in: Development Policy Review, first published 24.07.2023
Promoting coherence for sustainable development (PCSD) is a key means of implementation for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, yet has been overlooked as policy discussions have predominantly focused on the financing of the agenda. The literature and policy debates about PCSD largely focus on processes and on OECD-countries, and they neglect their political and normative dimensions. This article complements recent literature on policy coherence for sustainable development (PCSD) by elaborating and testing a relational perspective on the concept. To address these issues, this article elaborates a relational perspective that responds to the misrepresentation of third countries as passive recipients of (in)coherent OECD policy preferences. The analysis presented summarizes the literature on the related concepts of PCSD and Policy Coherence for Development (PCD). Based on this, the article articulates a relational perspective on policy coherence that complements other critical perspectives in the literature. It subsequently explores the potential and pertinence of this relational perspective by analysing how the fisheries policy preferences of the European Union (EU) interact with those of Ghana. Overall, the analysis shows neither the EU's nor Ghana's commitment to sustainable fisheries can be assumed. Furthermore, assessing the EU and Ghana's responsibilities for sustainability and degrees of adherence are hard to determine as the result of the presence of other fishing nations and influences. In view of the EU's ambitious policy framework, the continued overfishing in Ghanaian waters negatively affects the credibility and justification of its continued involvement. Policy dialogue between the EU and the Ghanaian government and accompanying EU technical assistance have supported changes made to Ghanaian fisheries policies, but overfishing continues. Discussions on promoting PCSD should be supported further empirical research on to what extent and how policy preferences that policy makers consider coherent with the 2030 Agenda contribute to advancing the agenda in different country and regional contexts.