Recommendation: Improve alignment of policies and strengthen collaboration across sectors
A principle aim of the EU Institutions and of all governments is to deliver well-being. The environmental crisis reflects a failure to do this in the medium to long term. It is becoming more evident how some policies and interventions, such those that promote intensive farming practices, or the prevalence of motorised vehicles, damage public health and well-being. Policy-makers at all levels must therefore (re)define overarching policy goals to ensure that support the triple-win and thereby well-being. More efforts are then also needed to align the work of different sectors to achieve the overarching goals, and ensure that actions reinforce and do not undermine or contradict one another. Finally, more approaches must be trialled and tested that help actors across sectors exploit synergies and address trade-offs. Whilst this need for integrated governance and greater collaboration has long been recognised, progress in practice has been slow. A qualitative analysis of intersectoral cooperation across different INHERIT case studies highlights that many barriers remain, which policymakers can help to address – by setting the right policy objectives, reducing legislative hurdles, and providing the right incentives. INHERIT case studies also demonstrate that harnessing intersectoral collaboration has great potential for triple-wins. The urgency of the climate crisis and the need for an efficient use of resources to take effective action must be the impetus for change.
We worked with 2 different aldermen, one for health and one for sustainability. And that was difficult. Because of the political aspect, it seemed everyone wanted to use the topic to their own advantage, as election day was fast approaching.
The municipality’s organisation has not been equipped in finding appropriate forums and how to join and collaborate. It is a large organisation with different administrations, where the information does not always reach everyone or end up in the right place. It’s a challenge.
The intersectoral cooperation in projects of this type is motivating in its own right.
Proper anchoring – common goals and methods. Everyone pulls in the same direction and knows what issues to work with.
And then I realised, we are, together, very big. Not in mass and performance indicators, but together we have a lot of personal impact, and we make the difference together with and for the inhabitants.
INHERIT outcomes provide insights on two types of intersectoral collaboration:
- Integrated governance, between different sectors in the same public administration.
- Cross-sector collaboration between public, private, civil society, and individual actors. Recommendation 6 on Private Sector guidance, Recommendation 7 on community engagement and Recommendation 8 on Support for bottom-up action are highly relevant to cross-sectoral collaboration.
INHERIT triple-win case studies
More information on the INHERIT case studies can be found in the Annex: triple-win case studies
An integrated city approach to make healthy sustainable food available to low-income populations. Demonstrates how different sectors and organisations can exchange good practice and work synergistically together to implement actions towards healthy eating.
Community garden providing organic food for low-income families, staffed by volunteers from vulnerable groups. Provides healthy and sustainable food, work activation and garden education opportunities for vulnerable populations, and increased green space in an urban area.
Additional Reading from INHERIT
National-level policy roundtable (2019) Institute of Public Health, Republic of North Macedonia Health in our urban policies – How healthy are our cities? Academy of Sciences and Arts of the Republic of North Macedonia: Skopje.
Article: the STOEMP network in Ghent
Vos, M., Romeo-Velilla, M., Stegeman, I., et al. (submitted) Qualitative evaluation of the STOEMP network in Ghent: an intersectoral approach to make healthy and sustainable food available to all.
Van der Vliet, N., Den Broeder, L., Staatsen & B., Kruize, H. (2019) INHERIT: Success Factors, Barriers and Future of Intersectoral Cooperation: A Qualitative Evaluation of Twelve INHERIT Case Studies. Summary report.