The transversal management of municipal development cooperation strategies

3. A shared working strategy: the policy coherence for development

Faced with the current scenario of global complexity and interdependence, in which our actions can have negative consequences in other parts of the world and which calls for a multidimensional response from all sectors and areas of society, and in the face of the 2030 Agenda's call to work towards a global alliance for sustainable development, the cooperation sector has long been fostering the application of the principle of policy coherence for development.

City councils, just like other public administrations, have a duty to foster critical citizenship and drive society towards a model of development that shares responsibility for the problems that affect humanity and the planet.

Policy coherence fosters a change in the development model aimed at fostering and improving the capacities of all people, in particular those in the Global South who may be disadvantaged, with a view to making this planet a sustainable place to live for everyone, for current and future generations alike. This entails acting from all spheres, keeping in mind that there are many inequalities and injustices and a violation of human rights, on a global level and in our societies, that we must do our utmost to eradicate.

Policy coherence for development is a working principle that emerges in the field of cooperation which has undergone a conceptual evolution at the same time as the international context itself and the mandate of development agendas have evolved. The most common definition is:

“The integration of the perspective of sustainable development in designing, implementing and evaluating all of a government's public policies” (Millan, 2012).

Therefore, it is a matter of designing, implementing, and evaluating policies taking into account, for example, not violating human rights and striving to do something about the poverty and vulnerability in which other people in the Global South live or the environmental risks that are already affecting all of us.

This will be achieved by the local government committing to development cooperation being assumed by the institution as a whole so that it becomes strategic, which will make it become more important and gain more centrality within the corporation, without being answerable to a single department.

The key lies in taking advantage of all existing resources and technical skills, seeking complementarities and synergies based on the specificities of each as well as moving the different actors in the region together towards the same objectives, by forming alliances and through networking.

Nevertheless, the policies coherence for development can prove to be difficult in their implementation within the vertical and departmental organisational model that currently prevails in many public administrations and, as will be seen later, it is not just a matter of bringing in actors; it is about changing the types of relationship and organisational work carried out by local corporations.

Transversal management of cooperation policy can help to make policy coherence for development effective and achieve city-wide cooperation.