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New ICSU paper published: “A draft framework for understanding SDG interactions”

2016 is the year when the implementation phase of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) really kicks into action. The principle obstacle to implementation at the national level is the complex web of interactions between different goals. To that end, the International Council for Science has just published a new working paper that presents a new tool to analyse and understand interactions between different SDGs.
New ICSU paper published: “A draft framework for understanding SDG interactions”

Cover of the working paper. For download link, see below.

Authored by Måns Nilsson, Dave Griggs, Martin Visbeck and Claudia Ringler, “A draft framework for understanding SDG interactions” was developed as part of a project led by the Council to explore an integrated and strategic approach to implementation of the SDGs. It goes hand in hand with a commentary in Nature, also published today, called “Map the interactions between the Sustainable Development Goals.”

“While the scientific community has emphasized the need for a systems approach to sustainable development, scientists, like policy-makers, are now facing the challenge of turning the goals into reality,” say the authors of the paper.

“This paper presents a conceptual tool to start unpacking interlinkages across the Sustainable Development Goals and invite scientists, policymakers and practitioners to jointly explore how the SDG puzzle fits together and how it can be implemented,” they add.

The framework is based on a seven-point scale of SDG interactions, ranging from “Indivisible” to “Cancelling” which is intended to identify and test development pathways that minimize negative interactions and enhance positive ones.

The working paper is the result of a two-day workshop organized by the Council in January 2016 which brought together a range of stakeholders to discuss and refine the conceptual framework.

The framework is a starting point for building an evidence base to characterize the goal interactions in specific local, national or regional contexts. The Council is currently convening research teams to develop thematic case studies, starting with the SDGs for health, energy, and food and agriculture. The case studies will be compiled into a report, expected to be published at the end of 2016.

This draft framework will be presented at the UN High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development in New York in July.

You can download the working paper here.

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