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The ESDN Quarterly Reports provide in-depth documentation of a selected topic on a quarterly basis. The current ESDN Quarterly Report is displayed below. For previous ESDN Quarterly Reports click here.

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ESDN Quarterly Report January 2017

Multi-level governance and vertical policy integration

Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at all levels of government

by Eric Mulholland and Gerald Berger

This ESDN Quarterly Report will focus on multi-level governance and vertical policy integration in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at all levels of government. However, before arriving at the main theme, this Report will broadly discuss governance for sustainable development, as multi-level governance and vertical policy integration, while of vital importance in themselves, are pieces of the entire concept of governance for sustainable development. The Report will examine the literature available, in order to discern what governance for sustainable development, multi-level governance, and vertical policy integration are, and how they can be used in relation to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Also of importance, to better understand the role of vertical policy integration in the implementation of Agenda 2030, is not only to grasp how to integrate policy across different levels of government (local, sub-national, national, and supranational), with sometimes conflicting objectives, but also to be aware of the potential pitfalls that contribute to vertical policy integration being ineffective.

After arriving at a clearer understanding of multi-level governance and vertical policy integration, this understanding will then be used as a lens to look at how these concepts are framed in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and what is happening regarding the implementation of the 2030 Agenda in different European countries. The goal is to determine if, and how, countries have been integrating the 2030 Agenda at all levels of government. Specific attention will be given to countries that participated at the UN High Level Political Forum (HLPF) 2016 and submitted Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs), since they have already prepared and presented, in-depth, about their efforts in implementing the 2030 Agenda. Since the HLPF 2016 took place in July 2016 many of the presenting European countries have integrated, or are working on integrating, the targets of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs into their National Sustainable Development Strategies (NSDS). This report will look into the NSDSs of various countries, in order to examine how they are dealing with the vertical integration of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs at the sub-national and local level.

Based on the outcomes of interactive group work with participants of the ESDN Conference 2016, the Report will, in a concluding section, list important ingredients for successful vertical policy integration for the 2030 Agenda implementation.

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