Animation: Policy coherence for sustainable development



By 2030, all nations must deliver on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and its 169 targets. Yet, this will be possible only if policies work in harmony across different domains. Goal 17 therefore calls for policy coherence for sustainable development. Our animation explains what policy coherence is – and how can we achieve it.

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    What is policy coherence?

    Policy incoherence can seriously undermine development. For instance, foreign policies that may at first seem far removed from development could in practice hinder, or even undo development progress. Trade policies that seek to maximise economic gains may do more harm than good for the poorest, or for the environment.

    But policy coherence is not easy to implement, first and foremost because it is inherently a matter of politics. It involves policy conflicts for which compromises need to be found. Moreover, progress in policy coherence is difficult to measure, and there is little hard evidence which can help to quantify whether policies are more or less coherent and whether progress is being made.

    While policy coherence for sustainable development (PCSD) effectively puts policy coherence on the global agenda, the idea is not new. European policymakers have talked about PCD, or policy coherence for development, for over twenty years. It even has a legal base in Article 208 of the Treaty of the European Union.

    The basic concept of PCD is that the EU’s external and internal policies should take account of – and not undermine – its development policy. PCSD in contrast broadens the concept out to all policies, in all directions. Promoting PCD is therefore one contribution to promoting PCSD.

    Watch our animation

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