Countries can achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by prioritizing investments and policies that bolster positive relationships across the goals, says a new report released today by the International Council for Science (ICSU). The report examines the interactions between the SDGs – a universal set of goals to guide international development to 2030 – and applies a quantitative scale to determine the extent to which they reinforce or conflict with each other.
The report, entitled A Guide to SDG interactions: from Science to Implementation, offers a blueprint to help countries implement and achieve the 17 goals and the 169 targets that sit underneath them. The ICSU report is a first-of-its-kind attempt to quantify SDG synergies and conflicts. ICSU, leading a consortium of 22 scientists, applied a seven-point scale ranging from +3, which applies when one goal or target is very reinforcing of others, to -3, which applies when goals and targets fundamentally conflict with each other.
The SDGs, which were adopted by the international community in 2015, cover a diverse range of issues including gender equity, sustainable cities, access to clean water, and good governance. The aim is for all countries to achieve the goals and their targets by 2030 and set the world on a path towards sustainable development.
“This report demonstrates the unique role that science can and must play in the implementation of the SDGs. We combined the rigor of scientific thinking with the in-depth expertise of scientists from diverse fields like agronomy, oceanography, and epidemiology. The result was an independent analysis that can help policymakers and others engage with the goals and define their own priorities,” said ICSU Executive Director Heide Hackmann.
Download a full report, an executive summary, and a poster from https://www.icsu.org/publications/a-guide-to-sdg-interactions-from-science-to-implementation