Continual Learning: Policy Coherence for Sustainable Development

Updated: Feb 3

Project Development Officer James Balzer graduates from 'Policy Coherence for Sustainable Development' program administered by United Nations System Staff College


James Balzer, Project Development Officer at Masy Consultants, recently graduated from the United Nation System Staff College's "Policy Coherence for Sustainable Development" (PCSD) course, a five-week program aimed to equip participants with the knowledge and skills to analyse and design policies that are coherent as well as mutually reinforcing across departments and agencies.


The course is recognised for its practical focus on the implementation of PCSD, utilising networks and ecosystems of for-profit and not-for-profit actors. It also edifies the need for policy appraisal and Monitoring & Evaluation (M&E).

James moderating a panel on Megatrends which explored Sustainable Development Goals, security issues, the environment and human rights, at the inaugural ASEAN-Australia Young Leaders Forum (Photo credit: AASYP, 2019)


James shares, "[the course has] reinforced my appreciation of systems-thinking and coherent Sustainable Development Goal implementation. This relates to the work of Masy Consultants, as our projects pertain to multifaceted impact endeavors in the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) space. Hence, the need for coherent and interconnected driven social change is necessary".


His key learnings are, as follows:

  1. Policy must be coherent, both horizontally and vertically, for it to be effective. 

  2. Leveraging multi-sectoral ecosystems is key for governments in a Voltatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous (VUCA) world, where they will need to do more with less tools available. 

  3. Any policy pursuit must minimise trade offs and maximise collaborative opportunity.

The course invited keynote speakers to share insights on both vertical and horizontal integration and implementation of PCSD across all levels of government. This included Laszlo Varro (Chief Economist of International Energy Agency), Ernesto Morales (Senior Policy Analyst at the OECD), Francois Fortier (Senior Economic Affairs Officer, United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean), and Francesco Mancini (Senior Lecturer at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy). 


The United Nation System Staff College (UNSSC) focuses on training and knowledge management within the UN system, with programs ranging from leadership and management development, to the development of those sectoral and functional competences are geared towards enabling the UN and its partners to address challenges posed by the adoption of Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development.


Since completing the course, James has brought his increased understanding of PCSD to strengthen the planning, development and implementation of Masy Consultants' pipeline of projects in coordination with government and intergovernmental agencies.

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