UN/DESA Policy Brief #116: A view of Changes in Institutional Arrangements for SDG Implementation at the National Level Since 2015
Policy Brief
Governance and Public Institutions
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Five years after the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, with one third of the implementation period of its 17 Sustainable Development Goals having elapsed, it is important to take stock of relevant institutional arrangements at the national level. Institutionalization of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs lays the foundation for their effective implementation. It also serves as an indicator of the degree to which the Agenda is prioritized and has buy-in from governments and other stakeholders.

Countries have made significant strides since 2015 in adapting their institutional frameworks to facilitate the achievement of the SDGs. At the national level, these have included, for instance, the incorporation of the Goals into plans and strategies, planning processes, and the work of parliaments and existing multi-stakeholder institutions. It has also included the formation of new institutions such as high-level coordination mechanisms, dedicated strategies and roadmaps, as well as new mechanisms for the engagement of various stakeholders such as data platforms and collaborative reporting. It is clear that countries are still putting in place or adjusting key elements of their institutional systems with regard to SDG implementation as gaps or weaknesses become evident and shifting circumstances warrant.

Precise types of institutional arrangements to implement the SDGs, and the years – and sequence – in which they were set up or changed, differ significantly across countries, and – within countries – across parts of the institutional system. However, a review of such arrangements in a sample of 24 diverse countries provides insight into how quickly after 2015 they were put in place. Based on that review, nine “milestones,” or key institutional developments in many countries in relation to SDG implementation, were defined (see the Table below). For each country in the sample, the year of occurrence of each milestone, starting in 2015, was recorded. In this way, a comparable picture of the development of institutional frameworks across countries can be obtained. Read more here.