A global commitment to Policy Coherence for Development. Yes, but… which policies? VI José Luis Sampedro Award (Spanish)

  • Authors:
    Antonio Sianes Castaño, Mª Luz Ortega Carpio
  • Publication:
    Revista de Economía Mundial, núm. 36, enero-abril, 2014, pp. 121-152
  • Year: 2014


In recent years, especially as a result of the profound questioning of the effectiveness of Official Development Assistance (ODA) in the fight against poverty, a whole series of new concepts and instruments have emerged in the development aid system. Among these, one of those that is gaining greater relevance at both the institutional and academic levels is Policy Coherence for Development (PCD).

It seems to be increasingly accepted by the international community that a comprehensive development-oriented policy approach has a much greater multiplier effect in promoting development than approaches based on the transmission of funds via ODA. However, to date there is still no doctrinal consensus on the meaning and scope of PCD, how many are its sectoral components and which are the most suitable mechanisms to facilitate its promotion.

These divergences can lead to the fact that, when a global agenda for promoting development through PCD is proposed, the different countries involved defend contradictory positions, generating a situation of indetermination similar to that experienced during the 1990s, once again leaving the necessary renewal of the aid architecture in abeyance.

This article shows this conceptual disparity at a theoretical level, with the ultimate aim of exploring in depth the different sectoral approaches to PCD being carried out by donor countries.

For this purpose, a cluster analysis is carried out to characterize the different sectoral strategies followed in the field of PCD, identifying which donor countries belong to each of these groups.

The result obtained shows how, beyond the existence of a single PCD approach, there coexist very different (and even antagonistic) visions of promoting development through greater coherence of public policies in general.

This corroborates the latent danger of continuing to treat PCD as a monolithic concept, and invites further research on it at both the conceptual and analytical levels.

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