The article proposes a framework based on a simple three-stage model of policy-making: understanding policy interactions (input), integrating policy-making (process), and assessing ex ante policy decisions (output).

The first stage uses an interactions assessment framework, identifying how different sectors or ministries relate to each other in terms of their respective objectives, and on what topics negotiations are required to manage trade-offs.

The second stage draws on approaches and experiences in environmental policy integration. It focuses on institutional procedures, structures and rules that enable integrated policy-making processes. The third stage draws on the longer-standing policy-analytical field of impact assessment applied to sustainable development.

The article discusses the conceptual and theoretical foundations of each stage, as well as practical policy experiences. Discussing this in the context of 2030 Agenda implementation, the article suggests how trade-offs and policy coherence can be better governed using adapted policy-analytic methods and approaches.