Policy Coherence for Sustainable Development

Policy Coherence for Sustainable Development

This course explores approaches to cross-organizational and cross-sectoral policy coherence on the national, regional and international levels, with a view to equipping participants with a sound understanding of why policy coherence is important for achieving sustainable development, what coherent policy making entails, and what are the specific tools, mechanisms and approaches that can be employed to foster policy coherence. Inputs by high-level speakers from the UN System, the OECD as well as think tanks and academia will complement the course.

Conventional approaches to development often focus on sector-specific economic results, working under the assumption that markets function perfectly. Such approaches do not adequately consider externalities and their impact on society, equity or the environment. They also often ignore the transboundary and inter-generational effects which results in siloed, contradictory policies that often undermine one another. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development demands integrated approaches that view development through a holistic lens, using a systemic approach that takes account of the causal relationship and the synergies and trade-offs produced among the social, economic, and environmental dimensions in a comprehensive manner. Sustainable Development Goal 17 (and more specifically target 17.14) of the 2030 Agenda establishes policy coherence for sustainable development as a crucial means of achieving the agenda.

This course was designed by the UN System Staff College Knowledge Centre for Sustainable Development, in collaboration with the OECD Policy Coherence for Sustainable Development Unit in Paris, and in coordination with the National University of Singapore acting through its Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy and the Hertie School of Governance based in Berlin.


Upon successful completion of this course, participants will:

  • Have a sound understanding of the vision and principles underlying the 2030 Agenda, the evolution of the concept of policy coherence for sustainable development (PCSD) and the importance of policy coherence and integrated approaches for sustainable development;
  • Have a good understanding of the relevance of policy coherence as an approach and a tool to achieve sustainable development outcomes, and be able to recognize policies that are mutually reinforcing across governance levels;
  • Be equipped with knowledge of the specific tools, mechanisms and approaches that can be employed to foster policy coherence, including partnerships and multi-stakeholder engagement.
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