A capacity-building process using SDG Synergies led to it being adopted for policy alignment across government sectors, and even inspiring new legislation.

In this project, SEI was invited by the UNDP and Mongolia’s National Development Agency to help build capacity in the Mongolian government for more integrated policymaking. The centrepiece was a multistakeholder SDG Synergies process.

The project partners decided to analyse targets from Mongolia’s recently adopted Sustainable Development Vision 2030, rather than the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) themselves, in order to make the process more directly relevant to the Mongolian context. The Vision localizes the SDGs for Mongolia and harmonizes them with the country’s national development goals.

A two-day workshop in Ulaanbatar gathered 30 local stakeholders, including representatives of 10 ministries and government bodies, non-governmental organizations and a university. These stakeholders together scored interactions between 17 water-related targets and targets from across the sustainable development agenda.

The results of the analysis revealed that, for example, progress on a target of more accountable governance structures would have the strongest positive influence on progress towards the other targets. The exercise also highlighted how the approach could be further refined and adapted for Mongolia.

Since then, the Mongolian government has adapted and applied SDG Synergies in a range of other processes. For example, the National Development Agency used SDG Synergies as part of a national policy review of 13 sectors and 40 sub-sectors. The approach has even been written into legislation as the main tool for aligning national development policies with sustainable development goals.

An adaptation of the SDG Synergies approach was also used in drafting Mongolia’s Voluntary National Review report on SDG progress to the UN High-level Political Forum in 2019.

“In the sectors where SDG Synergies was applied, the process for organizing and facilitating meetings for drafting sectoral policy goals and objectives went from being a top-down to a consensus-based approach” – Suzanna Sumkhuu, Senior Development Policy and Planning Specialist for Mongolia’s National Development Agency”