Chapter 1. Aligning policy coherence for development to the 2030 Agenda

Soria Morales Ernesto

Taking action to address the potential negative effects of policies, while at the same time supporting development objectives, has been the main focus of policy coherence for development (PCD). More recently, with the adoption of the 2030 Agenda, all UN Members – including OECD countries – have committed to enhance policy coherence for sustainable development (PCSD). This chapter explores briefly the experience of OECD countries over the past ten years in putting in place institutional mechanisms for promoting PCD. It attempts to identify general lessons and good practices that could be relevant for building institutional mechanisms for coherence that are better adapted to the vision and needs of the 2030 Agenda, and for shifting from PCD towards PCSD. The analysis herein is informed by desk-based research and by the experience of the OECD-PCD Unit in working with some members and partners on how to apply PCSD in the implementation of the SDGs.



In today’s interconnected global economy, policies in one country can have negative effects on the development prospects of other countries. Taking action to avoid negative impacts, while at the same time supporting development objectives, has been the main focus of policy coherence for development (PCD). PCD seeks to avoid situations in which Official Development Assistance (ODA) supports another country’s agricultural development, while simultaneously undermining its export opportunities through tariffs or subsidised agricultural production in the provider country.

OECD Members have formally signed international commitments to enhance PCD through its membership in the Organisation. With the 2008 Ministerial Declaration, they reaffirmed their “strong commitment to PCD and stress(ed) its importance in achieving the internationally-agreed development goals…”. They also resolved to “ensure that development concerns are taken into account across relevant policies” (OECD, 2008). Most OECD countries now have in place institutional mechanisms for PCD in accordance with the 2008 Declaration as well as the 2010 Recommendation of the Council on Good Institutional Practices in Promoting Policy Coherence for Development. PCD is a key pillar of the OECD Strategy on Development, endorsed by OECD Ministers in 2012.1 With the Strategy the approach to PCD is evolving to better respond to the new realities of the global context.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, call on all countries to “pursue policy coherence and an enabling environment for sustainable development at all levels and by all actors”. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) include a target (SDG 17:14) on the means of implementation to “enhance policy coherence for sustainable development” (PCSD). An indicator to track progress on SDG 17:14 has been agreed by the UN Statistical Commission as part of the global monitoring framework for follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda. This indicator (17.14.1) aims to capture the “Number of countries with mechanisms in place to enhance policy coherence for sustainable development” (UN ECOSOC, 2016).

This chapter explores briefly the experience of OECD countries over the past ten years in putting in place institutional mechanisms for promoting policy coherence for development. It looks at the assessments by the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee (DAC) Peer Reviews on PCD from 2005 to 2016 as well as other reports from the OECD and EU. It also draws on the lessons learnt from the work of the OECD Strategy on Development on PCD which has led to the development of the PCSD Framework introduced in Chapter 2. It attempts to identify general lessons and good practices that could be relevant for building institutional mechanisms for coherence better adapted to the vision and needs of the 2030 Agenda. The analysis in this chapter is informed by desk-based research and by the experience of the OECD-PCD Unit in working with some members and partners on how to apply PCSD in the implementation of the SDGs.

The challenge of policy coherence for development

Enhancing PCD is a persistent challenge in international development as well as in effective governance. Governments – mainly DAC Members – have sought to meet that challenge by setting up institutional mechanisms and processes to manage often competing policy objectives and interests. These mechanisms are known as the PCD Building Blocks: i) political commitment and policy statements that can help translate commitment into action; ii) policy co-ordination that can resolve conflicts or inconsistencies between policies; and iii) systems for monitoring, analysis and reporting on the impacts of policies to provide evidence to inform decision-making (OECD, 2009). The purpose of these mechanisms is to ensure that domestic and foreign policies support, or at least do not undermine, the development aspirations of developing countries.

Since 2003, DAC peer reviews have assessed practices to promote PCD in DAC Members. More recently – since 2010 – the reviews look in particular at the extent to which DAC Members have the necessary three PCD Building Blocks in place, and how they work.2 Practice varies from country to country depending on their governance processes, political dynamics, institutional setup, administrative culture and working methods. There is no “one size fits all” formula for promoting PCD, and the three building blocks do not have to proceed at the same speed. In some countries, for example, co-ordination may well be more advanced than one would expect from the level of political commitment to PCD (OECD, 2008).

All OECD members are in principle and on paper committed to PCD through the 2008 Ministerial Declaration and, in several cases, through their membership in the EU.3 A quick look at the trends in DAC peer reviews over the last ten years shows that there has been growing awareness and political support as well as an increasing number of institutional mechanisms in place for PCD (Table 1.1).

Table 1.1. PCD Building Block in OECD DAC Members

The Member country has implemented the PCD Building Block in accordance with the 2008 Declaration and 2010 Council recommendations.

The Member country is making efforts to implement the PCD Building Block.

The Member country has not yet implemented the PCD Building Block.

* Recent information on PCD efforts in these countries is taken from the questionnaires on contributions from Member States for EU-PCD Report 2015.

In general, the experience has shown that institutional mechanisms have been instrumental to raise awareness and build commitment, but are not sufficient to achieve results. The strong commitment on PCD by DAC members sharply contrasts with the perception that progress in terms of policy efforts or changes has been limited over the last decade. According to the Commitment to Development Index (CDI), OECD countries’ policies in seven key areas that affect poor countries, notably aid, finance, technology, environment, trade, security, and migration did not change much in the ten years between 2003 and 2013 (Krylova, 2014).

According to recent Peer Reviews, some of the key aspects that impede progress include the weak understanding and ownership of the PCD concept within administrations, parliaments and the public. They also include the lack of: time-bound action plans with shared objectives for the whole government; clear mandates for institutions responsible to arbitrate and balance divergent policy interests; and analytical capacity and sound monitoring systems and indicators to track progress and inform decision-making. A general overview of the country experiences in promoting PCD, as well as the challenges are highlighted in the following sections.

Translating commitment to action requires a better understanding of PCD

Over the past ten years, nine OECD Members (e.g. Belgium, Denmark, France, Italy, Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal, Sweden and Spain), as well as the EU, have enshrined the principle of policy coherence for development in their laws (Box 1.1).

Box 1.1. Making legal commitments to PCD

Belgium – Policy coherence for development is rooted in the 2013 Federal Law on Belgian co-operation and humanitarian aid, and is supported by a joint declaration common to both the federal and federated governments.

Luxembourg – The amended law of 2012 on development co-operation refers explicitly to policy coherence for development, and the mandate of the inter-ministerial committee has been broadened to cover policy coherence aspects.

Spain – The 1998 International Development Co-operation Act defines that the principles laid out in the law “will inform all policies applied by public administrations within the framework of their respective competencies that may affect poor countries”.

Sweden – In 2003 the Swedish Parliament endorsed the Policy for Global Development making equitable and sustainable development the shared responsibility of all ministries and placing PCD at the centre of the development policy. In October 2014, Sweden’s new Coalition Government announced a re-launch of the Policy for Global Development to take account of Agenda 2030.

Similarly, a number of Members have made PCD an explicit priority in their development programmes, including Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the UK (Box 1.2).

Box 1.2. Making policy coherence an explicit priority

Austria – PCD is clearly referred to in the Federal Act on Development Co-operation and is at the core of the Three-Year Programme on Austrian Development Policy 2013-2015. Policy coherence for development is also an explicit objective in the government’s Work Programme 2013-2018.

Ireland – The Irish government renewed its commitment to policy coherence for development in its policy for international development, One World, One Future. At the EU level it has been active in promoting a more systematic approach to this issue in line with the commitments made in the Treaty of Lisbon (Article 208).

New Zealand – The International Development Policy Statement commits New Zealand to ensuring policy coherence in areas such as trade, migration, investment and the environment, with international development commitments and goals. New Zealand developed in 2014 the Policy Statement and Action Plan on PCD. The action plan includes a focus on inter-agency policy dialogue and establishes a prioritised PCD agenda.

A clearly stated commitment is a precondition to operationalise policy coherence. Equally important are having a shared vision of what PCD aims to achieve, identifying specific objectives and providing guidance on how to proceed across the administration. DAC peer reviews indicate that the concept of PCD has been hard to grasp for policy makers across members’ governments (OECD, 2009). On one hand, aid managers tend to associate coherence mainly with aid policy and activities. On the other hand, officials in line ministries do not necessarily understand how the development perspective is relevant for other domestic policy areas, nor why international development objectives should take precedence over domestic objectives.

In Austria, for example, there is a general perception among federal ministries that PCD is about co-ordinating development co-operation policy and interventions (OECD, 2015b). The 2010 DAC Peer Review for Japan noted the weak understanding of the difference between the coherence of aid-related activities and the coherence of other policies, i.e. non-ODA policies (including those related to domestic policies and other official flows) (OECD, 2010b). In Luxembourg, the notion of PCD is understood as promoting a coherent approach to development co-operation, or pertaining to the European level only. The Luxembourg authorities consider that purely domestic policies in such a small country have little or no impact on developing countries, compared to common European policies (OECD, 2012e). In the US, the peer review team noted in 2011 that there was often confusion between achieving coherence in delivering the aid programme and ensuring that US domestic and other foreign policies are consistent with, and support, development efforts (OECD, 2011d).

There is currently no single agreed definition of PCD. The notion of PCD is difficult to communicate to other policy communities beyond development, because the focus is not always clear: Is it about policy-making processes? Or institutional mechanisms? Co‐ordination of governments’ external actions? Policy efforts or impacts? The objectives are frequently vague and unclear. PCD is politically difficult when the underlying assumption is that development co-operation or international development objectives take priority over other domestic policy objectives. Ministries in any one policy area do not want to be subordinate to any other ministry or policy area. As a consequence, there is a compelling case for clarifying and increasing awareness of the relevance of domestic policies to the well-being of people in other countries, and of the benefits for all of promoting sustainable development.

Translating political commitment into concrete action requires time-bound action plans with clearly identified objectives that encompass all policies of the government, as pointed out in many DAC peer reviews. Several DAC Members have identified a limited number of thematic priorities for PCD. Some Members have developed action plans which are often aligned with the five strategic challenges for PCD defined by the EU (trade and finance, climate change, food security, migration, and security). However, in some cases there is no clear guidance on how different line ministries should apply policy coherence on these issues. The 2012 Peer Review for Finland, for instance, noted that relevant ministries should be given responsibility for addressing these priority areas, and that Finland could design up-to-date guidance for each area that would identify responsibilities, objectives and tools, including for monitoring and analysis (OECD, 2012d).

Specific mandates are needed to ensure an effective interface between policies

Most OECD members have in place policy co-ordination mechanisms. In several cases, these mechanisms have been established to specifically promote PCD (Box 1.3). Some mechanisms are informal; others provide systematic screening of legislative proposals for development impacts, or have dedicated policy coherence units.

Many of the policy co-ordination mechanisms have existed for years and can be important tools to improve PCD – especially when clear mandates exist to address development issues. This is particularly true in those countries that adopt a whole-of-government approach to policy-making. In Australia, for example, a systematic, whole-of-government approach is well established with the Cabinet being the highest level decision-making committee. Development issues are discussed in a range of consultative mechanisms and inter-departmental committees, such as the Development Steering Committee, the G20 Policy Sub-Committee and the Post-2015 Development Agenda Interdepartmental Committee (OECD, 2013b).

In some cases, mechanisms are established for dealing with specific priority areas. The UK, for example, takes a practical case-by-case approach to PCD, bringing together different parts of government to work effectively at home and abroad. They focus on issues of common interest, such as anti-corruption, climate change and trade, areas where the Cabinet has engaged strategically, and where the Department for International Development (DFID) has promoted joint efforts with other departments. However, the latest peer review has noted that the lack of a comprehensive approach means overlooking potential incoherence in other policy areas. Opportunities might also be missed for stakeholders to provide evidence on and solutions to problems of incoherence (OECD, 2014d).

Box 1.3. Strengthening policy co-ordination mechanisms

Belgium – Belgium is creating a new institutional set-up for policy coherence for development. These consist of i) an inter-ministerial conference headed by the Prime Minister; ii) an interdepartmental committee of Federal ministries, Regions and Communities; iii) an advisory body, and iv) a secretariat charged with monitoring these entities.

Germany – BMZ is responsible for promoting policy coherence for development across the German government and the EU. Together with the Ministry for Environment, it has been steering the post-2015 process within government and with external stakeholders. Having a seat in Cabinet allows BMZ to scrutinise every policy from a development perspective; its recent strengthening makes it even better equipped to analyse the effects of domestic policies on developing countries.

Portugal – Portugal’s Inter-Ministerial Commission for Co-operation mandate has been broadened to include addressing policy coherence for development as well as co‐ordinating the development programme. The Commission has also started to meet at the highest political level strengthening its leverage across government.

Switzerland – Switzerland’s Inter-Departmental Committee on Development and Co‐operation (ICDC) has been strengthened and entrusted with the task of identifying potential conflicts of interest between Swiss international co-operation and the sectoral policies of individual federal departments. The number of interdepartmental bodies is also increasing; to date, 33 cover policy areas which have an impact on developing countries.

United Kingdom – The former co-ordination system of public service agreements has been phased out and cross-government objectives are now included in departmental business plans. This approach brings together different parts of government to work on selected issues of common interest.

Specific co-ordination mechanisms for PCD are essential to ensure that development considerations are taken into account in inter-ministerial deliberations and in policy-making process. However progress is difficult to achieve without specific mandates to address domestic policies, deal with policy divergences or tensions, and resolve conflicts of interests. In Ireland, for example, according to the last peer review, there are no clear processes for managing trade-offs between competing policy priorities. While the InterDepartmental Committee on Development has a mandate to address issues of PCD, it is not using fully its potential as a channel for alerting the government to possible policy conflicts and resolving tensions (OECD, 2014a).

Spain has put in place three commissions to facilitate co-ordination between ministries, autonomous entities and non-governmental actors. However, they have only limited ability to address domestic policies that are considered harmful for or supportive of developing countries. The latest peer review has noted that Spain will need to give the policy coherence and co-ordination bodies a mandate to address domestic policies, finalise the prioritisation of coherence issues, and revise the methodology for reporting to parliament if it wants to achieve PCSD (OECD, 2016b).

Similarly, Luxembourg has expanded the mandate of the Inter-ministerial Committee on Development Co-operation: the amended law of 2012 expands its functions to include PCD. However, the committee’s role and mandate is purely advisory: it cannot therefore manage trade-offs or exercise control (article 50). In the face of divergent views, trade-offs will be managed, either by the Minister of Co-operation or by the Council of Ministers. In practice, the inter-ministerial committee, which is chaired by the co-operation director, gives priority to ensuring proper co-ordination of development co-operation programmes (OECD, 2012f).

In Sweden, the last peer review noted that existing co-ordination mechanisms can have difficulty dealing with conflicts of interests between development policy and Sweden’s other policies. Current examples include Sweden’s arms exports to developing countries considered undemocratic and tensions between bioenergy production and food security. The peer review also calls into question the transparency regarding how these conflicts of interest are managed. The MFA has highlighted these difficulties in its two reports to the Riksdag on Sweden’s Global Policy on Development (OECD, 2013e).

Monitoring systems need to be strengthened to influence policy change

Capacity for monitoring, analysis and reporting – the third PCD building block – remains the main challenge for DAC members according to most peer reviews. Five OECD members have specific PCD monitoring systems in place (Box 1.4). However, in some cases these systems are not fully utilised for screening domestic policies that could adversely affect development in other countries or regions. Many recent peer reviews have pointed to a lack of analytical capacity, or inadequate use of existing analytical capacity.

Box 1.4. Building capacities for analysing, monitoring and reporting

Germany – Germany reports progress on policy coherence for development at the national and European levels. A section on progress in making policies development-friendly is included in the report that BMZ presents every four years to the Federal Parliament. The Federal Government’s four-yearly progress report on the sustainable development strategy and the biennial indicator report prepared by the Statistical Office also help monitor progress.

Norway – The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has established annual routines for evaluating and reporting on the coherence of Norwegian policy as part of its budget proposals to the Storting.

Spain – Spain set out a PCD Unit to strengthen its capacity to analyse the coherence of its policies. The PCD unit co-ordinates the network of focal points and provides expertise in managing and analysing coherence for development within the government. The Unit can also draw on the expertise of the Development Co-operation Council and the findings from analyses conducted with partner governments when drafting the Country Partnership Frameworks. Together with the network of focal points, it prepares a biennial report for the Development Co-operation Council and parliament with input from the PCD Commission.

In Germany, according to the 2015 Peer Review, the reports on PCD are not frequent enough to be effective in enhancing consistency across various German policies, such as its advocacy for phasing out EU export subsidies to agricultural products. The Peer Review has noted that Germany would gain from more systematically communicating its efforts and learning from results (OECD, 2015d).

In the case of Norway, there is no clear evidence that the reports have inspired actual changes in policies. According to the last peer review, the reports are about stocktaking based on self-reporting and without measurable indicators to track progress, or address impact. The Government considers preparing the annual report as an important objective as well as a means to encourage further debate among decision-makers and the public more generally. Nevertheless, the reports, co-ordinated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, are subject to agreement among all ministries, which may result in the critical issues not being addressed. The reports have been criticised by the Norwegian civil society for being “too self-congratulatory and not critical enough” (OECD, 2013d).

Spain is one of the DAC members with all three building blocks in place: a legal basis for PCD; co-ordination mechanisms with specific mandates for addressing policy coherence, including a dedicated Unit for PCD; and the obligation to report on PCD biennially to the parliament and the public. The latest peer review of Spain notes that the specialised PCD unit does not have a clear mandate to analyse “beyond aid” policies or to encourage others to do so. As a consequence, the biennial report to parliament is more descriptive than analytical, and there is no clear system either for screening domestic policies that could adversely affect developing countries or for identifying priority issues (OECD, 2016b). As a consequence, neither the Report nor the monitoring system for PCD can inform decision-making from a whole-of-government perspective.

Making PCD operational raises important questions of measurement: What are the concrete outcomes that policy coherence aims to achieve? What needs to be measured: policy commitments? changes in policies? policy efforts? or policy interactions? Or should one be measuring the effects or impact of policies on global development or developing countries? An analysis on the use of PCD indicators in a selection of EU Member States by ECDPM has highlighted that there is still a significant confusion when it comes to PCD monitoring (van Seters et al., 2015). Without clear indicators policy, coherence efforts lack solid foundation on which to advance.

New efforts are underway in Spain, and collaboration with the OECD’s PCD unit to update the methodology and develop progress indicators should help Spain design proper analytical tools and strengthen its monitoring and reporting systems (OECD, 2016b). Some preliminary recommendations included: updating the definition of policy coherence; aligning PCD efforts to the 2030 Agenda; developing workable indicators for measuring overall progress towards cross-government objectives; and identifying different agencies’ contributions to policy coherence for sustainable development. An updated definition of policy coherence is fundamental to clarify the dimensions that the new methodology would try to measure. An agreed definition of policy coherence can help policy-makers in line ministries to grasp the concept and better understand how policy contradictions or synergies can be analysed, reported and fed into decision-making.

Moving towards PCSD: What have we learnt from the experience with PCD?

The overall lesson from more than two decades in promoting policy coherence for development is that the PCD building blocks are just a starting point. They: i) set out the essential functions and capabilities needed by countries to consider development issues more systematically in policy-making processes; ii) are organisational concepts which can help improve policy-making systems and increase their capacity to balance divergent policy objectives if translated into structures, processes and methods of work; and iii) focus mainly on the process of policy making, not the substance of policies. The assumption is that the process by which policies are formulated and implemented has a determining effect on substantive policy outcomes and impacts.

While PCD institutional mechanisms will continue to be relevant in the context of the SDGs, they need to be reconfigured to respond effectively to the vision of the new agenda, with mechanisms that: i) fully engage the whole government beyond foreign affairs, development ministries and aid agencies; ii) have the mandate and capacity to manage the diverse interactions between sectoral policies – policy tensions, trade-offs and synergies – and between domestic and international policies; iii) ensure a more systematic consideration of the effects of policies ex ante, during and ex post; iv) involve key stakeholders particularly CSOs and the private sector; and v) mobilise the national installed capacity for strengthening monitoring and reporting systems.

The universal, integrated and transformative nature of the new agenda requires governments to be able to work across policy domains, actors and governance levels. It involves a significant shift in the way PCD is approached:

  • A universal agenda entails recognising that we are no longer in a MDG world divided between donors and recipients. All countries face difficulties in addressing the sustainable development challenges ahead. Actions by governments, international institutions, private sector, and civil society to achieve SDGs and targets need to be adapted to the specific context, capacities and needs of each country.

  • An integrated agenda requires coherent policy-making to ensure a balanced approach to the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development (horizontal coherence). It requires breaking out of sectoral silos and adopting integrated approaches to consider more systematically complex inter-linkages (such as the water-energy-food nexus), trans-boundary and intergenerational impacts, and trade-offs at different policy levels.4 As the SDGs overlap and targets interact, policy coherence is fundamental to ensure that progress achieved in one goal (e.g. water) contributes to progress in other goals (e.g. food security or health).

  • A transformative agenda involves aggregated and coherent actions at the local, national, regional and global levels (vertical coherence). This is critical in an increasingly interconnected global economy where systemic risks have inextricable global-domestic linkages that need to be managed. Some of the sustainable development challenges need to be addressed at the global level (e.g. climate change and other systemic risks); at the national or regional level (e.g. legislative changes, economic transformations needed for climate change mitigation or adaptation, or changes in fiscal and trade policy); and at the local level (e.g. specific details on land use; human settlement patterns, or transportation planning).

Policy coherence in the 2030 Agenda requires bringing in sustainability considerations more systematically in policy-making. Policy Coherence for Sustainable Development (PCSD), as defined by the OECD (see Chapter 2), puts greater emphasis on the effects of policies on the well-being of people in other countries and regions. It builds upon PCD efforts. Given the centrality of sustainable development in the 2030 Agenda, PCSD also focuses on the effects on the well-being of future generations (long-term impacts of policies). There is an increasing recognition that poverty eradication and human well-being will be more challenging in a planet facing natural resource degradation, scarcity and climate change. Domestic and international policies have a key role to play for delivering the economic, social and environmental transformations needed for achieving a more sustainable path.

A new analytical framework based on a clear definition of policy coherence is now needed to embrace the complexity of the new agenda. The OECD, as part of its Strategy on Development has been working to develop a new analytical framework (introduced in Chapter 2) that aims to take into account i) the diverse roles of different actors at different levels (governments, international organisations, private sector and non-governmental organisations), as well as the diverse sources of finance – public and private, domestic and international – for achieving sustainable development; ii) the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development in policy-making, and consider critical policy inter-linkages as well as the complex interface between domestic and foreign policies; iii) the enabling and disabling conditions that influence policy performance and outcomes, iv) the effects of policies on the well-being in any one country (“here and now”), for people living in other countries (“elsewhere”) (i.e. trans-boundary and intergenerational impacts of policy decisions); and v) a long-term perspective for transformation and consider the effects of policies on the sustainable development and well-being of future generations (“later”).

The SDGs and targets, as a set of internationally agreed global priorities, provide a framework to guide policy coherence actions across sectors. Translating the SDGs and targets into actionable, measurable and achievable country-specific targets, requires paying attention to inter-linkages, synergies and trade-offs between policy areas and between different levels of policy implementation (local, regional, international). In this new context, policy coherence provides a useful lens to inform policy-making on how to integrate sustainable development as well as the policy interactions, and to help address potential conflicts upstream in the process. National targets can guide PCSD and mobilise all sectors. As highlighted in Chapter 7, Several OECD Members have started their national processes for aligning national strategies to the 2030 Agenda. These processes are involving all ministries to identify priorities, and integrate the SDGs and targets in their sectoral programmes.

There is a clear recognition now that the implementation of the SDGs goes beyond the responsibility of one line ministry or policy community. It requires the active involvement of all sectors and a wide range of stakeholders that allow for a holistic (whole-of-government/whole-of-society) perspective of the issues at stake. Mobilising whole-of-government efforts requires high-level political commitment; strategic policy frameworks; and effective and well-functioning institutional co-ordination mechanisms. It requires leadership for establishing priorities, planning for longer-term policy objectives, and seeking a balance with short-term problem solving objectives and considerations that often are a priority. It also requires specific initiatives by governments to better integrate the SDGs within the mandate of each national institution. Several OECD Members, as underlined in Chapter 7, have started to update institutional settings and programmes to integrate the concept of PCSD, as well as strengthen co-ordination mechanisms for coherent SDG implementation.

Going forward, there will be a need to develop capacities to track progress at national level in a way that captures the main elements of PCSD, considering but going beyond institutional aspects. Governments need to be able to measure the synergies and trade-offs between economic, environmental and social priorities; evaluate the longer-term implications of current policy decisions; and establish the current state of play as regards sustainable development.

Enhancing policy coherence for sustainable development as called for by the 2030 Agenda and Addis Ababa Action agenda will entail looking at the whole policy-making process from policy priorities, formulation, institutional arrangements and processes for co-ordination to implementation practices at the local, national and international levels as well as transboundary and intergenerational effects. A key element for enhancing PCSD is informed decision making. This requires clear guidance and flexible tools for all stakeholders that can be adapted to the specific circumstances, context and needs of countries. This the purpose of the PCSD Framework introduced in the following chapter.


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← 1. The commitment to policy coherence for development has been reaffirmed in several key OECD documents in the past 20 years, such as: the “Shaping the 21st Century: The Contribution of Development Co-operation” of 1996; the 2002 Ministerial statement “OECD Action for a Shared Development Agenda”; the 2008 Ministerial Declaration on Policy Coherence for Development; the 2010 Recommendation of the Council on Good Institutional Practices in Promoting Policy Coherence for Development; and the OECD Strategy on Development of 2012. International commitments to PCD have also been included in the Millennium Declaration (2000); the Monterrey Consensus (2002); the European Consensus on Development (2005); the Paris Declaration (2005) and Accra Agenda for Action (2008); the EU’s Lisbon Treaty; the outcome document of the 2010 MDG Summit; and the outcome document of the Fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness (2011).

← 2. The 2010 OECD Council Recommendation provides guidance on good practices in promoting policy coherence for development in line with the three PCD Building Blocks. The recommendation emphasises that “well-designed institutional frameworks are fundamental to ensure that the development dimension is taken into account at all stages of policy-making, and to promote coherent, whole-of-government approaches to development”. 

← 3. For Germany, as well as for other EU Member States, the Lisbon Treaty (TFEU) provides the legal basis for the country to promote PCD. The TFEU, art. 208, stipulates that: “The Union shall take account of the objectives of development co-operation in the policies that it implements which are likely to affect developing countries”.

← 4. The 2030 Agenda emphasises that “The challenges and commitments containedin… (all major UN conferences that have laid the foundation for sustainable development) are interrelated and call for integrated solutions. To address them effectively, a new approach is needed. Sustainable development recognises that eradicating poverty in all its forms and dimensions, combatting inequality within and among countries, preserving the planet, creating sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth and fostering social inclusion are linked to each other and are interdependent.”