No policy coherence? No poverty reduction
July-September 2017
By: Raymond Saner and Lichia Yiu

It is widely accepted that the successful implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (2030 Agenda) for the benefit of least developed countries will require boundary spanning by United Nations agencies, G20 countries and leading development nongovernmental organizations. Realization of the Sustainable Development Goals also requires cross-sector cooperation and cross-institutional cooperation among international organizations mandated by G20 members to implement their own development strategies for the poor.

However, international organizations are not sufficiently equipped to deal with the cross-sector and cross-institutional cooperation needed to achieve the goals, commonly known as the SDGs. They also are often not at ease in cooperating with leading nongovernmental and philanthropic organizations – even when operating in the same policy space.

These crucial actors need to go beyond policy isolationism and commit to policy collaboration within their institutions and with other actors.  

To illustrate the above point, consider the following three situations of policy incoherence. The first gives a specific example of inadequate policy coordination by key actors involved in the implementation of poverty reduction strategies designed by the Bretton Woods Institutions for least developed countries. The third example shows the contradictions between labor rights in free trade agreements by the United States, the European Union and Australia, versus the same actors’ behavior during universal periodic reviews of human rights involving free trade partner countries.

Case examples

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