The 2030 Agenda is a universal, collective responsibility that covers all levels: global, national and territorial. The increased complexity and interconnectedness of the world, combined with the growing perception of unfair globalisation and the erosion of trust in the multilateral system, have considerably expanded the range of global policy challenges which cannot be solved by any one country alone. This calls for a stronger and more coherent multilateral system that helps to reconcile and deliver the economic, social and environmental transformations needed to achieve the SDGs.

This year, the United Nations High Level Political Forum (HLPF) will take stock of progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) under the theme “Transformation towards sustainable and resilient societies”. SDG target 17.14 to “enhance policy coherence for sustainable development” reflects the reality that transforming our societies and realising the SDGs is a multidimensional challenge. It calls for breaking out of policy silos and increasing capacities to identify, understand and manage interactions and interconnections among SDGs. It entails harnessing synergies, managing trade-offs and policy conflicts, and addressing the potential transboundary and intergenerational policy effects of domestic and international action. Most importantly, it means ensuring that “no one is left behind”, which is the foundational purpose of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Governments cannot act alone, however. They have a responsibility to engage with and work across multiple sectors, actors and governance levels.

The transformation towards sustainable and resilient societies cannot be achieved without addressing the systemic causes of vulnerability, including: inequalities; injustice and discrimination; weak governance and institutions; and the depletion of natural resources. It requires significantly changing the scale and the way we consume and produce in order to relieve pressure on the natural asset base on which economies and human well-being rely. In practice, this means challenging the often short-term focus on the domestic interests and recognising the long term, systemic risks that threaten social, economic, environmental and governance systems, while taking into account the enabling role of global common goods and enhancing well-being globally and for future generations.

Against this backdrop, the 2018 edition of Policy Coherence for Sustainable Development, which forms part of the OECD’s contribution to this year’s HLPF, seeks to inform policymaking by providing analysis on critical interlinkages among the Goals under HLPF review. It identifies institutional mechanisms for enhancing policy coherence in SDG implementation and explores ways of tracking progress by sharing insights from a range of thinkers and partner organisations. This work also responds to the OECD Action Plan on the Sustainable Development Goals which calls on the OECD to contribute policy analysis, guidance and tools to support countries’ efforts to implement the SDGs.

The OECD stands ready to support all actors, stakeholders and policymakers to develop and implement approaches to strengthen policy coherence. This shared effort can help deliver on the goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and on the vision, mission and ambition of the OECD to promote better policies for better lives.

Angel Gurría

Secretary-General of the OECD