Knowledge Platform on Participative Policy Coherence for Development

Policy Coherence for Development (PCD) is a central concept on the RISC-RISE agenda because it prioritizes transformative sustainable development as defined by the SDGs. PCD is an instrument promoted by the global development cooperation community since the 1990s for the purpose of fostering “whole of government” approaches to sustainable development. Why should PCD, however, be limited to activities of government? RISC-RISE contends that PCD should be promoted through bottom-up initiatives that engage with stakeholders in dialogues aimed at establishing coherent, community-based sustainability policy frameworks.

This platform proposes, in association with the GAMMA-UL Chair in Regional Integration and Sustainability at the Instituto de Ecología (INECOL, A.C.), Mexico, a PCD methodology for understanding the coherence of development strategies for sustainability in dialogue with local communities. The methodology is based on four steps:

  • Local citizens define the development needs of their communities, the challenges which they face on a daily basis, and the degree to which policies respond to these challenges.
  • Eight typologies of “(in)coherences” for sustainable development are discussed with communities in order to identify facilitators and obstacles that contribute to their present situations.
  • In association with citizens, policy documents are reviewed, interviews are conducted with stakeholders and public forums are organized in order to collect detailed information on policy contexts.
  • Citizens identify, through participative evaluation, the (in)coherences that affect their community’s ability to attain the sustainable development objectives defined in step one.

The RISC-RISE Knowledge Platform on Participative Policy Coherence for Development promotes this approach through three interlinked activities pursued in collaboration with the GAMMA-UL Chair in Regional Integration and Sustainability:

  • Establishment of a virtual library with reports/studies on policy coherence for development: with the purpose of jointly creating a database of policy relevant and academic documents that question and engage PCD
  • Promotion of normative PCD: Transformative sustainable development is based on ethical commitments that should be the foundation for sustainability. This knowledge platform fosters discussions on the coherence of development strategies for implementation of key sustainability norms.
  • Creation of a virtual discussion forum on PCD in different world regions: PCD has been forwarded by international organizations as a means to coordinate policy so as to prioritize sustainable development. However, PCD is relatively unknown outside of networks of development cooperation actors. Key questions driving this forum ask: How can PCD be appropriated by stakeholders in different world regions, such as Africa, Asia and the Americas? How can PCD achieve in the promotion of sustainable development from below and what are its limits? What is “participative PCD” and how can citizens appropriate this framework to promote community-based sustainability?

GAMMA-UL Chair for Regional Integration and Sustainability


The GAMMA UL-Chair on Regional Integration and Sustainability is responsible for coordinating the research on policy coherence for development which is central to this I-GAMMA project funded by the Mexican Science Foundation, CONACYT. In addition to the research conducted on sustainable development policy-making, the Chair works with coordinators of other branches of the project in order to contribute to the program’s impacts on civil society, governmental decision-making, and capacity-building and training. It will also help the program coordinators to reinforce science-policy coherence by focusing on how information is collected and utilized by academics and decision-makers. The Chair was established in August 2018 for an initial period of five years through an inter-institutional agreement between the Instituto de Ecología, AC (INECOL) and the University of Luxembourg.

Integralidad GAMMA

The I-GAMMA Program pursues the following objectives: 1) it generates new data on ecosystem integrity in Mexico through the use of innovative technologies (satellites, sensors, etc.)  and quantitative analysis,  2) it integrates machine learning and big data analysis into sustainable development decision-making with the goal of promoting policy coherence for development. In addition to research, the program aims to contribute to environmental management through INECOL’s formal collaboration with Mexican government institutions such as CONABIO (National Commission for Knowledge and Use of Biodiversity), CONAFOR (National Forestry Commission), CONANP (National Commission for Protected Areas) and other conservation organizations in partnership with the Mexican Fund for the Conservation of Nature, the CONACyT thematic network on Socio-ecosystems and Sustainability as well as various State governments (such as Veracruz, Guanajuato and Aguascalientes), 3) it contributes to Mexico’s Special Science, Technology and Innovation Program (PECITI), 4) it harnesses and enhances the capacities generated in the environmental and social fields, for the design, linkage, monitoring and evaluation of development plans and programs, oriented to the sustainability, maintaining ecological integrity and contributing to environmental justice, and 4) offers advanced conceptual and methodological training in the field of sustainable development.







Other Articles and Publications



Community Engagement

Climate Change

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Indigenous People

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Gender equality

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Citizen Dialogue on PCSD

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Meet the Participative PCD Team


Sandra Häbel

RISC-RISE Associate Director


Harlan Koff

Professor, University of Luxembourg & GAMMA-UL Chair 



Lauri Siitonen

Professor Emeritus, University of Helsinki


Julia Ros Cuellar

PhD student at the University of Luxembourg



Anthony Challenger

Researcher at GAMMA-UL Chair


Maria del Socorro Lara López

Researcher at GAMMA-UL Chair


Contact Us

For more information, or if you would like to contribute to this platform, please email us: