Policy Coherence

UN Photo/Logan Abassi

Policy Coherence is essential to a balanced implementation of sustainable development across its economic, social and environmental dimensions. It means tackling development challenges in a holistic manner developing mutually reinforcing policies across all relevant sectors to effectively achieve national sustainable development goals, minimizing the negative impacts that policies in one area can have on policies in another area. Designing coherent and mutually reinforcing policies requires sound institutional arrangements that facilitate policy coordination and integration; quantitative and analytical skills to identify and assess synergies and trade-offs between different policy options; and sound data for evidence-based policies. Most governments are challenged to develop critical institutional, analytical and statistical capacities for policy coherence.

WHAT we offer


UN DESA produces a broad range of knowledge products aimed to share global, regional and national perspectives to advance policy coherence at all levels. These include research and analyses of global macroeconomic trends, economic forecasts for a large range of economies worldwide, and a suite of modelling tools, methodologies and approaches aimed to strengthen integrated policy analysis for the formulation of mutually reinforcing policies across sectors and government departments. The Department leverages these analytical products to build the capacities of government officials and national stakeholders, including the UN, to conduct evidence-based, multi-sectoral analyses, including the Common Country Analysis (CCA), and to effectively translate global and regional outlooks, scenarios and risk analyses into country specific sustainable development policies.

HOW – Delivery Modalities and Resources


UN DESA support to integrated policy analysis and policy coherence is delivered through various modalities, which include knowledge networks, technical advisory services and capacity development initiative – for example to run and interpret different policy scenarios using quantitative modelling tools to answer specific policy questions for national policymakers.

Knowledge products

  • Global Sustainable Development Report (GSDR) – report prepared by an Independent Group of Scientists coordinated by UN DESA and aimed at strengthening the science-policy interface;
  • UN Forum on Forests Flagship Report on the Progress Towards Global Forest Goals and Targets [Upcoming] – will highlights interlinkages between the Global Forest Goals and targets and SDG-forest related goals and targets;
  • UN DESA Covid-19 policy briefs.

Modelling Tools and Methodologies

  • World Economic Forecasting Model (WEFM): a macro-econometric modelling tool to produce globally consistent economic forecasts for approximately 180 countries. The WEFM also provides a framework for scenario analysis, allowing researchers to study the behavior of key macroeconomic and development indicators (such as GDP, inflation, unemployment, current account, fiscal balance, poverty rate) under different scenarios;
  • Open source modelling tools designed to help track the complex interactions of different dimensions of sustainable development. Countries are using these tools to move forward on core objectives such as achieving sustainable economic growth, tackling climate change and advancing social inclusion. Tools include the Climate, Land-use, Energy and Water Systems analysis and model (CLEWS), for simultaneous consideration of food, energy and water security, Geo-spatial electrification access modelling, to determine the most cost-effective strategies to bring electricity to specific localities and Economy-wide and Microsimulation methodologies to assess how different policy choices and external shocks may impact a variety of economic and social inclusion indicators.

Knowledge Platforms and Networks

  • United Nations Economists Network (UNEN): coordinated by the UN Chief Economist and open to all interested UN agencies, UN RCO economists and UN country team members. The network intends to facilitate collaboration and joint work among members on issues of shared interest and relevance to the sustainable development agenda and to support UN resident coordinator offices and UN country teams in addressing economic, financial and social policy issues.
  • Online Platform: One of the three components of the Technology Facility Mechanism (TFM), which is intended to provide a gateway for information on existing STI initiatives, mechanisms and programs.
  • Science and Technology roadmaps for the SDGs: part of an ongoing pilot programme to support national science and technology planning and capacity development for the SDGs.