Governance and Policy Coherence for the SDGs

Policy coherence for sustainable development: Mainstreaming the SDGs in Italian decision making




The OECD Italy Governance Scan for Policy Coherence for Sustainable Development provides a snapshot of how the Italian institutional arrangements and processes are fit for increasing policy coherence. Based on bilateral interviews with key Italian stakeholders – at national, regional and metropolitan level – and multi-stakeholder workshops with more than one hundred participants, the Scan underlines Italy's main strengths and weaknesses and provides key recommendations to address PCSD challenges. The next step of the project will be the production of the PCSD Action Plan which will feature as a key component of the 2021 Revision of the National Sustainable Development Strategy (NSDS).

The key elements of the Italian governance setting are assessed along the eight OECD PCSD Recommendations in the Italian Country Profile

Policy Coherence for Sustainable Development (PCSD): mainstreaming the SDGs in Italian decision making process (PDF)




The Technical Support Instrument of the European Commission is funding a project implemented in partnership with the OECD to support the Italian Ministry for Ecological Transition (MiTE, previously Ministry for Environment, Land and Sea Protection – MATTM) moving towards Policy Coherence for Sustainable Development (PCSD) by applying the OECD Recommendation on PCSD as guiding principle and tool.

Further information can be found on the project webpage of the Italian Ministry for Ecological Transition:




How we work with Italy?

The OECD in cooperation with the European Commission and the MATTM will work on the following key project activities:

  • Conducting an OCED PCSD Institutional Scan to assesses the existing institutions and suggest options to implement PCSD in decision making at all levels of government
  • Organising thematic workshops, which aim to bring together the relevant stakeholders (governmental and non-governmental) to strengthen key PCSD capacities
  • Developing an Action Plan, including a roadmap, to guide a PCSD shift and consolidation for the implementation and revision of the NSDS



Workshops and Events related to the project 


The first virtual workshop on “Simulation of a coherent decision making process around 3 strategic objectives of the SNSvS Prosperity Area” was organised on 16 & 17 December 2020 and gathered 55 participants each day. Participants represented the central administrations (Ministry of Economy and Finance – MEF, Ministry of Foreign Affairs – MAECI, Presidency of the Council of Ministers – PCM , Department for Programming and Coordinating economic policies – DIPE); Metropolitan Areas (Turin, Genova, Reggio Calabria, Rome, Milan, Catania, Florence) and Regions (Friuli Venezia Giulia, Lombardia, Sardinia) as well as Civil society organisations (10 CSOs members of the Forum for Sustainable Development).

The second virtual workshop titled Establish institutional mechanisms for strengthening policy coherence between external and domestic policies” took place on 31 March, 2021 and contributed to identifying existing or potential provisions to be included in the revision of the NSDS (in particular section Partnerships) as well as policy coherence mechanisms to minimise negative effects on third countries to be included in the PCSD Action Plan. The workshop included over 70 participants from the central ministries, including the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS), sub-national Governments (Regions, Province Autonome, Metropolitan Areas), the European Commission, as well as civil society organisations and non-state actors, members of the Forum for Sustainable Development and of the National Development Cooperation Committee (CNCS).

The third and last virtual workshop on Connecting the existing evaluation and monitoring mechanisms related to sustainability within the revision of the National Sustainable Development Strategy (NSDS) and towards the PCSD Action Plan” took place on 17 June, 2021. The workshop investigated the existing evaluation and monitoring mechanisms for sustainability, coherence matrixes that have been applied to streamline policy packages with the NSDS and effort to align ex-ante regulative assessments (i.e. CIPESS investment evaluation, Strategic Environmental Assessments, etc.) to take into account sustainability considerations. The exchanges during this workshop will contribute to both: the ongoing work for updating the NSDS indicators and the formulation of the PCSD Action Plan. The event gathered over 60 participants from different Ministries, civil society organisations and local authorities (Regions and Metropolitan Cities).

On 17 June 2022 The Ministry for Ecological Transition (MiTE), the OECD, benefitting from the presence of the Director General of the DG Reform of the EU Commission presented Italy’s National Action Plan for Policy Coherence for Sustainable Development (PCSD Action Plan). The PCSD Action Plan includes actions and targets to strengthen and upgrade existing institutional mechanisms, policy formulation, monitoring and budgeting processes throughout the policy cycle in order to adopt a PCSD approach to decision-making. The OECD and MiTE drafted a Monitoring and Evaluation framework to report on the implementation of the PCSD action plan as it will be rolled out.

Italy’s PCSD Action Plan is the first example of this kind and it results from a two-year whole of government and multi-stakeholder process. The PCSD Action plan is embedded in the National Sustainable Development Strategy 2022 NSDS/SNSvS revision proposal to be approved by the Interministerial Committee for Ecological Transition (CITE) and it constitutes its reference implementation approach.  

Meeting Recording / Final Agenda

Highlights: Italy's National Action Plan for Policy Coherence for Sustainable Development

Full Report: Italy's National Action Plan for Policy Coherence for Sustainable Development

Presentation: M&E Framework

Presentation: Mainstreaming the SDGs in the Italian decision making process

The PCSD action plan has been equally presented during two important national events: on 24 June 2022 during the Italian national conference for Development Co-operation (COOPERA) [Event Programme]and on 21 June 2022 during the Italian National Conference for Sustainable Development [Event Agenda].



Facts about Italy and the SDGs

  • In 2019 the proportion of agricultural area under productive and sustainable agriculture (SDG Indicator 2.4.1) represents 15,5% of all the agricultural area in Italy. this proportion is twice the EU average (7,5%).

    The regional breakdown of SDGs indicators reveals very diverse realities across the country. For instance the proportion of people living below 50 per cent of median income, by sex, age and persons with disabilities (SDG indicator 10.2.1) is 11% in the North while is 20.3% on average across the country. Unemployment rate is 6.1% in the Northern regions while is 10% on average across the country.

    The national recycling rate (SDG indicator 12.5.1) evolved from 36.7 in 2010 to 50.8 in 2018.
    In 2018 over one fourth of the population was living in inadequate housing condition (SDG indicator 11.1.1) the percentage of the population living in overcrowded housing conditions continues rising and reached 27.8% in 2018

    Pursuing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as spelled out in the 2030 Agenda, represents one of the key priorities of the Italian Parliament and Government. Italy has implemented several initiatives to advance on the 2030 Agenda.

    The National Sustainable Development Strategy NSDS (launched in 2017) will be reviewed in 2021, through an open-ended participatory process involving all levels of government (local and central), main stakeholders and with the support of the academic and research sector.

    Italy has in place forefront measurements of well-being and sustainability. Italy produces an annual report on 123 SDGs indicators. The 3rd edition of the report for 2020 accounts for the interactions between COVID and the 17 Goals. Since 2018 it makes efforts to link the budgetary law with the well-being indicators (Indicatori Benessere Equo e Sostenibile) BES set, recognising the key importance of using socio-economic data and not only GDP, for informing decision-making. In addition, a set of 43 indicators has been selected to keep track of the NSDS at national level, (including some of the BES indicators). Currently these indicators are being territorialized at regional and metropolitan level through a multi-level dialogue.

    The Ministry for Ecological Transition (MiTE), who is in charge of the domestic aspects of the implementation of the NSDS, has established since 2018 a collaboration with regions and metropolitan areas for localising the objectives of the NSDS. As of today, 19 regions, the Autonomous Province of Trento and14 metropolitan areas have signed an agreement with MATTM and have started working in order to design the governance system as well as the contents and the enabling conditions for their own sustainable development strategies. Finally, MATTM launched in 2019 the Forum for Sustainable Development, conceived as a permanent platform for the active engagement of civil society with the public administration.

    The Governance Scan produced through this project, offers an in-depth analysis of the mechanisms and practices in place along the Italian policy making cycle. The analysis highlights current gaps in existing practices, institutional and legislative frameworks (i.e. budgets, laws, regulatory policies, investments and public procurement standards, policy assessment and evaluation, dialogue and participation mechanisms, etc) and their contribution to systematically orient policies towards sustainable development by accounting for trade-offs, synergies, long-term and transboundary impacts. The second step is to formulate a Policy Coherence for Sustainable Development Action Plan, proposing options that the Government could consider to embed more systematically sustainability in the decision-making cycle.


This project was funded by the European Union via the Structural Reform Support Programme and implemented by the OECD, in cooperation with the European Commission's Directorate General for Structural Reform Support (DG REFORM)  


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