Harvesting Synergy from Sustainable Development Goal Interactions

Harvesting Synergy from Sustainable Development Goal Interactions

A new research paper Harvesting Synergy from Sustainable Development Goal Interactions from the Millennium Institute identifies five fundamental mechanisms that when applied at different stages of the SDG results chain can give rise to synergies–and save precious economic resources invested in achieving sustainable development. The paper is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

The SDGs offer a compelling vision and universally agreed-upon framework to achieve a sustainable and equitable future—but present a costly undertaking in the short term. With only a decade left to achieve the goals, the global community is in a race against time.

Given the diversity of the targets, it is inevitable that in some cases two or more targets have a positive effect on each other, while in others, targets are in conflict. A deeper understanding of the cross-sector impacts and synergies among policies designed to meet the SDGs is therefore needed as the 2030 deadline approaches.

Our research suggests that synergetic effects arising from appropriately designed policy mixes can bring significant cost savings and improve SDG attainment. In the paper, we present a method for identifying synergies and assessing them quantitatively. We also introduce a typology of five classes of synergies that enables an understanding of their causal structures.

The full paper is available from https://www.pnas.org/content/116/46/23021.