Delivering on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is a formidable challenge for countries at all levels of development. The 2030 Agenda requires governments to coordinate, consult and work across policy areas in an unprecedented way. This calls for a strategic use of budget, procurement and regulatory tools and the design and implementation of innovative, forward-looking policies and programmes. This report seeks to illustrate how public governance practices can be strengthened to contribute more effectively to the implementation of the SDGs. It is meant as a live repository of experiences, good practices and lessons learnt from countries around the world on these governance challenges.
The key governance pillars are:
Whole-of-government coordination and policy coherence: There is a need for a whole-of-government approach to strategic visioning, priority setting, and implementation. Robust coordination mechanisms are key in ensuring policy coherence and successfully addressing the multi-dimensional policy challenges that characterise the SDGs.
Stakeholder participation and open government: Collaborating with citizens at every stage of policy and service design and delivery is critical for ensuring sustainable improvements that respond to nuanced public needs.
Effective use of budgeting and public procurement tools: The budget is a central policy document of government, showing how annual and multi-annual objectives will be prioritised and achieved. Linking budgets to the SDGs could also be used as a tool to assess overall government performance.
Monitoring, evaluation and audit institutions: Taking into account the complex and interconnected nature of the SDGs (including trade-offs), a sound monitoring and evaluation system is of particular importance.
Fostering a culture of integrity and fighting corruption: Integrity is vital to govern in the public interest and for the prosperity and well-being of society as a whole. It promotes economic growth by cultivating a level playing field for business, helps reduce socio-economic inequalities, and supports environmental sustainability goals.
Ensuring equal access to justice and citizen’s legal empowerment: Strong, well-functioning justice systems reduce the scope for policy capture, corruption and mismanagement in the public sector. They increase trust in government and support governance systems that are conducive to achieve the SDGs.
Promoting gender equality: Achieving gender equality is a complex, transversal and multidimensional task. It requires the involvement and buy-in from all actors as well as a broad array of stakeholders across society.
Improved performance across these key “governance pillars” can be expected to foster more transparent, inclusive and impactful SDG implementation. It will help governments to prioritise and set national targets and objectives across the policy spectrum, and to mobilise and allocate resources accordingly. Ultimately, sound public governance can support a shift from traditional siloed policy making to more integrated approaches that also balance short-and long-term interests in the pursuit of sustainable development.