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OECD’s Policy Coherence for Sustainable Development

It is widely recognized that one of the most important elements to achieve sustainable development is to create intersectional and effective policies that benefit the entire sectors and diversity of persons within a society. Progress in a community can only be possible when the policy-making process takes into consideration the multiple layers and actors that interact in a single social issue.

Written by: Celeste Ortiz, International Forum of National NGO Platforms

In the hyperconnected world where we currently live in, is necessary to understand that one policy implemented by a country, will have an impact on another nation. That is why policy coherence is very important.

The OECD’s definition states that policy coherence for sustainable development is: “the systematic promotion of mutually reinforcing policy actions across government departments and agencies creating synergies towards achieving the agreed objectives.” At an international level, policy coherence refers to the alliances and synergies between different agents to attend the diversity of policies’ dimensions. It is very important that the private sector, civil society, international organizations, governments, academic institutions, and other stakeholders from all over the globe design coherent policies that serve all to achieve sustainable development.

On the one hand, these alliances aim at enhancing policies that would positively impact sustainable development in different regions, particularly in subjects related to agriculture, migration, environment and trade. On the other hand, analyzing the multiple areas of a policy and the bonds between them is very important to ensure that one decision of a country would not impact negatively another.

In this sense, there is a direct link between policy coherence and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the Agenda 2030. Therefore, the OECD and the United Nations came together and decided to work to achieve the SDGs through the Policy Coherence for Sustainable Development Partnership (PCSDP). According to the OECD, the main objectives of the partnership to achieve sustainable development are: foster synergies across economic, social and environmental policy areas; identify trade-offs & reconcile domestic policy objectives with internationally agreed objectives; and address the spillovers of domestic policies.

As stated in their website, the PCSDP works through a platform in which members can share knowledge, strengthen monitoring methods, exchange lessons learned, support national efforts, etc. The main working method of this Partnership is the platform, however, there will be in-person meetings parallel to the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) every year. There are four working groups within the platform: i) Evidence-based analysis; ii) Integrated and coherent approaches; iii) institutional practices; and iv) monitoring policy coherence. This partnership is a positive step to work in favor of the SDGs, particularly, Objective 17 “strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development.”

For more information on the partnership you can contact OECD specialists:

-Ebba Dohlman (

- Ernesto Soria Morales (

- Carina Lindberg (