Strategic coordination to achieve the SDGs

A full discussion of policy coordination to achieve the SDGs is beyond the scope of this book, but nevertheless, some observations on governance structures as it regards the SDGs and MSMEs are offered here.

While overall national guidance is important, much of the responsibility and work of implementing the SDGs lies with local institutions. As such, work is required to create effective coordination mechanisms between all the various local bodies that implement SDG policies and higher level supervisory bodies that set and evaluate country-level strategies. The implementation of the SDGs will necessarily require making difficult trade-offs requiring the involvement of different ministries, departments, agencies and centres of government to find the balance between at times competing goals. A survey conducted by the OECD for example, found that coordinating across ministries was the biggest challenge listed by centres of governments (presidents and prime minister’s offices) in delivering on the SDGs.56

One possible mechanic through which SDG coordination can be achieved is by identifying a key ministry for each SDG to coordinate and steer policy and targets for that goal. An interministerial committee or board can then comment on coordination matters, and further compile relevant inputs for informing policy and strategy at the highest level, such as in a Presidential or Prime Ministerial Office.

Regardless of the institutional structure, it is recommended that inter-ministerial commissions be endorsed at the highest level (by the head of state or government), and engage ministries of planning, finance and economy, health, education and social development, agriculture, environment, and gender equality, the chambers of commerce, and national statistical offices.57 Furthermore, commissions should have local government participation, as well as representation from civil society and academia. Non-governmental representatives should act as interlocutors on behalf of their broader constituency and, in this regard, it is important to ensure that the process is transparent. For more in depth information on the topic, the UNDP has produced a guidance note which will be of interest.


56 Survey on the role of the Centre of Government in the implementation of the SDGs (OECD 2016)

57 UNDP (2017), The Institutional and Coordination Mechanisms Guidance Note on Facilitating Integration and Coherence for SDG Implementation