University of Sussex
Alcamo Grundy Scharlemann 2018 Interactions among the SDGs and why they are important SSRP Policy Brief.pdf (914.37 kB)

Interactions among the sustainable development goals …and why they are important

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posted on 2023-06-09, 14:08 authored by Joseph AlcamoJoseph Alcamo, Caroline Grundy, Jorn Scharlemann
The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a comprehensive, internationally agreed-upon set of objectives aiming to vastly improve economic, social and planetary well-being. How exactly to achieve these goals is now a point of discussion at many fora around the world. At one such forum, a Wilton Park Roundtable, an international group of stakeholders and experts found the efficiency of implementation to be a central issue. This efficiency in turn is related to the fact that the goals are all interconnected: In some cases steps towards achieving one goal may hinder the achievement of one or more other goals, leading to unintended “trade-offs”, or inefficiencies in implementation. But at least as often, actions towards a particular goal can have a positive influence on other goals, setting up beneficial “synergies” among the SDGs. Actions that take advantage of these synergies are key to implementing them efficiently because many different goals can be achieved at the same time and fewer resources are needed to achieve the whole set of goals. Saving resources would be a major payoff to countries confronted with the high costs of implementing the SDGs. The challenge now is to sort through the large number of possible interactions among SDGs to uncover and exploit the most important synergies while minimising the effects of trade-offs. Much can be done to achieve this at all levels, from local to global, including raising awareness about SDG interactions, reorienting investments, and reforming governance.


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University of Sussex and Institute of Development Studies



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Sussex, UK

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University of Sussex

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