Governing Trade-Offs and Building Coherence in Policy-Making for the 2030 Agenda

Open Access Journal | ISSN: 2183-2463

Article | Open Access

Governing Trade-Offs and Building Coherence in Policy-Making for the 2030 Agenda

  • Måns Nilsson Stockholm Environment Institute, Sweden / Department of Sustainable Development, Environmental Science and Engineering, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden
  • Nina Weitz Stockholm Environment Institute, Sweden

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Abstract:  This article introduces a suggested comprehensive framework for identifying, assessing and governing trade-offs and enhancing coherence in public policy decision-making. The framework is based on a simple three-stage model of policy-making: understanding policy interactions (input), integrating policy-making (process), and assessing ex ante policy decisions (output). The first stage is tackled with an interactions assessment framework, identifying how different sectors or ministries relate to each other in terms of their respective objectives, and on what topics negotiations are required to manage trade-offs. The second stage draws on approaches and experiences in environmental policy integration. It focuses on institutional procedures, structures and rules that enable integrated policy-making processes. The third stage draws on the longer-standing policy-analytical field of impact assessment applied to sustainable development. The article discusses the conceptual and theoretical foundations of each stage, as well as practical policy experiences. Discussing this in the context of 2030 Agenda implementation, the article suggests how trade-offs and policy coherence can be better governed using adapted policy-analytic methods and approaches.

Keywords:  2030 agenda; cross-impact analysis; decision-making; environmental policy integration; impact assessment; policy analysis; policy coherence; sustainable development goals

Published:   25 November 2019


© Måns Nilsson, Nina Weitz. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.