Chapter 5. Partnerships to enhance policy coherence for sustainable development

This chapter represents a collective effort by the members of the Multi-Stakeholder Partnership for Enhancing Policy Coherence for Sustainable Development (the PCSD Partnership). They have shared with us in an online dialogue and in written contributions their views on the role of policy coherence for implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Specifically, the chapter looks at (i) evidence to inform coherent policy making; (ii) institutional practices to enhance policy coherence for SDG implementation; (iii) integrated approaches to address the interconnected SDGs; and (iv) quantitative and qualitative tools for tracking progress on policy coherence, as called for by SDG target 17.14. A report on progress by the PCSD Partnership will be submitted on the occasion of the 2017 United Nations High-Level Political Forum.



The Multi-stakeholder Partnership for Enhancing Policy Coherence for Sustainable Development (the PCSD Partnership) was launched as part of the United Nations Partnerships for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Platform in a context where countries across different regions and levels of development are aligning their national strategies, adapting institutional frameworks and shifting policies in preparation for SDG implementation. The Partnership is committed to informing the UN High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) on the progress of this initiative and on its contribution to the advancement of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs. A set of deliverables has been defined by the partners ranging from case studies, reports and workshops to methodologies and guidance for policy-makers.

As part of its work programme, the Partnership organised its first online dialogue in order to collect input for a joint contribution on PCSD that will be presented to the 2017 HLPF. This dialogue was hosted and moderated by the OECD on the dedicated PCSD Partnership Online Platform. Its aim was to bring together diverse stakeholders from across the world to exchange experiences, best practices, expertise and resources on how to enhance policy coherence for sustainable development (SDG target 17.14) as a means of implementation for the SDGs.

Reflecting the structure of the dialogue, this chapter covers four thematic areas: (A) evidence to inform coherent policy making, (B) institutional practices to enhance policy coherence for SDG implementation, (C) integrated approaches to address the interconnected SDGs, and (D) quantitative and qualitative tools for tracking progress on policy coherence. For each area, it summarises the key messages, provides practical examples and case studies, and makes cross-references to numerous tools and publications on policy coherence for sustainable development. A concluding section maps the need for further work and provides an outlook for future activities, while the annex provides a short “profile” of each contributing partner.

Evidence to inform coherent policy making

Poverty encompasses many dimensions, but its underlying causes can be more readily defined: they include exclusion from economic opportunities, various forms of deprivation (food, education, health. . .), as well as lack of access to natural resources. Key areas of policy, such as trade, agriculture, investment, migration, environment and health, have both wide cross-border effects and a high poverty reduction impact. A comprehensive analysis of the potential transboundary impact of these policies, of their interconnections and implications, as well as good information on the views and role of diverse actors at different levels of government are critical for coherent and effective decision-making when implementing the SDGs.

Good governance is not possible without proper documentation. India’s Aadhaar system, for example, has helped social services verify identity, open bank accounts and deliver salary, pension, subsidies and tax refunds directly to beneficiaries. – Dr. Vrajlal Sapovadia, American University of Nigeria

Food security (SDG2) is critical for poverty reduction (SDG1) and requires that the great potential of fisheries and aquaculture be taken into account alongside that of agriculture. Fisheries provide income and nutrition to a substantial part of the global population, but also impact negatively on climate change and environmental pollution. Illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, moreover, curtails governments’ capacity to sustainably manage fish stocks, and intersects with other forms of criminal activities such as tax evasion.

Effectively balancing and co-ordinating the different policy objectives (such as nutrition, environmental protection, growth and job creation, increasing efficiency and profitability, effective taxation and the fight against organised crime) is pivotal for making progress on all the SDGs involved.

Income growth is central to lasting reductions in global hunger. However, most fish stocks cannot support further increases in catch effort and expansion of aquaculture production will only continue if externalities are better controlled to avoid degradation of ecosystems. Sustainable improvements in income generated by the sector in the long-term will have to come from promoting a sustainable Blue Economy: increasing the value of the seafood produced and reducing production costs, such as through more efficient aquaculture production, reducing waste and lowering transport costs along the value chain. – Ingrid Kelling, OECD

A focus on the “costs of inaction” can increase awareness amongst decision makers and thereby spur political reform. For example, OECD estimates put the costs of exposure to droughts, floods, and inadequate access to water supply and sanitation at USD 500 billion per year at least. Similarly, revenue losses from Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) are conservatively estimated at USD 100-240 billion annually, or 4-10% of global corporate income tax (CIT) revenues. Given developing countries’ greater reliance on CIT revenues, the impact of BEPS on these countries is particularly damaging.

The diseases and parasites associated with poor access to sanitation, and long term deprivation of nutrients, prevent adults from working and children from studying, as well as from developing their brains and bodies. It has been estimated that the cost-benefit ratio of interventions aimed at providing universal access to improved sanitation is 5.5 globally, and as high as 8.0 in East Asia. Moreover, “closing the loop” in sanitation and wastewater management, i.e. recovering and reusing these resources, could produce benefits in a wide range of policy areas: food security, water security, energy access, climate mitigation, economic productivity, business and market development etc. – Caspar Trimmer, SEI Initiative on Sustainable Sanitation - Stockholm Environment Institute

Equally alarming, with regard to gender equality (SDG5), the UNDP estimates that the unequal treatment of women in the labour market costs Sub-Saharan Africa about USD 95 billion annually between 2010 and 2014.

Relevant to the issue of policy coherence and to the implementation of SDGs – though focused more specifically on Cultural and Creative Industries (CCIs) – we at ‘Law for Creativity’ are preparing a study whose results shall be presented later this year. – Michela Cocchi, Lady Lawyer Foundation

Insights from our Partners

As the first stated goal, poverty reduction plays a major role within the integrated and indivisible framework of the SDGs. In the first external contribution to this section, Elizabeth Moses-Mullard highlights the connection between poverty reduction and human rights, and takes stock of some of its implications, both analytical and practical.

The social economy has long been recognised as a potentially important tool for reducing poverty. In the second external contribution, Vrajlal Sapovadia provides evidence of its benefits in terms of resilience, local development, participation and labour market integration by looking at the role that co-operatives have played in India.

Official Development Assistance has been the main vector of global poverty reduction efforts in the past, and still remains so in the mind of many. In the third contribution, Ries Kamphof and Edith van Ewijk argue that in order to achieve the SDGs, 21st century development policies will need to rely on broader and more innovative forms of financing, more ambitious targets, a more widely shared awareness of global challenges and a new narrative.

The cultural and creative economy is not a sector generally targeted by poverty reduction policies, yet it can have a tangible impact on innovation, competitiveness and well-being. In the fourth contribution to this section, Michela Cocchi looks at the role played by IP rights, drawing out some of their socio-economic effects and their relation to human rights.

Putting Human Rights at the Heart of Poverty Reduction: A moral and practical necessity

by Elizabeth Moses-Mullard, AlphaZULU Advocates

Human rights and their universal character constitute one of the cornerstones for SDG1. UN member states must insist on the universality, indivisibility, interdependence and inter-relatedness of all human rights. If we take away the universality of human rights, and refuse to recognise that they must be the same in Somalia as they are in the United Kingdom for instance, we undermine the very principle upon which poverty reduction is based. At the 2017 Human Rights Conference hosted by the University of Sussex Human Rights Research Centre, practitioners in the field of human rights emphasised the problems created by the selective approach taken by certain states with regard to human rights. However, while this role as a normative basis for poverty reduction remains vital, turning human rights into an effective tool for development also depends on our ability to adopt a “smarter” approach that seeks to make human rights measurable and tangible, notably through the design of statistical human rights indicators. The political and judicial dimensions cannot be neglected either. In this respect, the provision of social and economic rights should be made an immediate rather than a progressive obligation for states, and instruments of compliance, such as the reporting of human rights violations, as well as enforcement mechanisms for punishing these violations and compensating their victims, should be strengthened.

How can co-operatives contribute to poverty reduction? Insights from India

by Vrajlal Sapovadia, Techno Consult

Economic growth is important for eradicating poverty; yet it will not lead to sustainable development if it does not also contribute to fostering social inclusion and protecting environmental resources. The co-operative form of organisation – that is, an economic institution of the people, for the people and by the people – creates opportunities for reducing poverty in ways that are socially inclusive and ecologically responsible as well as cost effective. As such, it represents a potentially important lever for sustainable development – a fact that has been recognised by UNESCO (which has added co-operatives to its list of intangible cultural assets) and the Rio +20 Conference.

Despite this, the size of the co-operative sector is often overlooked. According to the Quebec International Summit of Cooperatives, the world’s largest 300 co-operatives had a combined turnover of USD $2.53 trillion in 2014. The impact it could have on achieving the SDGs is also overlooked by policy-makers. Beyond its size, the co-operative sector presents a number of advantages:

  • Co-operatives promote a different business model. They typically take a broader, longer-term perspective which includes the reinforcement of local communities, engagement with vulnerable populations and the provision of social goods. Furthermore, they do so without sacrificing the objective of profitability. The Uralungal Labour Contract Co-operative Society (ULCCS), which operates in the construction sector, generated profits of 15.4 million rupee from annual revenue of INR 1.5 billion in 2010-11, for instance, whilst also focusing on social goals such as the employment of deprived populations and affordable training and education for its workforce.

  • The structure of co-operatives is also different and reflects a commitment to equality and social inclusion. As a result, the wage gap rarely goes beyond a 5-to-1 ratio in co-operatives, while it can reach 600-to-1 in traditional firms, as reported by the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies in 2015. Furthermore, while the wage level tends to be lower in co-operatives than in traditional firms, these differences disappear once the individual characteristics of workers are factored in – meaning that co-operatives make more productive use of their particular workers and pay them higher wages than the private sector would.

The co-operative sector contributes to poverty reduction in deeper, more complex ways too. It can help deprived populations identify economic opportunities; access property rights, markets and financing; mutualise risk, profits and pool investment in productive assets. For instance, the Gambhira Farming Co-operative Society (GFCSL) in Gujarat has helped smallholding farmers overcome limited individual resources, low investment capabilities, limited bargaining power in the procurement of inputs and market volatility to significantly improve their socio-economic conditions (Sapovadia, 2013).

Special emphasis must be given to the social and psychological impact of co-operatives here. Profit-sharing helps reduce income and wealth disparities. It also contributes to bridge the gap between workers and shareholders, align their incentives and increase productivity. Furthermore, by promoting democratic employee ownership, co-operatives incorporate workers into decision-making and management processes. The motivational benefits of greater participation and autonomy can lead to a sense of social inclusion and empowerment that is often essential when dealing with vulnerable populations, such as women, the self-employed and labourers working in the informal sector. The Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA), a union based in Ahmedabad covering 140 co-operatives of self-employed women with over 1.35 million members, offers an interesting example here (Sapovadia, 2016). Job creation efforts targeted at vulnerable populations often spill over into other areas related to health and human rights, as shown by the role that the Working Women’s Forum India (WWF) and its trade union wing have played in the fight against selective abortion and child prostitution among poorer populations (Sapovadia et al., 2013).

Finally, empirical evidence demonstrates that employee-owned businesses and co-operatives are more resilient than traditional investor-owned firms: they have higher survival rates and fare better during economic downturns, particularly in terms of employment. Co-operatives strengthen local economies by embedding business in their communities. They tend to purchase and re-invest more in the local economy. The results of a 2012 study by the National Cooperative Grocers Association provide an example. The study, which measured the impact of food co-operatives on the local economy against that of conventional grocers, found that $0.38 of every dollar spent at a food co-operative was reinvested locally, compared to just $0.24 for conventional grocers.

Based on the Indian experience, supporting co-operatives represents a cost-effective policy lever for achieving inclusive and sustainable economic development. It does not require vast expenditure by central government, a long legislative process or widescale regulatory reform. Instead co-operatives tend to work in partnership with local governments (mainly the village-level Panchayat in India), and in doing so they contribute to build capacity and foster greater coherence in the areas of employment, skills and economic development policy – all key elements for the successful implementation of the SDGs.

Reducing poverty through partnerships, coherence and solidarity

by Ries Kamphof and Edith van Ewijk, Kaleidos Research

As the SDGs make clear, poverty is related to a complex combination of factors including access to employment, education and social services, the administrative capacity of governments, fiscal and trade systems, security, climate, and health. Policy coherence for sustainable development is needed to address and eventually alleviate these various dimensions of poverty. Based on the work of Kaleidos Research, a focus on partnership, coherence, and solidarity is essential for a progressive approach to poverty reduction (Kamphof, Spitz and Boonstoppel, 2015). In order to achieve greater policy coherence and maximise poverty reduction impact, one should look to increase available financial resources, establish new targets, foster awareness and create a new narrative.

Financial resources

It is crucial that sufficient public and private financial resources be made available to help poverty alleviation efforts, since new goals and agreements such as the SDGs and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda are likely to remain ‘dead in the water’ without the financial resources necessary to implement them. Official Development Assistance (ODA) is a small but precious source of finance, that can be used in a flexible manner and has a possible catalysing role on other forms of finance. Nevertheless, the relative importance of ODA is decreasing compared to other financial flows to developing countries (United Nations, 2014). Focusing on ODA as the sole means for poverty alleviation and stimulating development is therefore insufficient; many other factors contribute to development and these need to be addressed as well. Larger financing flows, such as domestic public resources, domestic private resources, and international private flows should be taken into account. Also innovative financing and instruments may be required in order to mobilise additional resources for development, via blending, financial transaction taxes, or air levies.


This broader use of financial resources could also translate into a more ambitious (2%) target premised on a society-wide financial commitment to solving poverty-related global challenges, like climate change, safety and security. A broader financial commitment might include other developmentally relevant public and private expenditure, such as foreign direct investments and certain forms of military spending. A more ambitious target of this kind could be combined with an ODA ‘guarantee’ of at least 0.25% GNI for the low income countries and fragile states to make sure these countries are not left behind. Further research is necessary to better estimate the required financial resources for global challenges and poverty reduction. This way relevant targets will not only be based on political compromise, but also have a solid scientific foundation (OECD, 2014, Bakker, 2014, Kamphof, Spitz and Boonstoppel, 2015). The SDGs can be used as an up-to-date narrative for the multi-polar world we live in with global challenges that both affect and require effort from all countries. The SDGs can act as guiding principles for renewing development co-operation partnerships that are still based on traditional North-South aid relations, such as the relations between the European Union and African, Caribbean and Pacific Countries (Kamphof and van Ewijk, 2016).


Global education and increasing awareness of global challenges, including climate change, among citizens is also necessary to increase coherence and contribute to poverty alleviation worldwide. On the one hand this awareness is needed to maintain public and policy support for governance expenditure on ODA and related global challenges, while on the other hand citizens, as consumers and users of goods and services, have a direct and indirect impact on these global issues and the lives of people across the globe. In the Netherlands for example, relatively few citizens acknowledge the link between poverty and global issues: only 42% of Dutch citizens agree that there is a direct relationship between poverty in developing countries and global challenges such as climate change, while there is a large ‘in-between’ category of 41% who answered ‘undecided’. This group of people can make a key contribution to poverty reduction e.g. by voting during elections, choosing responsible forms of consumption and less polluting modes of transport. This also applies to the rising middle class in emerging economies. In 2030, 80% of the global middle class will live in emerging economies in Africa and Asia (Kharas, 2010).

A new narrative

While more global issues such as food security and climate change increasingly affect developing countries and require major investments, the traditional view on the spending priorities for development is not likely to change if there is no public or political debate in OECD countries regarding development policies, finance and challenges for the 21st century. The public seems unaware of current dilemmas within the international (political) debate on the future of development co-operation. This may imply a lack of democratic legitimacy for wider forms of poverty reduction going beyond ‘aid’ in the future. Since a broad approach to development demands input from all sectors of society, including changes in the everyday behaviour of citizens, this lack of awareness is worrying. A new narrative on development is therefore needed, adapted to these 21st century needs.

Such a narrative must acknowledge solidarity, global interdependence, and the importance of policy and financial coherence. Politicians, media and policy makers can share in and strengthen this narrative through a continuous dialogue with society (Kamphof, Spitz and Boonstoppel, 2015).

Creativity and innovation: Building bridges through culture and building protection through law

by Michela Cocchi, Lady Lawyer Foundation

Humanity is facing a period of instability and myriad challenges. Turning the tide will call for new paradigms and a renewed commitment to the human factor, as recognised by the UN Secretary General in September 2016 at the 71st Session of the UN General Assembly Week.

Law for Creativity was established in the fall of 2011 with the aim of conducting a comparative study of legal systems across different countries in order to identify the sets of rules which channel investment, innovation and competitiveness policies towards fostering creativity. In the course of this study, we encountered an additional challenge. Indeed, many of the elements essential to creativity and the creative economy are not captured by traditional economic indicators. Responding to the UN’s call for a more “holistic approach to development” (UN Resolution 65/309), we have sought to develop new tools that can provide a fuller picture of creativity, its socio-economic impact and the role it can play in promoting sustainable development. This is the journey narrated here.

Law for Creativity is a project carried by Michela Cocchi – Studio Legale and the Lady Lawyer Foundation as participants in the United Nations Global Compact. It builds on our activities relating to the Cultural and Creative Industries (CCIs), and more specifically the so-called F.A.M.E. (Fashion.Art.Music.Entertainment) sector. Action in these areas can have a high impact as they constitute a major platform for corporate leadership and an important element in the transition towards sustainable modes of production and consumption. In our view, the creative economy1 has great potential to promote social inclusion, cultural diversity and human development, while generating income and jobs, in a context where creative industries2 are among the fastest growing traded sectors worldwide. Secondly, sustainable development will require innovative cross-sectoral approaches to which CCIs can also contribute.

Law for Creativity takes account of two key features of the creative economy: the particular nature and structure of creative clusters, which tend to form organically on the basis of collaborative ties, and the international dimension of CCI policies. The project and its related platform have several goals: support the expression of cultural diversity and promote a dialogue between globalisation and local/national cultures; develop trade opportunities for CCIs and protect the specificity of cultural goods; help improve policies (particularly those directed at cultural and creative SMEs) and mainstream culture into the policy-making process; and reinforce copyright protection and IP licensing as a way to increase the creation of content.

Building Bridges through Culture and Creativity

The relation between the legal system and creativity is being re-examined in a number of countries across the world. This stems in part from the understanding that innovation is not only a technological process, that creativity is another key factor for innovation and competitiveness, and that it can be nurtured or stymied through rules and practices. The legal perspective on creativity and innovation is simple, but profound. Neither of these concepts has any existence in law, other than in the context of Intellectual Property (IP) law. IP law provides protection to the aesthetic and functional emanations of the human mind, by granting exclusive rights to those responsible for creating them. These rights provide a legal entitlement to creators and innovators as well as an incentive to produce IP (Christie, 2011).

The economic case for copyright and IP protection is straightforward. Creators and innovators face many of the problems typical of public goods: the works, ideas and intangible assets they produce are non-excludable and can be copied, replicated or consumed freely by others. Creating individual property rights for intellectual goods solves these problems by granting a temporary monopoly to the owner of IP. The legal and moral case for IP rights is more complex however. This can be seen in the line set by the 1948 UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights which defines the right to IP protection as a human right: “Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author” (Article 27). This line of argument has been further entrenched by Article 15 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, ratified by the UN General Assembly on December 16, 1966: “The States Parties to the present Covenant recognize the right of everyone: (a) To take part in cultural life; (b) To enjoy the benefits of scientific progress and its applications; (c) To benefit from the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author”.

IP rights, taken in their economic sense, can be more properly categorised as a limited privilege granted to authors and creators as an incentive to create works and make them public. When IP rights are viewed as human rights, the inherent and essential counterpart to this privilege becomes clearer: it is the underlying objective that the public retain a right to access and use these creative works. The public’s right to access culture is part and parcel of the right and protection conferred to the owner of IP. IP protection has a social and cultural function, and its emphasis is no longer solely on the exclusive rights of the owner but also on the right of the public. Seen from this angle, IP is a system that must balance incentives for creativity and innovation with participation by the public. If one stops thinking of IP merely as an economic privilege and a power to exclude others, and starts considering the economic, social and cultural benefits that accrue from the access to and participation in the creation of knowledge and information within a community, IP as a human right becomes all the more obvious (Dizon, 2009).

This dual approach in terms of IP rights and human rights leads us to a fundamental question: how to facilitate the development of international IP regimes that protect the ownership of cultural works and incentive to innovate, while also preserving the public interest and the general welfare of all those concerned. Part of the answer lies in defining the appropriate scope for private monopoly in the domain of culture and creation. Another part lies in designing human right standards that can be applied positively in the domain of IP protection.

What comes next: The SDGs and looming challenges

Human creativity is the source of all innovation. But innovation does not occur in a vacuum; it requires a workable structure of incentives and institutions. Government policies that foster the right enabling conditions for innovation, and that allow entrepreneurship and markets to flourish, can provide a climate that encourages innovation and economic growth in the 21st century. Increasingly, one of the core enabling conditions is IP protection.

As the 2015 Dakar Ministerial Conference organised by WIPO on IP for Emerging Africa has shown, effective IP regimes can help achieve the SDGs by promoting sustainable growth and greater gender equality (notably by strengthening the position and competitiveness of the African fashion industry), by enhancing the social recognition of creators and by directing innovation towards mitigating the effects of climate change. In the words of Francis Gurry, WIPO Director General, “Africa has a great tradition of innovation and creativity [. . .] and innovation is a central driver of economic growth, development and better jobs. It is the key for firms to compete successfully in the global marketplace. [. . .] Intellectual property is an indispensable mechanism for translating knowledge into commercial assets - IP rights create a secure environment for investment in innovation and provide a legal framework for trading in intellectual assets”.

Yet, many challenges remain. Cultural goods have a value, not simply a price: they represent a source of identity, innovation and creativity – a dynamic force that is essential to all societies, local or global, and takes on dimensions that are non-financial (such as gift and reciprocity). On the analytical side, we need to find ways to properly integrate these dimensions into traditional indices. On the practical side, we have developed the Lady Lawyer Fashion Archive, which documents the link between the fashion industry, human rights and the Sustainable Development Goals. We are also listing a cross-section of results from Law for Creativity on fashion at the local level, as well as starting work relating to art. The next report will be published in December 2017.

Institutional practices to enhance policy coherence for SDG implementation

Implementing the SDGs requires that governments be able to work with a diverse set of actors across policy domains, levels of governance and timeframes. Institutional mechanisms can increase policy coherence by facilitating cross-sectoral integration. The SDGs, as an internationally agreed framework, provide an opportunity to increase the long-term effectiveness of government policy agendas by building complementarities among planned policies, programmes and actions in the economic, social and environmental areas.

Several examples can be cited to shed light on the attempts being made to reconfigure political structures and align them with the SDGs: A study entitled “Universality, Integration, and Policy Coherence for Sustainable Development: Early SDG implementation in selected OECD countries” (O’Connor et al., 2016), published by the World Resources Institute (WRI) and a coalition of think tanks, highlights various ways in which countries seek to build coherent political frameworks conducive to SDG implementation. In Germany, the Federal Committee of State Secretaries for Sustainable Development, comprising state secretaries from all federal ministries, oversees the planning for SDG implementation and is thought to have reduced conflicts and strengthened co-operation among ministries. In Korea, the Office of Government Policy Coordination, headed by the Prime Minister, has played an important role in preparing for the SDG negotiations and is now set to co-ordinate SDG implementation and build consensus across the Korean administration.

With regard to multi-stakeholder collaboration, a so-called ‘SDG charter’ adopted in The Netherlands has been signed by more than 80 partners from the private sector (large multinational corporations as well as social enterprises), civil society organisations, trade unions, local governments, and knowledge institutes: These partners all commit to reaching the SDGs in The Netherlands and try to work together on a project basis to help achieve the SDGs. – Ries Kamphof, Kaleidos Research

Key messages distilled from the examples provided include the following:

  • Local government authorities play an essential role as they are involved in policy implementation and follow-up monitoring “on the ground”. As a consequence, they often know best what the actual challenges are as well as unintended side-effects and spill-overs of certain policies since they experience them first-hand. Endowing them with adequate financial resources and strengthening their institutional capacity can therefore go a long way towards delivering on the 2030 Agenda.

    Assam was the first Indian state to adopt the SDGs as its official path for development. The central government of India is establishing appropriate structures for co-ordination with state and local governments, i.e. Panchayati Raj Institutes, to closely implement and monitor grass root level projects. – Dr. Vrajlal Sapovadia, American University of Nigeria

  • Budgetary pressures and financial incentives also mould organisational behaviour, often in a way that undermines effective co-ordination and sharing of knowledge and capacity. Restructuring government budgets with a view to fostering inter-ministerial collaboration can strengthen policy coherence and the institutional capacity/willingness to “break down the silos”.

    Countries are preparing their own institutional responses to address the SDG targets they have prioritised. These responses are all appropriate to, and relevant for, the unique approaches to governance and policy change, and emphasise that there is no “blueprint” for effective implementation of the SDGs. – Niels Keijzer, German Development Institute

  • A context-sensitive approach is imperative. Most countries are in the process of developing institutional arrangements that build on existing bodies and modes of policy formulation/implementation. This can generate synergies as well as a sense of continuity, and increase legitimacy and effectiveness. Consequently, we should not think about drawing up “one-size-fits-all” schemes applicable to all countries alike. Any attempt to alter an institutional arrangement should instead be informed by an in-depth understanding of a country’s particular context, political dynamics, administrative culture, and specific capacities and needs.

    Another question is in which governance landscape is the analysis of interactions generated? In which does it “land”? And how can public administrations act on the information? At this stage in implementation, there is great value in learning from different countries’ experiences - how have they begun approaching implementation in a coherent way, what approaches and mechanisms are out there, and what works where? – Nina Weitz, Stockholm Environment Institute.

  • The role of central co-ordination at the highest level of government is a principal issue. In order to steer the process of SDG implementation, foster effective horizontal co-ordination and ensure broad-based buy-in by relevant stakeholders, a “centre of government” – led approach can be a powerful means of implementation.

    We look at two lines of research into the institutional aspects for sustainable development: education in citizenship, social responsibility and sustainable development (Linha EConsCiencias) and governance and public policies in sustainable development (Linha EcoPoliticas). – Patricia Almeida Ashley, Nucléo Girassol

Insights from our Partners

Policy coherence has long been recognised as a valuable means for achieving development goals and OECD countries have accumulated a wealth of experience in this domain. In the first contribution to this section, James Mackie, Martin Ronceray and Eunike Spierings draw on their experience with the policy coherence for development approach (PCD) to chart out some lessons for policy coherence for sustainable development (PCSD).

Policies aimed at implementing the SDGs are diverse and cross-sectoral by nature given the multi-dimensional problems they address, and the scope for institutional learning on this topic is large. In the second contribution to this section, Jussi Kanner draws some transferable lessons from the successful application of Nepal’s Multi-Sector Nutrition Plan.

The diversity of situations and problems means that while transferable lessons can be used to improve integrated approaches, the best policy mix will still vary from case to case. In a third contribution, Elizabeth Moses-Mullard argues that flexibility and accountability should have cardinal value in the implementation of SDGs.

Effective implementation requires more than just an integrated approach to policy-making. In the fourth contribution to this section, Ries Kamphof and Edith van Ewijk look at the conditions needed for co-ordinated action by government, the private sector and civil society.

Policy Coherence & the 2030 Agenda: Building on the PCD experience

by James Mackie, Martin Ronceray and Eunike Spierings, ECDPM

After two decades spent stressing its importance, European and OECD country governments have become accustomed to the need to promote coherence between the policies they pursue. In their international cooperation work, the principle of policy coherence for development (PCD) in particular has become an object of wide agreement even though the questions it opens up can be strongly contested. In support of these debates, a whole set of mechanisms and practices have been built up to promote the search for synergies and inform the inevitable trade-offs and arbitration that are often required.

With the advent of the 2030 Agenda, the principle of policy coherence has now been extended to cover the whole scope of sustainable development. PCSD, or policy coherence for sustainable development has thus become a reality reflected in the ‘Systemic Issues’ section of SDG17 on ‘Strengthening the Means of Implementation and Revitalising the Global Partnership’. For those familiar with the practice of PCD, the challenge of this logical but much broader extended concept is immense. Recent research has demonstrated the multiple linkages that exist across the SDGs and the effort in terms of integrated policy-making that the 2030 Agenda will require. How this might be tackled, and what useful lessons can be gleaned from past practice in promoting policy coherence to support this effort, is the subject of ongoing research at the European Centre for Development Policy Management (ECDPM), conducted by James Mackie, Martin Ronceray and Eunike Spierings.

The research tries to account for different traditions of coherence-promotion systems, which are grouped into four broad types: (i) mainstreaming, (ii) multiple-sector approaches, (iii) whole-of-government approaches and (iv) the single-sector approach to which PCD is deemed to belong. The comparison of these four approaches within an ad hoc analytical framework allows us to draw a set of lessons for the promotion of PCSD.

The analysis demonstrates that all four approaches share a number of characteristics and tools, and that in several countries PCD does seem to have pushed integrated policy-making further than most. Among other things, one of the key successes of the PCD approach has been its ability to foster ‘champions’ for the cause of developing countries inside high-income country government policy-making systems. This element of advocacy, with an official or team proactively promoting their vision of the interests of developing countries within an OECD country government, has proven it can achieve results, in particular when it focuses on a key set of issues in which the home country can make a difference, as opposed to spreading efforts too thinly over many issues. Extending this idea of a policy champion to the more complex framework of PCSD, one can imagine a set of several such agents each tasked with championing the cause of one important aspect of the 2030 Agenda, but also with working together to forge the synergies, compromises and trade-offs required to promote PCSD successfully.

The other important insight from the PCD experience that can be useful for promoting PCSD is the notion of a policy coherence system with several types of tools working together in a complementary fashion. Using this model, a PCSD system could thus be built on four types of mechanisms:

  1. Framework elements including legal and/or political statements of intent and designated leadership.

  2. Mechanisms including champions spearheading the PCSD system as a group within institutions

  3. Knowledge systems for analytical capacity, data, modelling of optimised solutions and monitoring

  4. Accountability based on transparency, reporting, peer review and scrutiny by external actors

A set of five recommendations is under elaboration: on the importance of (i) maintaining PCD as a contribution to PCSD, (ii) empowering a group of sector champions to promote PCSD, (iii) declaring a clear political commitment to PCSD, (iv) building a PCSD system, and (v) communicating on the value-added of PCSD.

Meanwhile, another team at ECDPM works on the thematic policy coherence issue of food security, with a case study on Burkina Faso to be released soon, following a previous one on Tanzania.

What are the factors for success in multi-sector approaches to sustainable development? Lessons from Nepal

by Jussi Kanner, Kehys

Integrated implementation of the SDGs can also make use of the wealth of experience in thematic multi-sector approaches. There are lessons to be drawn for example from multi-sector nutrition policies and programs, which could contribute to advancing PCSD. After all, the fundamental issue and challenge is shared: how to get other sectors interested in and committed to an objective which emerges from outside the policy field in question? Several internal and external factors that could contribute to successful multi-sector collaboration have been identified. Such factors include leadership, vision, capacities, organizational structures, incentives for collaboration, prioritisation, urgency of action, and economic, social, cultural, political and legal environments. Looking at the experience of Nepal’s Multi-Sector Nutrition Plan (MSNP), we can already confirm some of these. The MSNP is a government plan that was launched by the National Planning Commission and signed by six line ministries. It involves a co-ordination mechanism at both national and local levels.

Two studies have been carried out documenting the factors that were key to the successful signing of the MSNP. The success factors included first the prominence of political and development agendas which led to political prioritisation, thanks to sound evidence on the multi-sector nature of nutrition and on the economic cost of malnutrition. Second, a collaborative environment was created through an inclusive participatory process involving all sectors in the planning of development. Third, an implementation guideline accompanying the MSNP strengthened the process from development planning to implementation by supporting district-level needs. Fourth, the plan involved top-down (e.g., budget) and bottom-up (e.g., consideration of contextual factors) planning simultaneously (Shrimpton et. al., 2014). As an outcome the MSNP helped create accountability in nutrition efforts in all sectors.

Also the role of advocacy, co-ordination and sustainable structures has been highlighted. A national level co-ordination group led by the National Planning Commission was set up and replicated at local level. These groups allowed not only effective co-ordination but also sustained advocacy at the national and local levels, and leadership outside the “home sector” – i.e. health.

Further work is needed exploring the existing literature on how multi-sector approaches have been successfully prioritised across various sectors. Such success stories could be instrumental in promoting integrated implementation of the SDGs. It would also be worthwhile to document efforts for PCSD and integrated approaches for SDGs in a similar fashion. Findings on why any given PCSD effort was either a success or a failure would provide valuable input for the whole community.

An argument in favour of flexibility, accountability and co-operation in the implementation of SDGs

by Elizabeth Moses-Mullard, AlphaZULU Advocates

As opposed to a “one-size-fits-all” approach, effective SDG implementation will require an understanding of the diverse interacting policy spheres specific to each country, the opportunities and challenges and being able to synergise across these interacting policy domains. Although learning from examples, sharing best practices and technical knowledge transfer are very positive steps towards strengthening institutional capacity, it is vital that policy institutions utilise these to drive changes within their own system. Also, creating democratic mechanisms that will scrutinise policies across government departments could help foster a holistic approach and the development of a more country-specific integrated set of indicators that would improve the reporting of progress on the Goals.

Implementing the SDGs: A shared responsibility for government, the private sector and civil society

by Ries Kamphof & Edith van Ewijk, Kaleidos Research

National governments have the ‘primary responsibility for follow-up and review [of the SDGs] at the national, regional and global levels’ according to the UN 2030 Agenda (par 47). Review of progress ‘will build on existing platforms and processes, where these exist, avoid duplication and respond to national circumstances, capacities, needs and priorities’ (UN Agenda 2030, para 74f). Given the absence of strict legally binding targets, the actual implementation of the SDG strategy is a political choice. Furthermore, implementation depends not only on the government as signatory of the UN Agenda, but also on the way in which other stakeholders play their role, such as regional frameworks (e.g. EU, ASEAN), the private sector and civil society. Integrated approaches in OECD countries should therefore incorporate the fact that SDG implementation is the responsibility of many actors.

As Figure 5.1 shows, at least six roles can be identified for the various actors involved in the integrated approach, namely facilitation, financing, enabling, monitoring, communication and advocacy. Together these roles and actors form the ‘SDG-implementation space’ (Kamphof and Spitz, 2016).

Figure 5.1. The SDG implementation pyramid

Source: Kamphof, R. and G.Spitz (2016).

National, regional and local governments all have a major role to play in facilitating cross-sector collaboration for the SDGs. The public sector is well-placed to connect different stakeholders and stimulate knowledge exchange on cross-sector collaboration. Specific ‘coherence units’ could be set up in national ministries to take stock of progress on PCSD and interrelationships/conflicts between SDGs (Kamphof, Spitz and Boonstoppel, 2015). The same applies to the local level; for instance, municipalities can inform and involve CSOs and the private sector within their jurisdiction.

Monitoring and reporting

The potential success of the SDGs also depends on the monitoring and reporting of SDG progress. International knowledge institutions such as Eurostat and OECD, as well as national institutes such as statistics offices are contributing to make the SDGs measurable. Innovative methods, such as mobile phone based surveys, could also be considered to collect data. Keeping track of this progress is also a role for governments. It is crucial that they develop strategies for monitoring the SDG process. CSOs and the private sector can also play a part in this monitoring process, for instance by making innovative technology available and helping reach target groups in remote areas.


The financial implementation of the SDGs will be a major challenge. Experts estimate that implementation of the SDGs could cost up to 2-3 trillion US Dollar a year, around 4% of global GNI (African Development Bank et al., 2015). These trillions cannot be provided by national governments alone, but should be collected through innovative financing measures, via blending, taxation as well as through the private sector and the financial sector (Kamphof, Spitz and Boonstoppel, 2015) as well as through the contribution of a wide variety of actors.


Civil society is well suited to stimulate and ensure accountability (i.e. through parliament) of governments in the implementation of their commitments. Many CSOs are already part of the negotiation process and are still playing an advocacy role. For example, CSOs in Brussels are actively campaigning for accountability and incorporation of the concept of Policy Coherence for Sustainable Development.

SDG ‘Charter’

In many countries, the private sector is also getting involved. Firms have welcomed the SDGs as a framework that includes the private sector as an important stakeholder and have participated in the negotiation process. The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) have developed an SDG Compass that facilitates businesses’ assessment of the ways in which they can participate in the 2030 Agenda. In the Netherlands, several private sector giants, such as DSM, Unilever, Friesland Campina and Philips, signed a special ‘SDG Charter’ with CSOs, government agencies and knowledge institutions. They see a specific role for businesses in relation to the SDGs through respect for human rights, conservation of natural resources, promotion of good governance, transparency and social impact reporting (Worldconnectors, 2015).


The importance of public awareness is acknowledged by many stakeholders. Without information about the SDGs, citizens cannot hold their governments accountable. And without information, it is also hard for the ‘unusual suspects’, such as SMEs, local politicians or nationally-oriented CSOs, to get on board. In that sense, awareness can be seen as an enabling factor for cross-sector collaboration.

No ‘one-size-fits-all’

The national governments of the EU Member States take different approaches on implementing the SDGs. In many countries, the first step towards implementation of the goals consists in an exploratory process in which knowledge institutes, advisory councils and CSOs point to the changes in government structures and policies needed to transform the goals into actual policies. It is clear that there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution and that most countries build on existing mechanisms.

Integrated approaches to address the interconnected SDGs

The economic, social and environmental challenges that the SDGs aim to address are increasingly complex and challenge traditional policy delineations. Yet, policy-making is mostly carried out based on sectoral perspectives and in silos, increasing the risk of unintended spill-overs and side-effects. The SDGs represent an integrated and indivisible set of global priorities that require new approaches in order to pursue several goals simultaneously, instead of narrowly focusing on any single one. Hence, a major challenge for governments consists in finding ways to enhance policy coherence and foster work across sectors, actors, governance levels and time horizons when implementing the SDGs.

Mappings of SDG interconnectedness bring out the nexuses between policy areas vividly. An interactive map where all interactions are documented in a collaborative manner, could be a formidable tool for decision- and policy-making. – Martin Ronceray, European Centre for Development Policy Management (ECDPM)

Diverse analytical tools are already available that can help policy-makers comprehend the complexity of the SDGs, identify crucial interlinkages and interactions, and formulate commensurate policies. For example, the Millennium Institute proposes an interactive “iSDG” tool for simulating the effects of specific policies on the SDGs, and is already piloting it in collaboration with the Ivorian government.

Our model provides policy-makers and stakeholders with an interactive, experimental platform to facilitate evidence-based debate and consensus-building. The model is not a one-size-fits-all but is customised to meet the circumstances and needs of specific countries and regions. – Steve Arquitt, Millennium Institute

The Stockholm Environment Institute and the International Council on Science (ICSU) have pioneered a new evaluative scale by which to gauge different forms of interactions between SDG targets (Nilsson et al. 2016). Building on this and other research, the OECD-PCD unit is currently devising a “coherence monitor” which could support policy-makers in identifying crucial interlinkages, exploiting synergies and resolving trade-offs, while also taking into account the impact of policy decisions on the wellbeing of people “here and now”, “elsewhere” and “later”.

How targets interact is an empirical question and the answer is highly contextual (depending e.g. on natural resource base, governance, technologies and ideas of future pathways towards sustainable development). This recognition of context needs to become the starting-point when we develop tools and methods to help make sense of the interactions. – Nina Weitz, Stockholm Environment Institute

For the new “SDG mind-set” to reach its full potential, SDG policy processes should be rooted in a long-term transformational vision. The SDGs articulate such a vision of a “future we want”, aiming to reconcile and balance the ecological, economic and social dimensions of sustainability.

In addition to devising analytical tools for SDG implementation, it is also important to reflect on the ‘awareness’ of the interactions between the SDGs. If this awareness is not taken into account, we risk working enthusiastically on individual SDGs while missing the full picture. This would work against the SDGs, which are meant to be ‘indivisible’. – Ries Kamphof, Kaleidos Research

Policy integration requires fundamental changes in the way people conceptualise (policy) challenges and their interconnectedness and imagine their individual relationships with each other and the world. This could enable truly and thoroughly coherent action and transformation for sustainable development. The need for such a new vision places high expectations on educators to provide younger generations with the skills to confront these challenges, to critically scrutinise path dependencies and to identify leverage points for transformative change.

The G20 countries have agreed to a political vision of strong, sustainable and inclusive growth, based on technological innovation. But now that technico-economic progress is recognised as a means to human progress (Better Lives for the OECD and Human Development for the UN), the hegemony of economic growth has to give way to a balance between the economy, nature and society. This, it seems, is the political vision behind the SDGs. It implies systemic reform of three interacting systems with different logics. – Ron Gass

Insights from our Partners

Policy-makers cannot take strategic decisions without a clear understanding of the complex interactions and feedbacks (both positive and negative) between the different SDGs. In the first contribution to this section, the Stockholm Environment Institute presents a tool designed to improve decision-making by mapping the trade-offs between various goals and targets.

Foresight and simulation can be particularly useful tools in that they shed light on issues of policy coherence and effectiveness ahead of implementation. In the second contribution, the Millennium Institute presents and draws policy lessons from the application of a scenario-based participative model to the Côte d’Ivoire’s national development plan.

Monitoring progress in the implementation of the SDGs and keeping parties accountable requires not only vigilance, but appropriate analytical tools. In the third contribution, Patricia Almeida Ashley, Daiany do Nascimento Ferreira and Marcela Nunes Aguiar from Núcleo Girassol, Universidade Federal Fluminense, provide some interesting methodological insights and practical results based on two recent studies from Brazil.

Improving policy coherence through systemic analysis: New tools for better decision-making

by the Stockholm Environment Institute

The Stockholm Environment Institute has developed another application of the scale of interactions proposed by Nilsson et al (2016) to explore the systemic effects of the mutual influence between targets for Sweden. In contrast to previous research, this analysis treats the agenda as an indivisible whole and does not preselect a target as the entry point, but derives the most interesting relationships from a cross-impact matrix covering all 17 goals (two targets for each goal). The analysis can support decision-makers tasked with planning SDG implementation by helping them identify which targets should be prioritised in order to enhance progress on the 17 SDGs overall.

The results highlight how targets influence each other; how the achievement of one target may be inextricably linked to, facilitate or create conditions for the achievement of another target, or alternatively may limit options, clash with or make it impossible to reach another target. It further shows how much positive/negative influence a target exerts on the rest of the network and how vulnerable the achievement of a target is to impact from the network. For example, this information can be used to map out how the realisation of one ministry’s priority target hinges on how a target “controlled” by another ministry is implemented, and thus reveal the need for new or deeper collaboration between them. Interestingly, results show how prioritisation of action can be altered by taking systemic effects into account and from there how policy-making informed by a comprehensive view of target interactions has a much better chance to succeed. Systemic analysis is therefore needed to guide priority-setting, strategic planning and cross-sectoral partnership-building for SDG implementation.

The study demonstrates a practical approach that is intuitively simple and can be applied in different contexts: other countries, a region or for a specific industry, for example. The methodology can easily be tailored to different levels of data availability to build on existing data, literature reviews, expert-assessment, or stakeholder inputs for assessing interactions. A key strength of this approach lies in its transparency, which is greater than in modelling approaches.

This research provides the first necessary steps towards a longer-term ambition to develop a user-friendly interactive tool that enables decision-makers or analysts to explore and analyse contextual systemic effects in practice.

Achieving policy coherence in national development and SDG planning: An application of the iSDG model in Cote d’Ivoire

by Gunda Zuellich, Matteo Pedercini, Steven Arquitt and Adedoyin Onasanya, Millennium Institute

Effective implementation of the SDGs requires integration of SDG-targeted policies into existing national development plans. However, an evaluation conducted by the Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI) of the voluntary national reviews submitted by 22 countries to the 2016 High-level Political Forum concluded that “countries have as yet made little headway in the use of SDG indicators and targets to assess the progress to be made, to define public action priorities or to monitor progress made over time. Gap analyses are generally limited to inventories of sectoral policies and/or indicators, without any forward thinking about the baseline scenario or the pathway for change” (IDDRI, 2016).

This conclusion is not surprising because integrating or mainstreaming the SDGs into national planning presents a huge challenge for policy makers and planners due to the complex web of interconnections between the SDG sectors. Below we describe the results of the pilot application of a framework designed to overcome this challenge and demonstrate how governments and other stakeholders can effectively jumpstart domestication of the SDGs in a manner consistent with the overarching theme of the 2030 Agenda.

The application aimed to assess the extent to which the Government of Côte d’Ivoire’s national plan, as outlined in the National Prospective Study ‘Côte d’Ivoire 2040’ (NPS), can attain the 17 SDGs and, if necessary, to identify policy adjustments or further interventions that may help improve SDG attainment. To conduct the assessment, the Millennium Institute collaborated with the Côte d’Ivoire Government to develop a customised Integrated Sustainable Development Goals (T21-iSDG) model for Côte d’Ivoire. The model enables broad, cross-sector and long-term analyses of policies for SDG attainment, supporting the achievement of coherent SDG strategies.3

A scenario-based approach to SDG policy integration

The T21-iSDG model uses 78 indicators, covering all 17 SDGs to evaluate SDG attainment.4 A target value was assigned to each indicator. The performance of each SDG was calculated by taking the average of the performance of the available indicators for each target, and then the average of the available targets for each Goal. Results for the 17 SDGs were compared under three different scenarios shown in Figure 5.1. Simulating the model allows us to assess the level of achievement of the SDGs in the three scenarios, and to identify the individual contributions of each policy as well as synergies emerging from policy interactions (Figure 5.2).

Figure 5.2. Cote d’Ivoire progress on the SDGs

Note: The SDG wheel portrays the progress on the 17 SDGs by 2030 in three scenarios: ‘Business as Usual (BAU) scenario’ (i.e. no policy changes); ‘National Prospective Study (NPS) scenario’, reflecting the policies included in the NPS Cote d’Ivoire 2040; and ‘SDG scenario’ based on the NPS scenario but including a series of additional interventions for critical aspects that are not sufficiently covered in the NPS. The average SDG performance in the three scenarios is 21% (BAU), 50% (NPS) and 67% (SDG). Despite overall significant progress achieved in the SDG scenario, further efforts are needed to accelerate progress, especially on SDG4, SDG10, SDG14 and SDG15.

Source: Millennium Institute.

Multi-stakeholder engagement

The interventions used in the SDG scenario were selected through an iterative series of simulations. These were undertaken in a multi-stakeholder workshop setting with participating officials and experts from the Government of Côte d’Ivoire and civil society, and facilitated by modelers from the Millennium Institute. The participation was facilitated with a user-friendly model interface that allows users to easily adjust policies (often government expenditure amounts) under each SDG, quickly run simulations, observe resulting behavior patterns, and compare to other policy scenarios.

The model and its scenarios thus served as a platform for discussion, and as means to create a shared systemic understanding of the interrelated nature of the SDGs. This approach increased the acceptance and support for interventions. The dialogue also helped to highlight the contribution of different sectors and stakeholders in goal attainment.

Key Findings

The degrees of attainment for each of the 17 SDGs under the three scenarios at year 2030 are summarised in Figure 5.2. The overall degree of SDG attainment for all 17 goals in Côte d’Ivoire is shown in the centre of the diagram.5

The simulations show that the continuation of current policies (BAU scenario) leads to average achievement of the SDGs of about 21%. The level of achievement can be improved to about 50% with implementation of the policies included in the NPS. With the further strategic adjustments proposed in the SDG scenario, SDG attainment of about 67% could be achieved. This would require a major mobilisation of resources, including additional spending of about 15% of GDP (versus 4.5% in the NPS scenario), an increase in government revenues (by about 12% of GDP instead of 4%), and strengthening of redistribution and gender policies. In addition, an increase in the government effectiveness index of the order of 60% from the 2015 level (instead of 50% in the NPS scenario) and rapid implementation of these policies (as in the NPS scenario) are required. Nevertheless, even under the optimistic and ambitious assumptions of the SDG scenario, little improvement is observed for four SDGs – Goal 4, 10, 15 and 16, calling for the need to identify and assess further policy options for those goals.

The analysis also shows that interventions aimed at improving governance, health, education, gender issues, and climate change adaptation have substantial impacts across goals. Positive and negative synergies emerging from the joint implementation of all the policies included in the SDG scenario were also found. Especially for Goals 1, 2, 5, 10, 11, 14 and 15, the simulation results indicate positive synergies, in which the effects of the combined policies are greater than the sum of effects that results from implementing these policies one at a time. The positive synergies are due to the enabling conditions and reinforcing mechanisms caused by interactions between the policies. For Goals 6, 9 and 17, negative synergies were found, but overall, the contribution of synergies to the observed results is markedly positive, highlighting the importance of integrated planning and coherent implementation of interventions directed to achieve the SDGs. Figure 5.3 shows the contribution of each policy in the SDG scenario to the performance of the 17 SDGs.

Figure 5.3. Contribution of each policy in the SDG scenario to the performance of the 17 SDGs

Note: The chart shows the contribution of each policy in the ‘SDG scenario’ to the performance of the 17 SDGs. The light blue colour indicates the performance in the ‘BAU scenario’, i.e. in case no policy change is introduced. Interventions directed to improve governance, health, education, gender issues and climate change adaptation have substantial impacts across Goals. Positive synergies among the implemented policies appear for the majority of Goals, while large negative synergies emerge in a few cases (SDG6, SDG8, SDG9 and SDG17) primarily due to overachievement, indicating possible sources of saving in resources.

Source: Millennium Institute.

Closing comments

The iSDG model is not intended to reveal an optimal policy for SDG attainment. The purpose is, rather, to support shared learning within the complex SDG system. The model provides an interactive and user-friendly platform with which users can perform virtual experiments with a wide range of policy mixes, otherwise impracticable or impossible to conduct in the real world.

The model is best used in a moderated group setting with the participation of representatives from the institutions responsible for planning and implementing SDGs, as was done in Côte d’Ivoire. Use of the iSDG model in this fashion can help users overcome “silo” planning and identify integrated and efficient pathways to SDG attainment.

Policy coherence in legal frameworks, public planning and budgeting: Two studies on the implementation of SDGs by local and federal government in Brazil

by Patricia Almeida Ashley, Daiany do Nascimento Ferreira and Marcela Nunes Aguiar, Núcleo Girassol, Uff, Brazil

In studies conducted by Núcleo Girassol on the conception, understanding and implementation of sustainable development agendas, complexity theory and actor-network analysis have been used as a framework for describing, clarifying and possibly acting on forms of transition management which integrate corporate social responsibility and sustainable development goals. Complexity theory and actor-network analysis combine multi-level, multi-actor and multi-territorial (zone and network territories) perspectives in order to highlight gaps and advancement opportunities in past and current processes seeking to elaborate or implement social responsibility and sustainable development agendas.

Two social legal studies of this kind were completed in Brazil by Núcleo Girassol between 2013 to 2016. The first study6 looked at the role of municipal governments in implementing sustainable development themes and goals, and considered the scope of public policies delegated to them by the Brazilian Federal Constitution. The result of the survey was a database of more than 500 laws approved by local councils in 12 Brazilian cities between 2008 to 2013 which might contribute to the sustainable development agenda. They were parsed using text content analysis in order to evaluate a set of six variables:

  1. The coherence, completeness and clarity of the text of the law with regard to the financing and governance of its implementation;

  2. The sector in which public policies are delegated to municipalities by the law;

  3. The dimensions of sustainable development involved (environmental, economic, social and institutional);

  4. The SDG themes which the law applies to, as defined by Agenda 2030 (variable TODS – 17 themes of SDGs);

  5. The explicit reference to sustainable development in the text of law, indicating a strategic orientation towards sustainable development (variable OEDS – a binary variable of yes/no, 0/1);

  6. The perceived potential impact of the law on the territory and citizens (if fully implemented).

Several ideas and deliverables came out of this study on municipal laws and their contribution to the themes of the Agenda 2030 SDGs. Among them, (i) an app version of the study’s six-variable analytical tool for web and mobile use; and (ii) a set of instructional material targeted at public agents, social movements and organisations and designed to help build capacity in the domain of environmental education, policies and sustainable development. The synthesis in Table 5.1 shows that the SDGs have been unevenly taken up in the sample of municipal laws we studied, regardless of whether these laws have a strategic orientation towards sustainable development or not.

Table 5.1. Matrix TODS vs OEDS in the survey on 561 municipal laws of 12 capitals in Brazil

17 themes of the SDGs (TODS)

Strategic Orientation towards Sustainable Development (OEDS)

Total number of municipal laws in the database











































































Source: Núcleo Girassol.

Another conclusion from this study is that constitutional attributions, the level of dependence of municipalities on federal funding, capacity gaps in SDG-relevant fields, geographic situation and other contextual factors affecting municipalities need to be considered when assessing the possibilities and limitations of municipal policies in terms of implementing Agenda 2030 and other agendas for sustainable development. A further step for a follow-up study would be to check if, when and how those laws and public policies have been implemented and their impact in the short and medium term.

The second study looked at the federal level of government from August 2015 to August 2016. This was not an easy period in which to conduct research on this subject, given the political instability and institutional crisis which Brazil went through. As a result, we had to abandon our initial research design and fall back on a strictly documental study of the officially approved national Four Year Plan (PPA 2016-2019). What looked at first like a second-best approach proved to be a fruitful exercise at the end of the day, as it revealed two different strategic orientations: one expressed by the words of the PPA, the other by its budget allocation. Thus, policy coherence has to be viewed through the lens of budgets and not only narratives.

An original method was developed for qualitative and quantitative analysis of the contribution of the PPA 2016-2019 programs to the implementation of Agenda 2030, which included:

  • A matrix of content analysis of the thematic approximation of narratives in the 54 public policy programs of the PPA 2016-2019, which generated a hierarchy of Conceptual Contribution of the PPA´s 54 programs towards the Agenda 2030´s 17 SDGs;

  • A simple quantitative analysis of the total budgeted value allocated for each of the PPA´s 54 programs, which generated another hierarchy of the 54 programs of the PPA;

  • A combined measure of conceptual contribution weighted by the budget allocated to each of the 54 programs for each of the 17 SDGs, which generated a Hierarchy of the SDGs in the Strategic Orientation of the Brazilian PPA 2016-2019.

The research was conducted by Marcela Nunes Aguiar, supervised by Professor Patricia Almeida Ashley and sponsored by CNPq. Ongoing efforts (the extent of which are dependent on additional funding) seek to communicate the methods and results to relevant target audiences, including both scientists and practitioners. We continue to integrate teaching, research and extension projects at Universidade Federal Fluminense to an animated audience of a new generation of engaged students in the environmental undergraduate and graduate courses.

Quantitative and qualitative tools for tracking progress on policy coherence

Sustainable Development Goal 17 (means of implementation) includes Target 17.14, to “enhance policy coherence for sustainable development”. In order to gain a sense of where governments stand, and what their respective strengths and weaknesses are, a way to measure progress would be helpful. However, like some of the other means of implementation set out in Goal 17, PCSD lays more emphasis on processes and resources than on ultimate outcomes. It is therefore challenging to measure, or even define, a target for PCSD in a rigorous outcome-oriented way.

An interesting approach worth referring to is the “Sustainability Monitor” developed in the Netherlands which covers the three dimensions outlined in the OECD’s analytical framework on PCSD: here and now, elsewhere, and later, and measures Dutch sustainability performance in each of these areas. Although this might help highlight potential policy incoherencies, it tells us little about where and how these incoherencies might have arisen. Thus, additional evaluation methods are required to help policy-makers understand and correct the root causes of policy incoherence.

For example, was it insufficient inter-ministerial collaboration that created the incoherence, or were relevant actors excluded from the decision-making process? Measuring and quantifying a phenomenon as multi-facetted and complex as PCSD will always present a challenge, which explains why much theoretical and analytical work remains to be done, and should be encouraged, in this area.

Insights from our Partners

Ensuring greater policy coherence for sustainable development is a responsibility shared across a wide chain of actors, including governments, the private sector, CSOs and ordinary citizens. In the first contribution to this section, Elizabeth Moses-Mullard looks at ways in which the OECD’s PCSD framework can be expanded in order to better define the roles of these actors and facilitate the work of social volunteers.

Broad internationally comparable indices can be powerful tools for measuring progress on PCSD and spurring reform. In the second contribution, Owen Barder and Anita Käppeli draws some interesting lessons based on the Center for Global Development’s experience with their Commitment to Development Index.

Progress on PCSD relies on a multitude of factors and cannot be measured simply at one level. In the third contribution to this section, Vrajlal Sapovadia presents Green Matrix, a complex methodology spanning micro, macro and meso-levels through the combination of three different tools: a Poverty Stop Light, a Green Accounting framework and a Green Auditing framework.

New analytical tools are undoubtedly crucial, but tracking progress on policy coherence is not exclusively a technical question. In the last contribution to this section, Jussi Kanner looks at the role that civil society can (and should) play in the design of indicators and interpretation of data, based on the Finnish national monitoring, accountability and review framework on sustainable development.

Cripplers, ripplers and sustainers: Looking at policy coherence in action

by Elizabeth Moses-Mullard, AlphaZULU Advocates

Tracking progress on policy coherence will require a much broader and more holistic concept of “success” which integrates both the impact of policy on the priorities that are acted on and the opportunity cost of priorities foregone, measured “here and now”, “elsewhere” and “later”. AlphaZULU Advocates is currently leading research that builds on OECD’s theoretical framework of policy coherence for sustainable development – PCSD to provide evidence-based suggestions for mitigating problems associated with the politics of policy implementation. Whereas the OECD focuses on “enablers” and “disablers”, our research looks at “cripplers”, “ripplers” and “sustainers”. This can be a useful tool for synchronisation across social, economic and environmental policy areas. It can also help create awareness of the subtle but potentially frustrating “ripplers” who take progress one step forward and two steps back. In an open letter to the previous UN Secretary-General, we made the observation that about a quarter of the UK population volunteered regularly. This in itself is an indicator of social progress which can help accelerate the implementation of the SDGs, but what does it mean for sustainable economic development? We also advocated the need for the UN to engage in an online dialogue and encourage local forums to capture the voices of volunteers directly, gather more evidence, monitor progress and reduce the exposition of volunteers to economic and social exploitation. Furthermore, we urged that Governments introduce a publicly-funded minimum stipend for volunteers thereby creating an encouraging environment for economic independence especially for youth, the unemployed and migrant populations.

Designing better tools for measuring policy coherence: Lessons from 14 years of CDI

by Owen Barder and Anita Käppeli, Center for Global Development

Successful policies for sustainable development require analytical tools to measure progress and enable mutual learning for policy makers and the public alike. But policy coherence does not just happen within a country: developing and developed countries need to work closely together to improve their policies, identify best practices and monitor their actions to achieve the SDGs.

We already have analytical tools to assess government policies that affect development, which have been in place for many years before the agreement on SDGs and from which there is much to learn, build on and incorporate for future analysis. Learning from past experience will help us avoid mistakes in the future. We should aim to establish a widely accepted and easy-to-use analytical tool for policymakers, the public and media alike in measuring our progress towards the achievement of the global goals set out in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The best known independent quantitative measure of policy coherence is the Commitment to Development Index (CDI), published annually by the Center for Global Development (CGD) since 2003. It was the first comprehensive index measuring the impact of rich countries’ policies on poor countries, showing how the decisions of policy-makers in 27 rich countries affect the lives of billions of people in poorer countries. It serves as a tool for assessing policy coherence and draws attention to the need to consider a range of other policies alongside aid. The CDI foreshadowed the universal agenda of the SDGs by evaluating policy in the areas of aid, trade, finance, migration, security, environment and technology, and by raising public awareness regarding the impact of policy choices on lives in developing countries. Therefore, it tells us about policy choices “here and now” (the 27 CDI countries are all OECD member states) while also evaluating these policies in terms of their effects “elsewhere” (in non-OECD countries) and the economic, social and environmental consequences they will have “later” on the lives of future generations.

The CDI gives credit for generous and high-quality aid, financial transparency and sustainable bilateral and multilateral investment agreements. It rewards robust investments in technological research and development, policies that protect the environment, open and fair trade policies, contributions to global security, and open immigration policies. Scores are reduced for barriers to imports from developing countries, selling arms to poor and undemocratic nations, limited technology sharing, and policies that harm global public goods.

What have we learned from 14 editions of the CDI? There are several recommendations we could make for creating a tool measuring the progress of countries on the 17 SDG goals and 169 targets, as well as the links between them:

  • Data availability shapes measurement tools. The CDI measures policy change in seven components with numerous indicators for each. In order to increase acceptance of measures, these should be transparent and build on publicly available data. The availability of data limits the choice of indicators. Finding publicly available data has sometimes been a challenge, even for the 27 CDI-countries which are among the richest countries in the world. When focusing on developing a measurement for progress in the implementation of SDGs, we should not forget this. Out of the 230 indicators for the SDGs, only 42% are Tier I, meaning they have an established methodology and regularly accessible data, according to the Interagency and Expert Group on the SDG Indicators (IAEG-SDG). As CGD has demonstrated, only 62% of Tier 1 indicators – or 25% of all indicators – could be found online in a publicly accessible format.

  • Any methodological approach designed to measure progress on policy coherence for sustainable development should be simple, straightforward and easy to replicate. To increase its use and acceptance, the chosen indicators should be easily understandable by all involved actors: policy makers, media as well as the public in different countries. In line with our approach for the CDI, all indicators should be publicly available and transparent. Also, although we would like to measure progress in the achievement of the SDGs “here and now”, we have to be transparent about time lags in the official data used.

  • As our experience with the CDI demonstrates, many countries are willing to discuss their results and learn from each other.

  • A good and successful analytical tool can have additional desirable effects. As we have seen with the CDI, a transparent analysis can provoke debate on which policies matter and how we measure them, thereby promoting more data collection and research.

  • Although the CDI does evaluate the effect of policies “here and now” on the life of people “elsewhere”, we think it is important not to over-emphasise this division. The development friendly policies of wealthy countries are good for us all. These policies also carry positive spillovers for the SDGs: sustainable production and consumption (goal 12) benefits people in poor and rich countries, as does global climate action (goal 13) for instance. The PCSD-Community has an obligation to make sure that we not only develop efficient and transparent tools for measuring the links between the SDGs, but that we demonstrate how the implementation of the SDGs links poor and wealthy nations and people. The latter is especially important in view of recent political developments in rich countries threatening global co-operation.

The good news is that in the last 14 years, there has been considerable progress—the CDI shows that rich countries can do more to fight global poverty and have done so. 24 out of the 27 CDI countries have improved their overall score since our first edition in 2003, thereby demonstrating that more equal international policies are possible. We have seen that wealthy countries now have a better understanding of sustainable development and of the fact that it requires action in different policy sectors that go beyond aid only. That is good news for the SDGs.

Green Matrix: Alternative solutions for measuring, tracking and monitoring the impact of the SDGs

by Vrajlal Sapovadia, Techno Consult

The ‘Green Matrix’ tool set uses a combination of three elements (a poverty stop light; green accounting; and green auditing) to monitor the impact of economic, social and environmental policy at a micro-level (individuals, families). By operating at this level, Green Matrix achieves two things. It acts as an “early warning system” that can help rapidly correct measures that are failing to fulfil their goals. It also integrates stakeholder feedback to a large degree, allowing families to trace their own poverty map and develop and implement clear plans for overcoming the problems they face. Furthermore, by breaking down the often “overwhelming” concept of multi-dimensional poverty into a series of smaller manageable problems, it makes these plans more likely to succeed.

The Poverty Stop Light

The Poverty Stoplight Methodology is aimed at vulnerable families. It helps them deal effectively with the multidimensional aspects of poverty. Poverty Stop Light is a visual tool including multiple indicators along six major dimensions: Income & Employment; Health & Environment; Housing & Infrastructure; Education & Culture; Organisation & Participation; and Interiority & Motivation. Each indicator can have three values: Red (extreme poverty), Yellow (poverty) and Green (out of poverty). These indicators are conceived to be modular and adaptable to local conditions.

Developing a framework for Green Accounting

Traditional accounting systems do not sufficiently consider non-financial forms of loss. In fact, a firm may indirectly consume social and environmental resources. Accounting systems also tend to ignore the contribution of eco-systems to human welfare as well as environmental damage. The ‘Green Accounting’ framework is an emerging sustainable development tool that provides an alternative and systematic way of incorporating the value of environmental contributions. Green accounting attempts to factor environmental costs into financial results. It is part of an emerging field that has been gaining momentum with the SDGs. There is an urgent need for methods of identification, measurement and assessment that integrate environmental variables which are not captured by traditional accounting and economic reporting. This framework can help policy-makers allocate resources, determine and adjust tax bases, and foster more equitable wealth distribution.

Developing a ‘Green Audit Framework’ that can ensure greater policy coherence in areas with important cross-border dimensions and a high poverty reduction impact

In 2015, the United Nations adopted 17 Sustainable Development Goals and 169 targets for 2030, their implementation being the collective responsibility of governments, the private sector, civil society and citizens. Achieving these goals will require a decentralised institutional framework and, maybe even more importantly, a system of continuous independent auditing at the local level. The goals and targets interact with one other and can sometimes conflict. The ‘Green Audit Framework’ is a qualitative and quantitative tool that takes account of economic, environmental and social factors. It will help ensure that results remain in synch with set targets. It will also help minimise or mitigate environmental damage due to poor alignment between targets or territorial units.

Developing tools that can track progress on policy coherence by better capturing the links between economic, social and environmental values, as well as the effects of policies on the wellbeing of current and future generations

The effective implementation of SDGs relies on co-ordinated action by different institutions and stakeholders, coupled with a monitoring system that tracks progress using a meaningful measure. The actions required to simultaneously pursue 169 targets and 17 goals are inherently complex. Outcomes will have to appreciate the many links through which economic, social and environmental values interact, as well as the effects that policies have on the wellbeing of current and future generations. Here too the main challenge consists in identifying meaningful indicators that can assist governments and international agencies in making decisions. Sensitivity analysis could help gauge the impact of variables on one another. Simulations can help track progress over multiple targets, providing insight for policy coherence.

Though institutional and governance frameworks are essential for achieving development goals, no institutional compliance mechanism is fool-proof. It is critical that stakeholders be empowered and made accountable for realising the SDGs within the given timeframe. The MDGs and SDGs were designed for a 15-year period. A country must review its performance every quarter and immediate corrective measures must be undertaken where needed. Appropriate checks and controls should be applied and kept effective at all time. Sufficient resources must be deployed, but more importantly a strong commitment by leaders is a sine-qua-non for success.

Green Matrix

Green Matrix measures impact at three levels: the Poverty Stop Light deals with micro-level impact, (i.e. on individuals and family units); Green Accounting applies to project-level impact; and Green Audit examines impact at the macro-level. A multi-pronged strategy relying on the active partnership of all stakeholders is likely to be most effective. The private sector can play a major role in the fight against climate change, notably by providing resources and expertise. So can international development agencies. Informal checks are also important. In this respect, civil society, academia, research institutes, activists, journalists, donors and the public at large can help monitor project managers and politicians and keep them on target, or reveal corruption and ensure the equitable delivery of services. Green Matrix is a development framework that tries to take account of all these levels (micro, macro and meso) and as many dimensions and actors as possible.

The role of CSOs in tracking progress on policy coherence

by Jussi Kanner, Kehys

While it is important to develop new analytical tools and use large datasets and comprehensive indices for tracking progress in PCSD, there is also a need to facilitate dialogue and provide platforms for various stakeholders to participate in the interpretation of those datasets. This is especially crucial now that the 2030 Agenda principle of Leaving No One Behind ensures that the most marginalised and excluded communities do not fall off the radar. Civil society can play a part in facilitating such a dialogue and give voice to groups that might easily remain unheard otherwise.

In Finland, we are currently developing a national monitoring, accountability and review framework for sustainable development in a multi-stakeholder expert network, under the leadership of the Prime Minister’s Office. The expert network is tasked with proposing a national 2030 Agenda indicator set, which can highlight cross-sectoral impacts of policies and thus also help monitor PCSD. The indicator set will be accompanied by various platforms to engage with academia, civil society and the private sector, as well as citizens, in order to complement the indicator analysis and assist in the regular interpretation of indicator data. Such broad-based pluralistic interpretation and analysis will be crucial for monitoring PCSD in light of the Leave No One Behind principle.

Potential areas of work

Finally, the online discussion highlighted some areas where further work and research are needed:

  • Identifying indicators for tracking progress on PCSD. There is no agreement at present on what set of indicators should be used to track progress on the procedural element of PCSD. Yet, it is evident that such indicators are necessary in order to make the PCSD approach fully operational. While a global level indicator has already been suggested (Number of countries with mechanisms in place to enhance policy coherence for sustainable development), alternative and complementary indicators must be found that can track progress on the regional, national and local governance levels.

  • Focusing the analysis on the underlying causes of policy incoherence. With much of the political discussion centred on the policy dimension of the SDGs, more attention should be paid to fostering an “SDG mindset” that can enable and guide coherent and truly transformational action towards sustainable development.

  • Facilitating the sharing of information and experiences regarding institutional adjustment and innovation for a coherent implementation of SDGs. The recent discussions and reports on the experience of early adopters has brought forth the diversity of approaches chosen by governments to put themselves and their societies on a trajectory towards sustainable development. Instead of “one-size-fits-all” schemes, mutual learning, exchange of best practices, and country-specific adaptation could all help tailor the implementation of SDGs to different contexts.


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Ashley, P.A. (2014), “Towards a territorial, multi-actor and multi-level approach for sustainable development cooperation and social responsibility policies”. In: Dick Foeken; Ton Dietz; Leo de Haan; Linda Johnson. (Org.). Development and Equity: An Interdisciplinary Exploration by Ten Scholars from Africa, Asia and Latin America, 1ed., Leiden: Brill, 2014, v. 1, p. 105-117. ISBN 9789004269729

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Ashley, P.A. (coord). (2005). Ética e Responsabilidade Social nos Negócios, 2nd edition, Sao Paulo, Saraiva. ISBN: 9788502050679

Ashley, P.A. and D Crowther (ed.) (2016), Territories of Social Responsibility: Opening the Research and Policy Agenda, New York, Routledge.

Ashley, P.A., R.F.B. Ferraz, T.F. Albuquerque (2014), “Advancing participatory monitoring for accountability in sustainable development agenda through multi-actor and multi-level partnerships and web based tools: A case of the Agenda 21 Comperj Initiative and Ecocidades Program”. In: The World We Want Case Studies in Participatory Monitoring and Accountability: A Means of Implementation for the Post-2015 Agenda, New York, UNICEF, UN Women and UNDP.

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IDDRI (2016), SDG implementation: What are the countries doing? An assessment of the voluntary reviews submitted to the High-Level Political Forum, No. 17/16, December 2016, Governance, Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations.

Kamphof, R. and E. Van Ewijk (2016), Beyond Cotonou: European development cooperation after 2020 – A perspective for CSOs, Kaleidos Research, Amsterdam.

Kamphof, R. and G. Spitz (2016), Ready to change? European actors and their challenges and opportunities of the 2030 Agenda, Ready for change? Global goals at home and abroad, Amsterdam, Kaleidos Research in Partos, Amsterdam.

Kamphof, R., G. Spitz, G and E. Boonstoppel (2015), Financing development now and in the future: Implications for the Netherlands and beyond, Kaleidos Research, Amsterdam.

Kharas, H. (2010), The emerging middle class in developing countries, OECD Development Centre Working Paper, vol. 285, Paris, France.

Nilsson, M., D. Griggs and M. Visbeck (2016), Map the interactions between Sustainable Development Goals, Nature, 534(7607), p. 320–22.

O’Connor, et al. (2016), Universality, Integration, and Policy Coherence for Sustainable Development: Early SDG Implementation in Selected OECD Countries, Working Paper, World Resources Institute, Washington D.C.

OECD (2014), Scoping the new measure of total official support for development, paper presented to the OECD Development Assistance Committee on 3 July 2014, OECD Development Co-operation Directorate.

Persson, Å; N. Weitz and M. Nilsson (2016), Follow-up and Review of the Sustainable Development Goals: Alignment vs. Internalization, Review of European, Comparative and International Environmental Law, 25(1), p. 59–68.

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Spitz, G., R. Kamphof and L. Hogeling (2016), Small business, global impact? Approaches of Dutch SMEs to the Sustainable Development Goals. Retrieved from

Spitz, G., E. Van Ewijk and R. Kamphof (2016), Global goals, local action? Approaches of Dutch Local Governments to the Sustainable Development Goals. Retrieved from Amsterdam:

Spitz, G., R. Kamphof and E. Van Ewijk (2015), Wait-and-see or take the lead? Approaches of Dutch CSOs to the Sustainable Development Goals. Retrieved from Amsterdam:

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ANNEX 5.A1. Profiles of members of the PCSD partnership

AlphaZULU Advocates

AlphaZULU Advocates is a start-up Initiative and member of the OECD PCSD Partnership, with operations in the UK and Nigeria, developing operations in the UK and Nigeria, developing strategies for advocating the global goals and for enhancing policy coherence for sustainable development. Our current projects include:

  • A PPF on SDGs (Public-Parliamentary Forum on Sustainable Development Goals) launched in collaboration with the UK Parliament’s Outreach and Engagement Service specifically to bring the public directly in contact with Clerks of Parliamentary Select Committees, obtain information on thematic areas of inquiries by the Committees relevant to the SDGs and contribute evidence on SDG implementation;

  • Special SDGs Events which we are piloting across London Boroughs in collaboration with local environmental groups to drive advocacy from the bottom-up, engage local dialogue and encourage local SDGs action groups for local implementation of the SDGs;

  • Capacity building workshops for groups seeking to link their Campaigns to the Sustainable Development Goals;

  • Short term research engagement and skills development to contribute to improving policy coherence for good governance.

Center for Global Development

The Center for Global Development (CGD) is an independent, nonpartisan “think-and-do tank” that works to reduce global poverty and inequality through research and active engagement with the policy community. Headquartered in Washington, DC and with a presence in Europe through its London-based CGD Europe office, CGD engages in work that melds rigorous research with strategic outreach and communications aimed at informing, promoting, and provoking meaningful policy change. We maintain a singular focus on global economic development, addressed through a range of channels including private investment, trade, debt, migration, aid, global health, and access to finance, gender and development, technology, and energy.

CGD publishes the Commitment to Development Index (CDI). It annually ranks 27 of the world’s richest countries on policies that affect the more than five billion people living in poorer nations. Those policies extend well beyond giving foreign aid, which is just one of the seven components on the CDI. It also evaluates the policies of rich countries in the following domains: trade, finance, security, environment, migration, and technology. The CDI combines more than a hundred different indicators of rich countries’ policies. Most countries do well in some categories but badly in others. Thus the CDI provides valuable information to rich countries about what policy areas they could focus on to make more of a difference to the lives of the global poor – as well as benefit their own economies. If countries all improved their policies in areas where they are lagging, that alone would have a big impact on development. The CDI is therefore a valuable policy coherence instrument for policymakers and cross-border dimensions of their policies. The Index is also intended to spark debate about the effects of rich-country policies on developing countries, and to encourage research about how best to measure them. By ranking rich countries’ policy efforts, the Index hopes to inspire a race to the top— motivating advocacy inside and out of government for more development-friendly policies.

In our first fifteen years, CGD has succeeded in moving several significant ideas to action. The Center has helped inform policies of international financial institutions, the G-8 and G-20, and individual donor country governments. CGD has strong intellectual roots and thought leadership in financial innovation and results-based approaches for development, from the original design of the Advance Market Commitments (AMC) approach and its application to vaccines, malaria, agriculture, and climate change; the creation of a new cross-sector development financing mechanism called Development Impact Bonds (DIBs), currently in several pilot phases; and the Center’s signature Cash on Delivery (COD) Aid approach that repositions foreign aid programs to better emphasise results, encourage innovation, and strengthen accountability. CGD also promoted a $1 trillion package to help developing countries respond to the global financial crisis, provided the analytical foundation for Nigeria’s $30 billion debt buyback, and fostered the creation of the International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie).

European Centre for Development Policy Management

The European Centre for Development Policy Management (ECDPM) is an independent ‘think and do tank’ working since 1986 on international co-operation and development policy in Europe and Africa. It is based in Maastricht and in Brussels.

ECDPM has a long history of dealing with the impetus for policy coherence and the frameworks that have resulted from it, mainly but not only in EU countries. This involvement takes the form of publications: landmark studies and contribution to others; country case studies as well as thematic research on areas of expertise such as food security or technical aspects such as indicators – to quote only a few recent works.

The latest study discusses the respective roles and ways forward for PCD and PCSD in the 2030 Agenda, and it is presented within this collective work.

ECDPM also contributes to debates on coherence by engaging with decision makers and organising workshops for practitioners and for the broader public. It also manages a Policy Coherence Community of Practice bringing together several OECD donors with particularly advanced policy coherence systems, which convenes biannually.

Kaleidos Research

Kaleidos Research is a research organisation based in The Netherlands. Its work focuses on global issues, sustainability of nature and society, global citizenship and development education. We co-operate with and work for governments, political and social organisations, the business community and the academic sector.

Kaleidos Research conducts policy research, as well as evaluation and opinion research. In its research on the UN Agenda 2030 and SDG implementation, Kaleidos Research uses a wide variety of methods, both qualitative and quantitative. In doing so, Kaleidos Research tries to include behavioural and attitudinal dimensions into more traditional policy analysis. It also aims to make knowledge available to a broader public, by writing accessible articles for public media and developing innovative dissemination tools. The Kaleidos Research YouTube Channel notably proposes a 90-second movie explaining the Sustainable Development Goals.

Kaleidos Research has already published extensively on the UN Agenda 2030 and SDG implementation. It is conducting research on multiple SDG-related topics, as well as on diverse societal actors and stakeholders involved in enhancing Policy Coherence for Sustainable Development. As a result, Kaleidos Research has explored Dutch CSOs’ willingness to work on SDG implementation (Spitz et al, 2015), as well as that of local governments (Spitz et al, 2016) and Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (Spitz et al, 2016). Furthermore, Kaleidos Research has reviewed SDG implementation in The Netherlands (Van Ewijk et al, 2016), across EU Member States (Kamphof and Spitz in Partos, 2016), its relation with Financing for Development (Kamphof et al, 2015) and policy coherence for sustainable development in EU development co-operation (Kamphof and Van Ewijk, 2016). Forthcoming publications include the role of the private sector in SDG governance (Kamphof, 2017, forthcoming).

Kaleidos Research is part of Stichting NCDO. The Stichting NCDO hosts a multi-media platform on sustainable development topics ( It is also a member of the multi-stakeholder Dutch ‘SDG charter’ ( Kaleidos Research is a research organization with a mission. We use our expertise and drive for analytical excellence to contribute to a more just and sustainable world.


The Finnish NGDO Platform to the European Union, Kehys, is an advocacy network of Finnish NGOs that are interested in the European Union’s efforts to reduce poverty globally. Kehys works for Policy Coherence for Sustainable Development: better and more coherent policies in the fields of human development, security and development, and green and sustainable economy. Kehys also works for active citizenship and a stronger civil society. Kehys has approximately 40 member associations, Finnish NGOs working on development issues.

Kehys promotes PCSD in Finland in national multi-stakeholder platforms, the National Commission for Sustainable Development and the Development Policy Committee. Kehys works actively in European and global networks including CONCORD, SDG Watch, Action 4 Sustainable Development, International Forum of Platforms and Bridge47.

Lady Lawyer Foundation

The Lady Lawyer Foundation (LLF) is a non-governmental organisation established in December 2014 with the aim to:

  • put human right standards at the heart of global governance and policy-making and to ensure that the needs of the poorest and most vulnerable are addressed worldwide;

  • provide a trusted, impartial space for dialogue and independent analysis in order to deepen the understanding of human rights challenges;

  • address problems for which the law may be unclear, where accountability and responsibility may not be well-defined, and where legitimate dispute settlement mechanism may be non-existent or poorly administered;

  • raise corporate standards and strengthen public policy to ensure that the activities of companies do not contribute to human rights abuses, and in fact lead to positive solutions.

Since 2015, May, LLF has joined United Nations Global Compact (UNGC), pledging to participate in and engage with UNGC in the following ways:

  1. engaging with Global Compact Local Networks;

  2. joining and/or proposing Partnership Projects on Corporate Sustainability;

  3. engaging companies in Global Compact-related issues;

  4. joining and/or supporting special initiatives and workstreams;

  5. providing commentary to companies on Communications on Progress;

  6. participating in Global Compact global and local events, according to engagement options.

Since 2015, LLF has become an Organizational Partner of the Athena Film Festival (

LLF supports initiatives which are consistent with UN Goals:

LLF focuses on Cultural and Creative Industries (CCIs) as areas that are central to corporate leadership today and essential for the transition to sustainable markets, and in particular the so-called F.A.M.E. sector (F – Fashion A – Art M – Music E – Entertainment). Within this framework, it has realised Lady Lawyer Fashion Archive (LLFA) (, a collection constituted of more than 500 different pieces from five continents, illustrating the link between fashion industry, Human Rights and Sustainable Development Goals.

Millennium Institute

The Millennium Institute (MI) is a non-profit, non-governmental organisation passionate about improving the welfare of individuals on every continent by working with stakeholders to meet the challenges of sustainable development. Our vision is a world in which decision makers apply a systemic perspective to bring about a sustainable, equitable, and peaceful global society. We use the System Dynamics modeling method to develop customised policy simulators that examine multiple development futures, and together with stakeholders, identify policy choices that leverage positive synergies and minimise or mitigate the unintended consequences of policy decisions. In our three decades of experience, we have assisted more than 40 nations and regional groups throughout the process of identifying goals and strategies that offer all people access to food, water, health care, education, and equal opportunities for women and men.

To support implementation of the 2030 Agenda, the MI has developed the Integrated Sustainable Development Goal (iSDG) model, an interactive policy simulation tool that helps stakeholders concerned with achieving the SDGs to make sense of the complex and interlinked SDGs system, and to design efficient pathways towards the goals. The simulator can be used by policy-makers, program planners, implementation and evaluation specialists, and other stakeholders across government and society. Its key strength is its ability to simulate a broad variety of policies simultaneously. This enables the assessment of positive and negative synergies, which is essential for coherent policy design and for effective resource allocation.

At MI, we approach our work differently than others: The iSDG policy simulator is customised in consultation with stakeholders to create a unique tool that reflects the dynamic structure and mechanisms of the country. We then perform scenario analyses of proposed interventions to understand their impacts, coherence, synergies, and bottlenecks. The stakeholder engagement process ensures that all perspectives are heard and considered in the policy decisions. From the insights obtained, we provide a report of SDG policy options and recommendations, which can be used to report progress to the UN. We also train stakeholders to use the simulator for ongoing policy analysis and to monitor country progress towards the SDGs.

The simulator has been applied in Cote d’Ivoire and is currently being applied in Senegal and Malawi. MI’s objective is to apply the simulator in all the UN member states.

Núcleo Girassol

Núcleo Girassol de Estudos em EcoPolíticas e EConsCiencias is an interdisciplinary research group registered in the Information Science section of the Brazilian CNPq directory. It has its home in the Department of the Geoenvironmental Analysis, at the Institute of Geosciences of Universidade Federal Fluminense. The co-ordinator is Professor Patricia Almeida Ashley.

Núcleo Girassol engages in research projects, teaching and outreach around two thematic fields: education for citizenship, social responsibility and sustainable development; and public governance and policies for sustainable development. These two fields were defined as a result of previous research and outreach projects investigating:

  1. The different understandings and approaches to corporate social responsibility within Brazil and between Europe and the USA (Ashley, 2005);

  2. The challenges created by global supply chains according to the institutional conditions of each different countries and in international trade and investment foreign policies (Ashley, 2012);

  3. The search for a global agenda reconciling the agendas in the fields of corporate social responsibility, development and equity (Ashley et al, 2016; Ashley, 2014);

  4. The challenge of implementing the local sustainable development plans of Agenda 21 into coherent municipal public policies in Brazil, based on an integrated comparative case study of 14 municipalities and a short course on leadership for sustainable development for 53 members in 14 Local Agenda 21 areas (Ashley et al, 2014).

The lessons drawn from these projects and other experiences contributed to a deconstruction of the beautiful narratives generated by corporate social responsibility and sustainable development agendas, even when these narratives are well-intentioned and result in impressive constructs for global, regional, national or local government or governance arenas, in both mandatory or voluntary form. When we study the issue empirically, we often find the incongruent or divided mental models of ‘decision-makers’ expressed in new laws, policy plans, course curriculum, propaganda, production and consumption values and behavior.

Stockholm Environment Institute

The Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) is an international non-profit research organisation that has worked on environment and development issues, from local to global policy levels, for more than a quarter of a century. SEI aims to shift policy and practice towards sustainability, always in close collaboration with stakeholders.

SEI has a comprehensive approach to its work on Agenda 2030 which involves providing evidence-based policy support, designing tools and methods, creating space for knowledge exchange, and undertaking research on integrated approaches to policy implementation. Some of the most significant outputs produced during 2016 include journal articles and reports examining policy coherence for sustainable development (PCSD) as a conceptual basis for SDG implementation and the nature of commitments that countries have made (O’Connor et al, 2016); implications of different types of follow-up and review arrangements (Persson et al, 2016); as well as the development of a draft mapping framework for understanding SDG interactions (Nilsson et al, 2016). The latter garnered significant attention among international organisations, governments and national agencies as a means of analysing interactions between goals and targets. Building on this, previous work on policy coherence and cross-impact balance methods, SEI expanded its work on systemic analysis of the SDGs with the objective of helping decision-makers account for these effects in strategic planning.

During 2016 SEI remained a key partner of the Independent Research Forum (; the OECD Policy Coherence for Sustainable Development Partnership (; contributed to the NDC Explorer ( and the International Council for Science’s (ICSU) worked on the SDGs; and engaged with governments to support their SDG implementation, including the development of a Nordic programme on the SDGs for the Nordic Council of Ministers.

Techno Consult

Techno Consult is a consultancy firm engaged in providing services to MSMEs and co-operatives to improve their performance as measurable on a triple bottom line. We believe that business is only sustainable if it operates across the value chain; keeping in mind the need to generate benefit on the economic, social and environmental front. In its endeavour to help MSMEs and co-operatives become active agents for the SDGs, Techno Consult is specialised in the application of Green Matrix tools, Green Auditing and Green Accounting. Our consulting services cover the design of cost strategy, cost reduction and quality control based on planned annual growth integrating environmental and social cost benefit analysis. As a social enterprise, Techno Consult works on principles of equity, ethics and entrepreneurship in three spheres - client, end users and society. Techno Consult provides consulting advice based on solid research and evidence. The firm’s intellectual team is headed by Dr. Vrajlal Sapovadia, former faculty member at the Indian Institute of Management. Other members of the team include Dr. Swetha Kolluri, a Yale scholar, and Dr Sweta Patel. Techno Consult believes that co-operative organisations are an ideal vehicle for implementing the SDGs, and hence its services to co-operatives are given a high priority.

Centre for Socio-Eco-Nomic Development (new Partner)

The Centre for Socio-Eco-Nomic Development (CSEND) is a non-governmental research and development organisation (NGRDO) registered in Geneva since 1993. CSEND is ECOSOC accredited and holds special consultative status.

CSEND representatives have provided inputs to the UN DESA HLPF process over the last four years as members of UN DESA Expert Group on the future directions and network of scientific contributors, (2013) , on the Agenda-setting for the high-level political forum on sustainable development implementation (2014) , as moderator of HLPF session in 2015 and as member of drafting committees preparing chapter on the science-policy interface and on Chapter 6 with special focus on LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS (2015).

Representatives of CSEND are members of the academic network of the OECD Guidelines on Responsible Business Conduct for multinational enterprises as well as members of the UNECE steering group on PPPs (SDG 17). CSEND research focuses on policy coherence issues e.g. relating to CBD vs WTO, TRIPS vs WHO, COP21+ vs WTO, FTA vs Labour Rights, and Right to war vs. Respect of Geneva Conventions.

Diplomacy Dialogue, a branch of CSEND, specialises on dialogue between state and non-state actors and the different forms of conflict resolution through bilateral, plurilateral, multilateral and multi-stakeholder negotiations.

Subsequent to large institution development projects in China, Slovenia, Russia and Bolivia, CSEND experts deepened their understanding of the factors which can ensure effective interministerial policy co-ordination and policy consultation (PCC) which are needed to successfully implement the SDGs.

Effective PCC eliminates policy programs that duplicate actions and regulations. PCC is a necessary element to manage cross-cutting issues of policy-making inherent in the implementation of SDGs.


← 1. There is no unique definition of the creative economy. It is a subjective concept that is still taking shape. The term appeared in 2001 with John Howkins’ book “The Creative Economy: How People Make Money From Ideas”. Law for Creativity defines the creative economy as being based on people’s use of their creative imagination to increase an idea’s value.

← 2. The definition of creative industries and their relation to the parallel concept of cultural industries is an object of disagreement among academic and policy-making circles. Sometimes a distinction is made between these two terms and sometimes they are used interchangeably. The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) defines creative industries as ones that use creativity and intellectual capital as primary inputs. They constitute a set of knowledge-based activities, focused on but not limited to arts, that can potentially generate revenues from trade and intellectual property rights. Similarly, the World Intellectual Property Organization’s 2003 Guide on Surveying the Economic Contribution of the Copyright-Based Industries uses the term cultural industries to refer to industries generating products with a culturally significant content that can be reproduced on an industrial scale. The term creative industries has a wider meaning which includes all cultural or artistic production, whether live or unique, and is traditionally used in relation to live performances, cultural heritage and similar ‘high-art’ activities.

← 3. The T21-iSDG model is described in detail in Better Policies for Sustainable Development 2016: A New Framework for Policy Coherence available at http:/ and in the Global Sustainable Development Report 2016 available at A demonstration version of the model, along with full documentation, is available at

← 4. The indicators of the T21-iSDG model are consistent with the Inter-agency and Expert Group on Sustainable Development Goal Indicators (IAEG-SDGs). See for a complete list of SDG targets and indicators.

← 5. Performance values at year 2030 should not be construed as point predictions but rather as means of comparison.

← 6. ‘Projeto de mapeamento de políticas municipais de desenvolvimento territorial sustentável nas cidades-sede da Copa Fifa 2014 e Jogos Olímpicos Rio 2016’