Policy Coherence for Sustainable Development – Online Course

An engaging 5-week online course, which aims to equip participants with knowledge and skills to analyse and design policies that are coherent as well as mutually reinforcing across departments and agencies.


The course will lay special emphasis on the importance of cross-organisational policy coherence between different levels of government, and on the need for collaboration and networking with regional and international actors. Highlighting the importance of the role of actors and institutions, the course will also cover review mechanisms and tools to provide a holistic approach to coherent policy making

About the course

Theoretical, practical and case study based approaches will be used to illustrate and support the concepts. There will be inputs by high-level speakers from the UN System, think tanks, academia as well as the OECD. Participants will get the opportunity to engage with the distinguished academics and leading experts through the live webinars. Assignments, exercises, quizzes and peer sharing spread across the different modules of the course will benefit the participants and add to their learning.

This course was designed by the UN System Staff College Knowledge Centre for Sustainable Development, in coordination with the National University of Singapore acting through its Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy and the Hertie School of Governance based in Berlin and in collaboration with the OECD Policy Coherence for Sustainable Development Unit in Paris.


Upon the successful completion of this course, participants will be able to:

Explain the transformative nature of the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development and the importance of policy coherence for sustainable development in its implementation;
Demonstrate a clear understanding of the dimensions of sustainable development, identify interlinkages and interdependencies among the sustainable development goals (SDGs), and identify coherent policies that consider such interconnections;
Analyse policies that are mutually reinforcing across departments and agencies;
Cite examples of mechanisms that enhance policy coherence for sustainable development at local, national, and international level, its various challenges, and the tools to address them;
Enumerate strategies to overcome stakeholder conflict and building cooperation and trust between stakeholders.

Course Methodology

The 5-week online course will comprise of different modules. Each module will draw from case studies and examples to illustrate and support the concepts, and will include assignments and group work that prompt application. Each module will feature a quiz to enable participants to test their knowledge on the content. Learning will take place through reading materials, live webinars by distinguished academics and leading experts and through peer-sharing via discussion forums.

Course Contents

Week 1 will provide an introduction to the concept and evolution of policy coherence for sustainable development, explain vertical and horizontal coherence as well as the different mechanisms that enhance policy coherence across the policy cycle
Week 2 will discuss the need and ways to align policies to achieve sustainable development and how the concept has evolved in the post-2015 era
Week 3 will focus on the importance of policy coherence at national, regional, and international level and examples of policy coherence for sustainable development
Week 4 will look at tools and review mechanisms to assess integration of the 2030 Agenda at national level and tracking progress on policy coherence
Week 5 will focus on actors, institutions and stakeholders. A part of this module will also elaborate on the importance of political will for policy coherence

Target Audience

UN staff from headquarters, country teams or regional offices, government representatives, development practitioners as well as members of civil society, academia and foundations.

Cost of participation

The course fee of 500 USD will cover the following:

Unlimited access to course materials (video and key readings), recording of webinars and speakers’ presentations.
Participation in live webinars with renowned subject matter experts on sustainable development.
Exclusive access to UNSSC online social learning environment with training and supporting background materials, and the opportunity to stay connected with colleagues.
Certificates of Participation will be awarded to participants subject to the completion of all modules and quizzes, successful submission of exercises and assignments, and full participation in all live online sessions and discussion forums for each topic covered in the course.

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A man of fire bringing land back to life

Ethiopian community embraces restoration guided by one man’s vision

I first met Aba Hawi in 2014, at his home in a remote village in the north of Ethiopia. His story amazed me so much that I turned it into a documentary film!

His real name is Gebre-Michael, but locals call him Aba Hawi, which stands for ‘man of fire’. Over the last 30 years he has mobilized his community to completely regenerate their land.

When he first started this work his community ostracized him, as they failed to see that protecting their trees was fundamental to the continued existence of their livelihoods. They even accused him of spying for the rebel army who at that time were fighting the national government. But eventually his efforts paid off. Villages that were on the verge of collapse after years of drought and land over-use are now thriving and self-sufficient. Thanks to his conservation work, once barren hillsides are today covered with forests, cereal crops grow where previously there was only degraded soil, and most importantly, water has returned to the wells. Aba Hawi’s ability to motivate and mobilize an entire community to stay on and restore their landscape surely makes him a worthy Landscape Hero.

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A home for orangutans

The fight for an iconic animal

The Leuser Ecosystem is a biodiversity hotspot in North Sumatra, Indonesia. It is the last place on earth where you can find critically endangered Sumatran rhinos, elephants, tigers, but most importantly for Panut, Sumatran Orangutans.

Horrified by the rapid rate of deforestation in this key refuge for some of the world’s most loved creatures, Panut decided that enough was enough: it was time to be the solution.

Since the creation of the Orangutan Information Centre, Panut has replaced thousands and thousands of hectares of encroaching oil palm plantations with brand new forests, able to provide orangutans with food, habitat and locomotive pathways in just five years. Panut knew there was no long term sustainability for his projects without involving the local community.

He employed agricultural workers from the plantations to plant trees for him instead, maintaining economic growth in rural villages. This project expanded into orangutan rescue missions and relocation, community outreach programs, tackling forest crime and researching more about the forest and the impacts of his projects. Thanks to Panut, I was able to walk through his brand new forests and see evidence of baby elephants and nesting orangutans. More importantly, I could stand on the tower and look over at the ever expanding canopy with gibbons calling in the background. That’s how I knew deep in my heart that these critically endangered animals wouldn’t be at risk of extinction for much longer.

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Rehabilitating land and lives

Text: Sam Dindi

KOMB green youth group was started in in June 2017 by twenty young people who wanted to restore the banks of Nairobi River banks passing through Korogocho Area. Fredrick Okinda, the founding member of the group, says that they decided to rehabilitate that area as a way to keep themselves busy, seeking a fresh start from a life of crime, by creating a green space where they could rest and interact without fear.

Between 2010 and 2018 they lost 15 young men to mob justice, gang fights and being shot dead by police and this was more than a wakeup call that crime does not pay. The small patch they decided to rehabilitate was so heavily polluted with human fecal matter, they had to handle the waste with their bare hands.

At the same time, they faced a part of the local community that was against the the river bank rehabilitation, since they did not trust the youth-led initiative. One of the green park’s biggest successes is that the youth of Korogocho now have reasons to believe in themselves that something positive can come out of them. Police officers whom the youth once dreaded are frequent visitors to this small Eden and interact freely with the reformed youth as children play and women plait their hair without any fear.

Fredrick requests well-wishers to support the initiative by assisting them realize several self-sustaining programs like construction of toilet facilities. These would be equipped with bio-digesters to generate biogas, which can be then used for communal cooking and heating – users would pay only a small fee which could help building taller gabions along the river in Korogocho.

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Engaging the Private Sector in Integrated Landscape Approaches: More examples from across Africa

Building on the engaging discussion forum 12 at GLF Nairobi, “Engaging the Private Sector in Integrated Landscape Approaches: Cases from the African Landscapes Action Plan”, this digital summit will provide bring additional examples from new geographies, new voices, and new insights to this important topic. Panelists will react to the key messages of the GLF Nairobi discussion forum:

  • Value chain approaches not sufficient to address sustainability issues, we need integrated landscape approaches.
  • Landscape management can be a de-risking strategy for financing development.
  • Private sector players and financial institutions can become interested in investing in the landscape if you make a clear business case. Most of them, however, don’t speak the language of landscape yet.

Engaging the private sector is a key action area within the African Landscapes Action Plan (ALAP), which, like AFR100, contributes to the African Resilient Landscapes Initiative (ARLI). Our digital summit panelists will provide insight from both the landscape partnership convener perspective, and from the private sector already engaged in landscape management initiatives.

By sharing cases from both perspectives, we can help both groups see the benefits, and acknowledge and address the challenges, of working together. Through these stories we hope to help more landscape initiatives reach out successfully to private sector partners, and to motivate more private sector actors, of all sizes, to actively seek out opportunities to be engaged and supportive partners in integrated landscape management in the landscapes where they operate. We believe that those working to advance sustainable land and resource use and forest and landscape restoration in Africa can benefit from the collective experience (both successes and failures/obstacles) in engaging with the private sector in the process of collaborative landscape management.

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Think climate smart landscapes

Climate Change is impacting our landscapes, action is needed now! During this international short course, you will learn about the landscape approach, climate trends and adaptation actions to increase the resilience of your landscapes and its people.

We will provide you with practical and participatory tools, which allow you to assess the vulnerabilities of your landscapes and develop climate smart strategies. This way, you will look for synergies between various SDG goals!

Apply here

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Les tourbières : Un paysage à découvrir

This Digital Summit will be conducted in French.

Les tourbières sont l’un des écosystèmes les moins compris et les moins surveillés de la planète. Cependant, ils contiennent les plus fortes concentrations de carbone organique dans leur sol et constituent un refuge pour les espèces en voie de disparition. Ces zones humides spongieuses aident à protéger les communautés contre les précipitations irrégulières et contre l’élévation des niveaux d’eau.

Si elles sont drainées, dégradées ou brûlées, les tourbières émettent des gaz à effet de serre et de la brume, ce qui affecte les populations et accélère le changement climatique. Actuellement, les émissions liées aux tourbières devraient représenter jusqu’à cinq pour cent du budget mondial de gaz à effet de serre.

En 2017, les chercheurs ont découvert que la tourbière de la Cuvette Centrale dans le bassin du Congo était beaucoup plus grande que ce qui avait été estimé précédemment. Ils ont également estimé que ces sols tourbeux forestiers pratiquement intacts contenaient environ 30 gigatonnes de carbone, soit l’équivalent de trois années d’émissions mondiales de gaz à effet de serre. La Cuvette Centrale est actuellement difficile d’accès et héberge de petites communautés humaines et les plus fortes densités mondiales de gorilles de plaine de l’ouest, ainsi que de bonobos, de chimpanzés et d’éléphants de forêt.

La découverte de ce complexe de tourbières dans le bassin du Congo, et sa cartographie sont particulièrement importantes car elles aident à identifier, à l’échelle mondiale, l’une des zones à protéger pour leur valeur climatique et leur biodiversité.

Depuis les années 1990, les tourbières des régions tropicales, tempérées et boréales sont devenues célèbres pour les feux de forêt intenses et les émissions de gaz à effet de serre extrêmement élevées par hectare une fois drainées. En s’inspirant de l’expérience d’autres pays, la République du Congo et la République démocratique du Congo (RDC) se sont engagées à protéger la Cuvette congolaise avec l’Indonésie et d’autres partenaires de l’Initiative mondiale pour les tourbières (GPI). Il y a cependant beaucoup de choses à comprendre sur les paysages de tourbières pour pouvoir les prendre en compte correctement dans les futurs plans et actions de développement des pays.

Ce sommet, organisé par la FAO en collaboration avec le GLF vise à accueillir spécialement les acteurs des secteurs public et privé, la société civile et l’académie, les médias francophones, les personnes vivant ou travaillant dans le bassin du Congo, aussi que les praticiens du développement.

Panelistes :
Francis Müller, Directeur, Pôle-relais tourbières à la Fédération des Conservatoires d’espaces naturels, France
Dr Ifo Suspense, Université Marien Ngouabi, République du Congo

Modérateur : Anne Branthomme, FAO

Familiarisez-vous avec le sujet : Infographie « Les tourbières et le changement climatique »

Peatlands – A landscape to discover

Peatlands are one of the least understood and monitored ecosystems in the planet. Still, they contain the highest concentrations of organic carbon in their soil, and are a refuge for endangered species. These spongy wetlands help in protecting communities against erratic rainfall and raising water levels.
If drained, degraded or burned, peatlands start emitting greenhouse gases and haze negatively affecting people and accelerating climate change. Currently, peatland-related emissions are estimated to raise up to five percent of the global greenhouse gas budget.

In 2017, researchers discovered that the peatlands of the Cuvette Centrale Peatland in the Congo Basin are much larger than previously estimated. They also estimated that these practically intact, forested peat soils contain approximately 30 Gigatons of carbon — equivalent to three years of global greenhouse gas emissions. Cuvette Centrale is currently hard to access and hosts small human communities and the world’s highest densities of western lowland gorillas, as well as bonobos, chimpanzees and forest elephants.
The discovery of this largest, continuous peatland complex of the Congo Basin and its mapping are especially important because they help in identifying globally one of the areas that need protection for their climate and biodiversity value.

Since 1990s, peatlands in tropical, temperate and boreal regions have become notoriously famous for the intense wildfires and the extremely high greenhouse gas emissions per hectare when drained. Learning from other countries’ experience, both The Republic of Congo (RoC) and The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) have committed to protect the Cuvette Congolaise with Indonesia and other partners to the Global Peatlands Initiative. Still, a lot needs to be understood to be able to take the peatlands into account in the future plans and development actions of the countries.

Confirmed panelists
Francis Müller, Director of Pôle-relais tourbières à la Fédération des Conservatoires d’espaces naturels, France
Dr. Ifo Suspense, Marien Ngouabi University, Republic of Congo

Moderator: Anne Branthomme, FAO

This summit, organized by FAO in collaboration with the Global Landscapes Forum, aims to especially welcome public and private sector actors, civil society and academia, French-speaking media, people living or working with stakeholders in the Congo Basin, as well as development practitioners.
Materials to share with participants: Infographics Peatlands and Climate Change.


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GLF Climate Action in the Landscape at COP24

The Climate Action in the Landscape GLF will be second thematic forum to specifically focus on climate change and the interactive solutions that can be found within sustainable landscapes. The event will feature 4 sessions held throughout half a day at COP24 in Katowice and will align with the Five Pillars of the GLF: Livelihoods, Rights, Restoration, Finance, and Measuring Progress.

The event will bring together stakeholders from science and academia, civil society, indigenous peoples, practitioners and government representatives and will focus on climate action at the international and national level.
Climate Action in the Landscape will open with a High Level Plenary session reflecting on the role of land use and forests in the context of the IPCC Special Report on 1.5 degrees, to be followed by 3 consecutive Discussion Forums on topics related to:

  • Climate Action at scale through Forest Landscape Restoration: lessons learnt;
  • The role of the Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples (LCIP) Platform to Climate Actions in landscapes;
  • Putting into practice Article 5 of the Paris Agreement and the special role of ecosystems

To apply for a discussion forum, please get in touch with our coordination team at n.bakalar@cgiar.org

For details of the GLF activities at COP24, read the Concept Note below.

Read Concept Note

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Landscape Governance

Scholarships for our international course on LANDSCAPE GOVERNANCE now available!

Always wanted to learn about integrated landscape approaches? Then this is your chance! Our famous international course on LANDSCAPE GOVERNANCE is now open for application. Scholarships are available if applied for before October 10th, so you’d better be fast!

During our two weeks programme (1-12 April 2019) we will challenge you to look at your own work from an integrative landscape perspective, learn how to build bridges between the public and the private sector, and develop innovative governance mechanisms at the landscape level.

Apply NOW, to be the first!

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