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The ESDN Quarterly Reports provide in-depth documentation of a selected topic on a quarterly basis. The current ESDN Quarterly Report is displayed below. For previous ESDN Quarterly Reports click here.

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ESDN Quarterly Report April 2016

Exploring Peer Learning to support the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for SD

Peer Learning as a tool for SD policymaking

by Umberto Pisano and Gerald Berger

In the context of the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), this ESDN Quarterly Report focuses on the topic of peer learning applied in policy-making, and how is related to practices of governance for sustainable development. In this context, the report aims to support national policy-makers in their challenging job of implementing the 2030 Agenda. In addition, the ESDN is aiming to establish a peer learning mechanism for national policy-makers who are responsible for the 2030 Agenda/SDG implementation and the stakeholders involved in this process. One important cornerstone of this mechanism will be the yearly ESDN Peer Learning Platform (the first one in autumn 2016) that will offer policy-makers from all European countries and selected stakeholders the chance to exchange experiences and learn from implementation practice.

We see ‘peer learning’ as an umbrella concept that encompasses a number of different mechanisms or instruments that support ‘learning’ from and with peers with regard to policies, in our case related to sustainable development.

But, what exactly is a ‘peer’? Who are the peers in this context? Why is ‘peer learning’ key to support the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for SD? And is peer learning connected to policy learning?

We explore these and many other questions throughout this report, which has the following structure: Chapter 1 defines peer learning in the context of policies for sustainable development and, more specifically, in the context of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Chapter 2 provides an overview of practical approaches of peer learning and peer review. Firstly, the international level is explored through an overview of UN and OECD practices that relate to reviews potentially leading to peer learning. Secondly, we present the experiences made in Europe, especially in relation to peer reviews of National Sustainable Development Strategies that several European countries have voluntarily undertaken. We particularly focus on the German experience as the only country in Europe that has launched a Peer Review of its SD Strategy twice, in 2009 and 2013. Chapter 3 concludes and provides several reflections on the topic.

This ESDN Quarterly Report is also one of the background documents for the 14th ESDN Workshop on Peer Learning.

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