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Improving Policy Coherence in Scotland – some insight from our panellists

In advance of this week’s launch event and panel discussion ‘Improving Policy Coherence in Scotland’ on 3rd June, we asked some of our panellists to give us insight into policy coherence for sustainable development from their point of view.

To start with, we asked Ishani Erasmus, the Sustainable Development Scrutiny Officer at the Scottish Parliament:

Why is PCSD important to the legislative process in Scotland?

 “Legislation is just a very formal manifestation of policy – it generally sets out some rules by which a policy is to be implemented.  So, making sure that draft legislation isn’t just considered from one policy angle is just as important as developing policy as holistically as possible.  A worst case scenario would be where legislation could actually end up causing the opposite of what it was intended to. 

“For example, during the scrutiny of the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Bill, some witnesses, such as Professor Annette Hastings, pointed out that the proposed legislation might in practice end up exacerbating existing inequalities, unless action was taken support already disadvantaged communities, so that they too have the capacity to use the legislation.”

We also put a question to Dr Graham Long, Senior Lecturer in Politics at Newcastle University, currently working with WWF and the Greater London Authority on SDG monitoring and evaluation:

Can you give a concrete example of how Scottish domestic policy can have an impact on achieving SDGs elsewhere?

“I think some of the most obvious examples are on the environmental side where you can link the contribution of Scottish emissions (the Scottish Government’s emissions targets; the Scottish oil and gas industry) or pollution (the carrier bag charge) to threats to SDG achievement in developing countries.

“But what Scotland consumes, say, where its imported from and how that’s accounted for, or the approach Scotland takes to migration, are also examples.   Don’t forget, though, that PCSD isn’t just a matter of domestic/overseas, but also about policy choices across present and future generations, and across society, economy and environment, within Scotland.”

Lastly, we spoke with Ernesto Soria Morales, Senior Policy Analyst from the Public Governance Directorate at the OECD, and asked him:

Can you give an example from another country where PCSD is high on the agenda?

“Finland provides a good example of a country that puts its full political weight behind PCSD. Political leadership at the highest level,  a whole-of-government strategic framework and a wider range of sources to build its evidence base and inform policy have been key success factors. It is recognised globally for promoting policy coherence in domestic, EU and multilateral policy making in key sustainable development areas, such as  food security and tax.”

Want to learn more? Then join us for a fascinating discussion and find out how you can get involved to inform better, more coherent policy making in Scotland.

Sign up to the event here.

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