The programme explores approaches to cross-organisational 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, think tanks, academia as well as the OECD 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 that they produce, which gives rise to 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 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, and in collaboration with the OECD Policy Coherence for Sustainable Development Unit in Paris.



Upon successful completion of this course, participants will:

  • Demonstrate a sound understanding of the vision and principles underlying the 2030 Agenda, the evolution of the concept of policy coherence for sustainable development and the importance of policy coherence for sustainable development;
  • Demonstrate a good understanding of the relevance of policy coherence as an approach and a tool to achieve sustainable development outcomes, and be able to recognise 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.

Course Methodology

Course Methodology: 

UNSSC online courses are designed to deliver maximum learning outcomes through optimal time investments into carefully chosen high-quality learning materials. Specially tailored to the needs of the professional interested in developing skills to advance their career or deepening their knowledge on a particular subject matter, our highly facilitated online courses combine self-paced study modules with applied learning components such as case studies, interactive exercises and collaborative group work.

Participants also benefit from live moderated webinars which feature valuable inputs from renowned subject matter experts, and allow real-time dialogue with the high-level speakers. Webinar recordings are also made available to ensure that participants have a flexible and seamless learning experience. A competent facilitator guides and assists the participants all along the course, and provides real-time feedback on activities and exercises. Our user-friendly social online learning platform provides participants with the opportunity to connect with peers from diverse organisational backgrounds, fostering peer-to-peer learning.

While being interactive and participatory, UNSSC online courses give learners the opportunity to complete activities when it best fits their schedule. Participants are largely free to determine their own weekly study plan. Typically lasting between 4 to 6 weeks and demanding 6 hours of dedication a week, UNSSC online courses incorporate the same high academic rigour as any UNSSC face-to-face programme.

Course Contents

Course Contents: 

Week 1 provides an introduction to the vision and principles of the 2030 Agenda, as well as the concept and evolution of policy coherence for sustainable development, explains vertical and horizontal coherence as well as the different mechanisms that enhance policy coherence across the policy cycle.

Week 2 discusses the importance of Policy Coherence for Sustainable Development (PCSD) in the context of SDG 17 of the 2030 Agenda and introduces some of the OECD approaches towards understanding the concept of PCSD.

Week 3 focuses on the importance of policy coherence at the national, regional, and international levels and discusses examples of policy coherence for sustainable development.

Week 4 looks at tools and review mechanisms to assess the integration of the 2030 Agenda at the national level and tracking progress on policy coherence.

Week 5 recaps core notions of PCSD and focuses on partnerships and multi-stakeholder engagement to foster policy coherence for sustainable development.

Target Audience

Target Audience: 

Development practitioners from the UN system, governments, non-governmental organizations, the private sector, civil society and academia.

Cost of participation

Cost of participation: 

The course fee of 500 USD covers the following:

  • Unlimited access to course materials (incl. exclusive video material and key readings), recording of webinars and speakers’ presentations.
  • Participation in live webinars with renowned subject matter experts.
  • Exclusive access to UNSSC online social learning environment with training and supporting background materials, and the opportunity to stay connected with colleagues.

Certificates from the United Nations System Staff College will be awarded to participants upon completion of the course.

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