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Journal article

Greening recovery – overcoming policy incoherence for sustainability transformations

Policy coherence is crucial in the 2030 Agenda’s transformative ambitions and heralded as of paramount importance to ensure the successful implementation of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and climate policy targets.

Åsa Persson / Published on 16 February 2023

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Gottenhuber, S., Linnér, B.-O., Wibeck, V., & Persson, Å. (2023). Greening recovery – Overcoming policy incoherence for sustainability transformations. Environmental Policy and Governance, 1– 15.

Despite political efforts to achieve policy coherence, apparent trade-offs and goal conflicts have emerged – even in a proclaimed ‘front-runner’ country like Sweden.

This paper examines the role of ideas in proposing and legitimising policy options and achieving policy coherence in the light of the Swedish recovery debate in 2020 following the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ideas of a green economic recovery put forward in the public debate are examined through thematic text and frame analysis. The authors show that ideas of a green transition, boosted by economic recovery spending, draw on a synergistic frame in combining social, environmental, and economic policy options, carrying a potential for coherency.

However, the absence of a discussion on power, as in who stands to gain what under which circumstances, coupled with an inherent understanding of a temporal hierarchy of policy priorities does not only impact the ability to design coherent policies but may have considerable impacts on the prospects of achieving sustainability transformations.

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Open access

SEI author

Åsa Persson
Åsa Persson

Research Director and Deputy Director

SEI Headquarters

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