Timotej Šooš, Development Strategy Lead with the Government of the Republic of Slovenia, gives Measure What Matters an overview of Slovenia’s plans for implementing the SDGs and development agenda for 2030 and beyond.
The world is turning into a global village, technological progress reduces distances, and global political and economic processes enable countless new opportunities. Meanwhile, we face growing inequality, increased security threats arising along a number of social axes. Growing tensions are already threatening security around the world, and new challenges and new threats may further erode trust between generations, nations, states, interest and social groups. Complex and dynamic challenges can no longer be resolved through approaches to which we have grown accustomed.
Countries therefore must prepare themselves for the rapid changes. Policymakers have to anticipate and address these complex and connected issues, identify and understand the shifts that these issues can bring about in economic and social conditions, and adapt the design and implementation of future reforms. In the context of fast, fundamental and global changes policymakers are entrusted with designing policies and processes that are effective in these potential turbulent conditions. They must avoid relying on forecasting and, instead, engage with irreducible uncertainty and ambiguity in assessing the effectiveness of policy interventions.
This is why in 2015 the Government of the Republic of Slovenia initiated the process of preparing its national development strategy 2030 guided by the Slovenia’s vision 2050. Both are being created with the foundational focus on the implementation of the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development. At the national level,the implementation of the SDGs requires us to closely collaborate with key stakeholders at home, identify common challenges, set priorities, and align policies and actions.
In preparing its long term strategic direction, Slovenia is establishing an integrated policy framework for sustainable development that will help us ensure that sectorial, domestic, and foreign policies are coherent internally as well as with its international commitments and priorities for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
The process has been designed in three phases. First phase presents the strategic direction setting, so called visioning phase (Vision 2050). The second part of the process is focused on strategic planning phase, where the new vision is being translated into strategic priorities, and a timeline of actionable goals and measurable targets are being designed (Strategy 2030). Third phase is focused on the effective implementation and monitoring of the new national strategy on a government-wide basis (Action Plans).
Visioning process included a comprehensive situational assessment, actionable long-term vision for the country, and forward engagement and communications strategy. Second part of the process focuses on priorities setting and identification of a measurable and manageable set of 2030 goals and targets; development of a country-specific, multidimensional measurement framework, including indicators; and a policy gap analysis with roadmap. Third phase implements capacity building, support to the development of an appropriate government-wide management system and evaluation framework.
The Government Office leads the process for Development and European cohesion policy, however, the project is very horizontal, and includes all sectors of the government. There are two specific dimensions of public governance that are important with respect to implementing such a complex strategy:
- Budgeting practices (how to ensure flexibility in budgeting and accountability frameworks so that departments can engage in multi-year planning, pool resources, share accountability, set joint performance targets etc.)
- Centre of government coordination and steering (how to organise coordination across departments and outside government – negotiating appropriate targets to monitor progress with key priorities, agreeing on joint and individual outputs and timelines, agreeing roles and responsibilities with respect to implementation, and so on)
Attention to these practical matters can be crucial in ensuring that complex policies benefit from the full range of resources and expertise that are available across government and beyond but that are often not brought together effectively to support key strategies because of a lack of flexibility and innovation in the way administrations are structured and managed.
Slovenia is committed to contribute its share towards the achievement of the SDGs. In this respect, it wants to accomplish two goals: on the one side, strive to be a responsible citizen of the world, and on the other side, to be a good (national) community. In this way, it is also addressing the perplexed challenges at the global, regional, national and sub-national levels. Slovenia has merged the preparation of the national Development Strategy with its response to the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development.
Timotej Šooš is Development Strategy Lead with the Government of the Republic of Slovenia @timsoos