of Slovenian society. The workshop was designed based on best-practice principles in strategic foresight visioning. Key components of the workshop were:

  • Museum of the future. This space profiled the analysis produced by the task forces as well as other relevant materials related to the Slovenia’s past, present and future. It helped participants to become familiar with the rich material produced in the different groups as a constructive way to have courageous and meaningful conversations about Slovenia’s future.

  • Prioritising vision elements. Building on the insights and reflections from the exhibition and the preparatory interviews and task forces, participants were taken through a process to identify and prioritise a set of elements that the vision would contain.

  • Improve system maps. Going beyond the listing of individual elements, participants then helped build a system diagram to explore how these elements would interact to deliver the greatest impact.

  • Seeing the void. Based on the outcomes of the previous conversation, participants self-organised in to small groups to work on seeing the void (i.e. identifying concrete actions and initiatives for change that could help Slovenia move toward the vision).

  • Stress-testing the vision. A variety of global and regional scenarios, megatrends and disruptive shocks were used to test the draft vision 2050. These contextual elements were prepared by the task forces. This exercise and the reflections in plenary further shaped the vision and, as perceived by the group, made it more robust.

  • 2030 goals. Finally, and building on the insights generated through the workshop, participants identified some ideas for 2030 goals what would bring about the vision.

The workshop was also used to create a draft vision statement. This statement was structured around five themes (quality of life, trust, education, innovation and Slovenian identity), including an explanation of the improvement system map and key 2030 goals to be considered as part of development of the measurement framework. In addition, it included the analysis of the task forces, the interview synthesis and a report of the workshop processes and outcomes.

The statement was drafted to be used as a starting point for a number of wider public consultations across the country in parallel with engagement of ministries to develop a vision that can act as a framework for the national strategy. Engagement mechanisms include a series of regional consultation workshops, a public opinion survey on the quality of life and a web-based consultation process aligning the strategic goals of the vision and a quality-of-life measurement framework, debriefings and reflections with horizontal and futures group members, cross-ministry workshops, a government retreat session and a consultation session with all the Parliamentary parties.

This vision statement was redrafted based on these further consultations and then made public in February 2018. The delivery of the vision statement concluded Phase 1. However, it remains important to continue to use the anticipatory advantages of foresight to stress-test the vision, identify the strategic priorities and guide the development of the new overall strategy.

Translating the vision into measurable goals and indicators

In phase 2, the draft workshop vision was shared and discussed in a series of public consultations around the country and within ministries. This process led to a new National Development Strategy for 2030 meant to support the vision statement.

Phase 2 was divided into two steps. The purpose of the first step was to translate the vision statement into strategy priorities and goals, in line with the SDGs, with the aim of developing a National Development Strategy. The SDGs are being integrated in the ongoing preparation of the new Slovenian National Development Strategy 2030. Each of the strategic directions was discussed in thematic workshops, involving all ministries. They were then used to agree on a draft set of strategic goals and to complement these with implementation orientations and indicators to quantify and monitor progress in pursuit of the vision. The final set of goals was agreed on after further consultations with high-level government officials and the final set of indicators and the targets to be reached by 2030 was finalised in spring 2017.

The second step involved the development of a baseline long-term scenario building on the quantitative indicators assembled in the first step. These indicators are crucial to assess where the Slovenian economy currently stands relative to other countries in areas of strategic importance to the population, providing a benchmark against which long-term objectives can be set.

The long-term projection also serves as a baseline to examine different policy scenarios designed to help the authorities identify policy packages that can best achieve the multiple goals pursued under the National Development Strategy. More specifically, the analysis involves the identification of win-win policies that can contribute to boosting productivity and jobs while ensuring more sustainable development, both from an environmental and social/inclusive perspective. The analysis also highlights policy trade-offs, while providing insight on ways to mitigate and alleviate them. The integration of economic and environmental variables draws upon the work carried out under OECD’s horizontal projects on Inclusive Growth and the OECD Green Growth Strategy.


[6] Government of Indonesia (2018), Indonesia Voluntary National Review, (accessed on 14 December 2018).

[7] Government of Japan (2017), Japan’s Voluntary National Review Report on the Implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals,

[8] Government of Japan (2016), The SDGs Implementation Guiding Principles,

[1] Government of the Czech Republic (2017), National Report on the Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, Office of the Government of the Czech Republic Government Council for Sustainable Development, Prague,

[10] Grand-Duché de Luxembourg (2018), Luxembourg 2030 - 3rd National Plan for Sustainable Developpement (draft).

[5] Lyytimäki, J. et al. (2016), Agenda 2030 in Finland: Key Questions and Indicators of Sustainable Development, Prime Minister’s Office of Finland, Helsinki.

[11] OECD (2018), OECD Public Governance Reviews: Paraguay: Pursuing National Development through Integrated Public Governance, OECD Public Governance Reviews, OECD Publishing, Paris,

[3] OECD (2018), Policy Coherence for Sustainable Development 2018: Towards Sustainable and Resilient Societies, OECD Publishing, Paris,

[2] OECD (2017), Policy Coherence for Sustainable Development 2017: Eradicating Poverty and Promoting Prosperity, OECD Publishing, Paris,

[4] PMO Finland (2017), Government Report on the Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Sustainable Development in Finland – Long-term, Coherent and Inclusive Action, (accessed on 13 February 2018).

[9] UNGA (2015), A/70/L.1: Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,


← 1. Article 34 a/sub-section 3 of Act no. 575/2001 on the Organization of Government Activities and the Organization of the Central State Administration (Act of Competencies).

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