Working paper - a draft framework for understanding SDG interactions (2016)


One of the biggest challenges to the successful implementation of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is the vast array of interdependencies between the goals and the 169 targets. This paper presents a conceptual tool to start understanding these interlinkages across the SDGs and invite scientists, policymakers and practitioners to jointly explore how the SDGs puzzle fits together and how it can be implemented.

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.

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 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.

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