Gurría Angel
OECD Secretary-General

The 2016 edition of Better Policies for Sustainable Development comes at a critical time in the wake of the historic adoption of a new global agenda: “Transforming Our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”. This landmark agreement by Heads of State and Government, to set the world on a path towards sustainable development, recognises the need to look beyond narrow economic measures of progress and consider all aspects of well-being for current and future generations, to eradicate poverty everywhere and safeguard the planet. 2016 is the year of implementation, when words need to be matched by action in ways that change peoples’ lives. Achieving these common goals will require a collaborative partnership involving all countries and all stakeholders.

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which form the core of the new agenda, are an indivisible set of global priorities that incorporate economic, social and environmental aspects and recognise their inter-linkages in achieving sustainable development. The implementation of the 17 integrated SDGs and 169 associated targets requires whole-of-government approaches, strengthened co-ordination, as well as a more effective mobilisation, use and allocation of all available resources – public, private, domestic and international. It also calls upon all countries to “enhance policy coherence for sustainable development” (PCSD) which is an integral part of the means of implementation (SDG target 17.14). Policy coherence is critical to capitalise on synergies among SDGs and targets, between different sectoral policies, and between diverse actions at the local, regional, national and international levels. It is a central policy tool to inform decision-making for managing potential trade-offs and inconsistencies among economic, social and environmental policy objectives, to consider trans-boundary and inter-generational impacts, and take into account enabling or disabling factors, as well as the role of different actors.

In this context, the 2016 edition of Better Policies for Sustainable Development provides guidance for policy-makers. Transitioning from the MDGs to a universal sustainable development framework calls for updating current approaches based on lessons learned from the past, and ensuring that institutional mechanisms are “fit for purpose” for the implementation of the SDGs. Past editions have contained analysis in which a policy coherence lens has been applied to a specific thematic focus – food security; illicit financial flows; and green growth. This edition builds on that analysis and experience and introduces the “PCSD Framework” to provide practical support to any government interested in adapting its institutional mechanisms, policy-making processes and practices to implement the SDGs in a coherent manner.

The OECD’s work on policy coherence for sustainable development is one important element in OECD’s Strategic Response to help implement the SDGs globally. I trust readers in all countries will find our Better Policies for Sustainable Development series a useful reference.


Angel Gurría,

OECD Secretary-General