Directorate for Public Governance

Sustainable Development Goals and Public Governance


In September 2015, world leaders adopted an ambitious, 15-year blueprint for a better world. The goals are broad, universal and  potentially transformative. They envision nothing less than saving our planet for future generations, ending extreme poverty and hunger, and creating a healthier, safer, more inclusive world.  The success of these goals depends to a large extent on the coordination of implementation efforts through good public governance.

Good public governance is essential to achieve overall and individual goals - find out more:

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Goal 2
End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition 

Goal 5

Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls

Goal 6
Available and sustainable water management and sanitation

Goal 9
Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialisation and foster innovation

Goal 11
Make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

Goal 16
Access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels. 

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A big issue for governments will be how to align policies given the breadth and complexity of the Goals and the need to include an unprecedented range of public & private parties in policy creation and implementation. Our work with OECD Centres of Government has helped governments lead many cross-cutting initiatives, many of which focus on improving governance processes.  Delivering on inclusive growth will help governments focus on the broader challenges posed by the SDG's.  The OECD is working with countries to deepen the understanding of the institutional arrangements that are being used to deliver on the SDGs.



goal 2 - achieve food security and improved nutrition

Food insecurity concerns are pressing in both urban and rural areas of developing countries, but vary considerably throughout regions. An OECD report suggests that place based, territorial approach can be an effective analytical and policy framework for tackling the issue.



goal 5 - Gender Equality

A whole-of-government approach is crucial to advancing the role of women in government. Holistic policy making will not only help bring more women in the public light, but will ensure that gender considerations are more systematically embedded in all policies.


goal 6 - clean water and sanitation

Addressing unsustainable consumption and production patterns will depend on actions from all countries. The OECD Programme on Water Governance looks at ways that governments can manage and secure water access through improved water governance.


goal 9 - industry, innovation and infrastructure 

Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialisation and foster innovation.


goal 11 - sustainable cities and communities

Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.


goal 16 - peace, justice and strong institutions

The SDGs underscore the importance of building effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels as a foundation for achieving the desired outcomes.