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Insights from Developments in National Policy Coherence for Development Systems: Key Cross Cutting Issues and Dilemmas

Discussion Paper 144

April 2013

Galeazzi, G., Knoll, A., Krätke, F., Lein, B. Rosengren, A., Sherriff, A. 2013. Insights from development in national policy coherence for development systems: Key cross cutting issues and dilemmas. (ECDPM Discussion Paper 144).

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Policy Coherence for Development (PCD) is fundamentally a matter of politics. As such, the key dilemma for the countries covered in this study is how to develop and sustain the level of political interest in and support for PCD, firstly how to put PCD on the political agenda, and secondly to retain momentum and make commitments towards promoting PCD meaningful at both the national and EU level. Although the potential benefits of effective PCD remain unquestioned, the study shows that political leadership, sponsorship and focus have waned in recent years in the countries studied, even if many of these are considered global leaders in PCD.

Key Purpose of ECDPM Study

Whereas comparative analysis shows there is at present no foolproof way to sustain high-level political interest, will and support for PCD, the concept could be better branded and communicated across government and to the broader public.

The configuration and dynamics of PCD systems and mechanisms vary greatly, depending on a country’s governance and administrative culture and on the existing arrangement of government. Ownership and mainstreaming of PCD engagements across the whole of government remains problematic.

Key Findings

  • The investments made to bring PCD policy commitments into the day-to-day practice of governance continue to fall short of the effort and resources necessary to ensure that components and actors in the institutional PCD mechanisms have the adequate capacity and skills. A lack of political support and evidence-based knowledge input further constrains the effectiveness of institutional mechanisms.
  • For PCD commitments at the national level to be meaningful, strategically selected priority policy areas, specific objectives and measurable progress indicators, as well as clear implementation guidelines, can ensure better mainstreaming of responsibilities.
  • Although all concerned countries have included explicit references to enhanced promotion of PCD at the EU level in their national PCD policy commitments, most have few to no linkages in place between the existing institutional arrangement for EU coordination and the PCD mechanisms.
  • Current efforts towards research on PCD are overwhelmingly limited to studying and promoting of the concept itself. It is furthermore unclear to what extent research presently undertaken feeds into and is used in PCD-relevant policy processes.

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European external affairsEU Development Policy and PracticePolicy Coherence for DevelopmentDiscussion Papers (series)Research