Integration: the key to implementing the Sustainable Development Goals

Mark Stafford-Smith, David Griggs, Owen Gaffney, Farooq Ullah, Belinda Reyers, Norichika Kanie, Bjorn Stigson, Paul Shrivastava, Melissa Leach, Deborah O’Connell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

138 Scopus citations

Abstract

On 25 September, 2015, world leaders met at the United Nations in New York, where they adopted the Sustainable Development Goals. These 17 goals and 169 targets set out an agenda for sustainable development for all nations that embraces economic growth, social inclusion, and environmental protection. Now, the agenda moves from agreeing the goals to implementing and ultimately achieving them. Across the goals, 42 targets focus on means of implementation, and the final goal, Goal 17, is entirely devoted to means of implementation. However, these implementation targets are largely silent about interlinkages and interdependencies among goals. This leaves open the possibility of perverse outcomes and unrealised synergies. We demonstrate that there must be greater attention on interlinkages in three areas: across sectors (e.g., finance, agriculture, energy, and transport), across societal actors (local authorities, government agencies, private sector, and civil society), and between and among low, medium and high income countries. Drawing on a global sustainability science and practice perspective, we provide seven recommendations to improve these interlinkages at both global and national levels, in relation to the UN’s categories of means of implementation: finance, technology, capacity building, trade, policy coherence, partnerships, and, finally, data, monitoring and accountability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)911-919
Number of pages9
JournalSustainability Science
Volume12
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Health(social science)
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Ecology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

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  • Cite this

    Stafford-Smith, M., Griggs, D., Gaffney, O., Ullah, F., Reyers, B., Kanie, N., Stigson, B., Shrivastava, P., Leach, M., & O’Connell, D. (2017). Integration: the key to implementing the Sustainable Development Goals. Sustainability Science, 12(6), 911-919. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11625-016-0383-3