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Global frameworks for SDG policy coherence

This article offers an exploration of tools and frameworks to ensure sport policy is aligned to the SDG implementation mechanisms.
A group shot of the Commonwealth sports ministers

For sport to maximise its contribution to the sustainable development goals (SDGs), a broad range of stakeholders must be mobilised. Sport policy must align to, and be integrated into the SDG implementation mechanisms.

SDG policy coherence

Policy coherence refers to the need to align different policies, including policies on different topics that may overlap. This can ensure policies work together to achieve common goals while reducing the potential for policies to negatively affect other policies.

For example, policies related to the sport should align with and reinforce health and education policies. This also makes it more likely for sport policies to be relevant and accepted as contributing to other sectors of society.

National policies should align with regional/global policies

Policy coherence should also exist on different levels, meaning that national policies should align with and complement regional and global policies, and vice versa. There is a commitment to ‘enhance policy coherence for sustainable development in the 2030 Agenda and in SDG Target 17.14.

See the Commonwealth Strengthening Sport-Related Policy Coherence Toolkit for more information

Strengthening the global framework for leveraging sport

A key mechanism for advancing sport’s contribution to the SDGs is The Kazan Action Plan (KAP). This global strategic framework is a voluntary, overarching reference point for policymakers in the fields of physical education, physical activity and sport. Adopted at the MINEPS VI (2017), the KAP marked a shift from declarations of policy intent to measurable action, with three main themes:

  • Developing a comprehensive vision of inclusive access for all
  • Maximising the contributions of sport to sustainable development and peace
  • Protecting the integrity of sport

The annual UN Secreatry-General report

The annual UN Secretary-General Report (2020) on Sport for Development and Peace is also relevant. This highlights the ways sport is contributing to the SDGs and 2030 Agenda, with actions and recommendations.

It also highlights the important role of physical activity and sport in mitigating the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on health and well-being and examines the role of digital technology in helping the sport to fulfil that role.

Developing improved systems to measure the contribution of sport

Developing improved systems to measure the contribution of sport to sustainable development remains critical. A global initiative has been developed to measure the contribution of sport to the SDGs.

This is led by a wide range of actors across the public, private and third sectors, including the Commonwealth Secretariat.

It has resulted in coordinated efforts to develop a set of model indicators to measure the contribution of sport to the SDGs. See here for more information.

Policies and frameworks may seem daunting, but they are important. Many actors are now aligning their work to the SDGs and 2030 Agenda, and other frameworks such as the Kazan Action Plan, UN Action Plan on SDP, the World Health Organization Global Action Plan on Physical Activity and UNESCO Quality Physical Education guidance.

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Sport for Sustainable Development: Designing Effective Policies and Programmes

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