The parallel panel sessions (9, 10 and 11 June 2020) are found listed below the navigation table, including paper titles, abstracts, and names of presenters, with the name of the presenting author underlined. Missing information will be published soon.
Integration and Interlinkages
Indicators and Methods
IMPLEMENTATION I: International Governance
Chair: Thomas Hickmann, Utrecht University, The Netherlands
Discussant: Azita Berar-Awad, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Switzerland
Technical Facilitator: N.N.
Time: 9 June, 16:00-17:30 UTC+2
Custodians of sustainable development: an assessment of indicator custodianship for the SDGs
Melanie van Driel, Frank Biermann, Rakhyun E. Kim and Marjanneke Vijge, Utrecht University, The Netherlands
The 17 SDGs aim to provide a holistic and integrated agenda covering multiple issue areas simultaneously. This example of governance through goals raises questions about its potential ‘steering effect’, how steering effects can be measured and how global level steering can be effective. This paper aims to add to these questions originating from the fragmentation, polycentrism and institutional complexity literature by researching the institutional novelty of indicator custodianship. At the global level custodians lead methodology development, compile, calculate and disperse data series and aggregates for their indicator and provide the annual narrative for the global progress report. Nationally, custodians coordinate with statistical systems, inspire capacity-building, data collection and ensure data comparability and quality. There are currently 44 custodian agencies from within and outside of the United Nations system, governing 232 indicators. The number of custodians per goal differs significantly, as does the number of indicators per custodian. Through a systematic document analysis, comprehensive survey and expert interviews this paper explores to what extent and under which conditions indicator custodianship can increase global level institutional cooperation and effectiveness. Applying a framework for cooperation to the 17 SDGs, this paper focuses on the institutional set-up per goal, defines and evaluates what cooperation per SDG can entail for indicator custodians, and maps current cooperation. The results of this study are used to assess the potential of indicator custodianship for a more integrated global governance approach.
A polycentric perspective on the United Nations bound to achieve the SDGs
Hannes Goegele, SOAS University of London, United Kingdom
In 2020, the United Nations commemorates 75 years since the ratification of its founding Charter. Over recent years, critics increasingly challenge the prospect of multilateralism and the effectiveness of global bureaucracy. At the same time, academics and practitioners recognise that present-day challenges require global solutions. The United Nations has acknowledged the public mistrust and eagerly engaged on reviving its merit, displayed not least through the innovative formulation of 17 SDGs. Elaborated as part of the 2030 Agenda, these ambitious goals aim at creating an enabling, safe and sustainable environment for all people. The paper reviews the effects of global goal-setting on the United Nations development system, emphasising the inherent potential to reform its very governance to reinvigorate the organisation’s global positioning and to accelerate the SDG implementation. The paper draws on Vincent and Elinor Ostrom’s studies on polycentric governance. It projects the original application of polycentricity in local administration to the current affairs of global bureaucracy in the goal-setting context. The paper analyses the inclusiveness of governance arrangements and examines the extent of polycentricity in the United Nations. The study asserts that a polycentric approach to the United Nations rules, procedures and institutions offers a provoking perspective to adversaries of global governance. The paper concludes that an increased level of polycentricity in the United Nations gives local communities the global voice promised in the organisation’s founding Charter. More so, it repositions the United Nations as a transformational change agent critical to innovate and accelerate the SDGs’ implementation.
Integrated sustainability and change in international organisations: The case of the International Labour Organisation
Francesco S. Montesano, Frank Biermann, Agni Kalfagianni and Marjanneke Vijge, Utrecht University, The Netherlands
In the Anthropocene, the integration between socio-economic and ecological systems becomes a central sustainability governance challenge. However, have international organisations responded to this change? The existing literature on sustainability transformations in international organisations focuses on the end-results of change and tends to overlook how contextual changes such as the Anthropocene can impact the institutional and organisational level. In particular, a research gap exists about whether new global sustainability governance solutions such as the SDGs, allegedly the most advanced ‘integrated’ attempt, can impact international organisations approaches to sustainability. Drawing on international relations theories that emphasise the incorporation of change into the analysis of political phenomena, this paper develops an original conceptual framework with ideas, norms and institutions as the key interdependent stages of context-informed processes of change. It then uses the framework to assess sustainability-oriented change in the International Labour Organisation. The International Labour Organisation, whose original mandate already integrated social and economic development, constitutes an ideal case study to see whether the environmental dimension of sustainability is making inroads at all levels. It is also a good test case to assess the steering role of the SDGs in this direction. Focusing on the last ten years, this paper conducts a systematic qualitative content analysis of primary documentary sources, complemented with expert interviews and insights into more operational developments. It identifies promising yet uneven trends of change towards the integration of environmental elements into the International Labour Organisation’s approach to sustainable development.
IMPLEMENTATION II: International Law and Norms
Chair: Yixian Sun, University of Bath, United Kingdom
Discussant: Louis Kotze, North-West University, South Africa
Technical Facilitator: N.N.
Time: 11 June, 16:00-17:30 UTC+2
Never-ending hunger? Norm conflicts and the implementation of SDG 2 in the global food regime complex
Magdalena Tanzer, Helmut Breitmeier, Andrés Checa, Jacob Manderbach, and Sandra Schwindenhammer, Justus Liebig University Gießen, Germany
The sustainability norm cluster is contested and open to different interpretations. It comprises ecological, economic and social norms. International organisations are important for the implementation of these norms. However, SDGs are determined by norm conflicts. Do single International organisations pursue specific norm understandings? Can International organisations reach common understandings about norms? These questions become relevant in food governance, where International organisations are necessary to achieve complex goals. Despite the normative reference of SDG 2, rising hunger and the slow transformation towards sustainable agriculture indicate that the world is off track to implement SDG 2. We argue that norm conflicts among International organisations can contribute to explain this erroneous trend. Based on findings from the TANNRE research project, funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, we describe diverging norm understandings of key International organisations of the global food regime complex – FAO, UNEP, WHO and WTO. We further investigate the transformation potential of interinstitutional arrangements, which we conceptualise as fora for interaction and communication between International organisations, state and non-state actors. Connecting critical IR norm theory and regime complex theory, we introduce a framework for analysing norm conflict management in interinstitutional arrangements. Referring to structure- and agency-based approaches, we assess the impact of interplay management, authority pooling and resources, and knowledge. Drawing on interviews and document analyses, we then present results from a qualitative comparative analysis of three arrangements, in which at least two International organisations cooperate: Sustainable Food Systems Programme (FAO and UNEP), Standards and Trade Development Facility (FAO, WHO and WTO), and Codex Alimentarius Commission (FAO and WHO).
Do multilateral environmental agreements contribute to SDGs? An assessment of effectiveness through legal indicators
Emmanuella Doussis, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece, and Ilaria Espa, Università della Svizzera Italiana, Switzerland
In recent decades, international treaties concerning directly or indirectly the environment have proliferated extensively. Despite the growing number of such agreements, and multilateral environmental agreements especially, we still know very little of their actual contribution to sustainable development. The existing literature provides little information on the effectiveness of these instruments and scholars even disagree on what effectiveness actually means so that how to measure effectiveness becomes a rather obscure exercise. This state of things leads to having this wide array of instruments not integrated in the state of the environment and/or sustainable development scorecards published regularly by states and international organisations, which report almost exclusively on scientific, economic and social data. Even when multilateral environmental agreements are taken into consideration in formal state-of-the-environment reports, they are not the subject of in-depth evaluations. Therefore, the weight of international environmental law and its usefulness seems to be underestimated. This paper examines why it is important to integrate effectiveness issues of multilateral environmental agreements in assessing furtherance of sustainable development, in general, and implementation of SDGs, in particular, and how this could practically be achieved. It explores the methodological challenges inherent to designing a set of legal indicators (that is, quantitative measures of the performance of legal systems) that could be meaningful for multiple agreements and discusses the pros and cons of tailoring the choice of suitable legal indicators for clusters of agreements, either on a natural resources basis (for example, the agreements on the protection of watercourses) and/or on a treaty-basis (for example, the Paris Agreement).
Global goals as global norms: What goal-based governance can learn from political theory?
Fergus Green, Utrecht University, The Netherlands
Many of the SDGs and associated targets can fruitfully be understood as nascent global moral norms. Global moral norms are standards of appropriate behaviour expected of states and globally significant non-state actors that came about through concerted efforts inspired by normative ideals (like justice or human rights). Because of their location at the intersection of normative ideals and real-world attempts by political actors to alter their normative environment, global moral norms invite attention from both the normative and empirical branches of political science. In this paper, I argue that goals-as-norms can usefully be evaluated from two distinct perspectives. First, they can be evaluated in the light of ideal normative political theory by asking whether and to what extent their instantiation would contribute to ideals such as basic rights. Second, they can be evaluated in the light of social scientific research on how moral and social norms emerge, spread and effect change. Combining these two sets of considerations may reveal hidden complementarities and trade-offs within individual SDGs as between their ideal-desirability and their potential to contribute to real-world change. These insights, in turn, can help practitioners to identify and prioritise the most promising goals and targets. For researchers, these insights offer numerous potential payoffs. They can be deployed to evaluate SDGs and targets, both ex ante and ex post, and to develop theoretical explanations for the (in)effectiveness of the goals and targets, informing both qualitative and quantitative empirical research.
SDGs and international environmental law: Gaps and opportunities for synergies in climate action and halting biodiversity loss
Salla Rantala, Finnish Environment Institute, Finland, Shankar Adhikari, REDD Implementation Centre, Ministry of Forests and Environment, Nepal, Gabriela Iacobuta, German Development Institute, Germany, Stefania Minestrini, European Environment Agency, Copenhagen, Denmark, and Julika Tribukait, World Wildlife Fund, Germany
The SDGs represent a new mode of governance through shared goals instead of legally binding international agreements. Yet, international regulatory action is required to support the goals as the challenges transcend boundaries, especially to address the drivers of the deterioration of global commons such as the atmosphere and biodiversity. Previous analysis has identified both trade-offs as well as synergies between efforts that intend to promote different SDGs. In order to harness the synergies and achieve cost-effective action, these interlinkages need to be better understood. In this paper, we focus on the interlinkages between climate action (SDG13) and halting biodiversity loss (SDG15) vis-à-vis the main relevant international legal instruments: the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). Through literature reviews, we investigate the shared drivers of climate change and biodiversity loss and the kind of action that would be likely to create co-benefits for SDG13 and SDG15. We analyze how CBD and UNFCCC currently address those drivers, trade-offs and potential for co-benefits, and identify synergetic aspects currently not addressed in the legal frameworks. We also analyze the content of debates and resolutions of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) as a complementary political process to see how interlinkages between SDG13 and 15 are addressed, and how the focus differs from the legal frameworks. The results suggest broad attention to co-benefits of land-based actions by CBD and UNFCCC, but significant gaps remain, especially related to economic drivers. The increasing focus of UNEA on sustainable production and consumption suggests wide potential for co-benefits beyond SDG12, targeting also some of the key drivers of climate change and biodiversity loss.
IMPLEMENTATION III: International Organisations
Chair: Nienke Boland, Utrecht University, The Netherlands
Discussant: Kristina Jönsson, Lund University, Sweden
Technical Facilitator: N.N.
Time: 11 June, 14:00-15:30 UTC+2
United Nations reforms for the 2030 Agenda: The review of the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development
Marianne Beisheim, German Institute for International and Security Affairs, Germany
The High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development is currently the heart of United Nations sustainable development governance. It is meant to support member states in providing ‘political leadership, guidance and recommendations’ for implementing the 2030 Agenda and SDGs. This analysis shows, however, that the High-Level Political Forum risks failing in its task as it is not sufficiently equipped for this. Succeeding the global goal-setting in 2015, the High-Level Political Forum’s major approach has been the ‘follow-up and review’ of SDG implementation through thematic and voluntary national reviews, implemented as a rather soft peer-learning mechanism. Already in 2016 member states decided to review the ‘format and organisational aspects’ of the High-Level Political Forum after the first four-year cycle, this process started in February 2020. While in-depth reforms are necessary, they would be difficult to realise in the current political context. Improvements to working methods and practices, however, are within the realm of the possible. Drawing on an analysis of the High-Level Political Forum’s current working methods and practices, the paper explores the reforms that are being discussed in New York.
The effects of the SDGs: Insights from a dynamic network analysis of 313 intergovernmental organisations
Maya Bogers, Frank Biermann, Agni Kalfagianni and Rakhyun E. Kim, Utrecht University, The Netherlands
The system of global governance consists of fragmented international institutions. With the adoption of the SDGs in 2015, however, an unprecedented trust has been placed in the capacity of global goals to bring together these separate international institutions operating in silos. Yet little is known about goal-setting as a global governance mechanism and its effects on existing governance networks. Do the SDGs facilitate integration among intergovernmental organisations? To shed light on this question, this paper assesses and explains how the network of intergovernmental organisations has evolved in its structure before and after the advent of the SDGs. More specifically, a network model of 313 intergovernmental organisations is constructed using their websites and hyperlinks between 2012 and 2018. From this model, the paper makes three main assessments. Firstly, the changing degree of overall network fragmentation over time is analysed. Secondly, a systematic comparison is made of the network structures between different SDG domains. Lastly, integration across the social, economic and environmental dimensions of the SDGs is assessed. Data is collected through a custom-made web crawler that retrieves hyperlink networks from archived websites of intergovernmental organisations. This novel method has never been used in global governance research, and our study demonstrates its potential to significantly advance the field. This paper makes a significant contribution to our understanding of the effects of global goals on the structure and dynamics of global governance.
The role of international organisations in achieving the SDGs
David Kuhn and Rakhyun E. Kim, Utrecht University, The Netherlands
The SDGs present a new approach to global governance dubbed as ‘governance through goals’. In contrast to more hierarchical forms of steering, the SDGs with its specific characteristics open the field up for novel constellations of private and public efforts, bottom-up initiatives or networks on, for example, the city level. However, the specific contribution of international organisations to the implementation of the SDGs remains largely unknown. Here we focus on a specific international organisation, namely the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, and examine its capacity to steer the behaviour of national governments towards implementing the SDGs. We find that the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe is able to exercise normative and orchestrated influence by facilitating the establishment of national environmental standards by enlisting intermediary actors such as the Organisation for International Economic Relations, the International Office for Water or universities. In line with the increasing theoretical and empirical rejection of understanding international organisations as pure reflectors of state’s interest, our analysis confirms the potential and autonomous capacity of international organisations in advancing national policies. Subsequently, we call for further research on the potentially significant role of international organisations as orchestrators for the SDGs.
Sustainable development agenda setting and orchestration: The leading role of the United Nations
Montserrat Koloffon Rosas, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, The Netherlands
The United Nations currently plays a central role on the sustainable development front at the global governance level. On the one hand, it fulfils the agenda setting role, with its 2030 Agenda, including the SDGs (and previously the Millennium Development Goals). On the other hand, it can be considered an ‘orchestrator of orchestrators’ (Bernstein 2017) with the responsibility to indirectly advance the implementation of this agenda. Despite the common perception of orchestration as a ‘soft’ governance strategy, I argue that it is a decisive role, which combined with the agenda setting, makes the United Nations the main actor in leading the efforts towards sustainable development. As a leader, the United Nations has the responsibility to engage in a continuous improvement process to fulfil these important roles to the best of its capacities. The contribution of this work is twofold. First, with the aim of laying out the procedural development within the United Nations, a comparison is made between the ‘agenda-setting’ process of the Millennium Development Goals and the SDGs. Specifically, I focus on identifying the decisive factors for the goals to be included on either of the two sets of goals. Secondly, a systematic assessment of the United Nations orchestration performance since the SDGs were launched is conducted, based on the four conditions for a successful orchestration outlined by Steven Bernstein. Areas of opportunity are discussed to improve the United Nations’ effectiveness at guiding all involved actors towards the achievement of the SDGs.
IMPLEMENTATION IV: Implementation at National Level (Part 1)
Chair: Cathy Oke, University of Melbourne, Australia
Discussant: Konar Mutafoglu, Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies, Germany
Technical Facilitator: N.N.
Time: 11June, 11:00-12:30 UTC+2
Towards the SDG 7 targets: Business challenges in geothermal energy sector in Indonesia
Akmilatul Maghfiroh, Gadjah Mada University, Indonesia,Yanuardi Yanuardi, Utrecht University, the Netherlands and Yogyakarta State University, Indonesia, and Ahmad Fauzi Purwandono, Utrecht University, The Netherlands and Gadjah Mada University, Indonesia
Increasing investment in the renewable energy sector is one of the targets of SDG 7. Despite having 40 percent of the world’s geothermal potential, Indonesia remains heavily dependent on fossil fuel and its installed geothermal power capacity is less than 7 percent of its potential. The government has set a high target to increase energy mix from geothermal energy; however, the investment progress seems halted. This paper elaborates on the extent to which business encounters challenges to operate in Indonesia to support the achievement of the target, particularly on the geothermal energy sector. This research scrutinises data from media analysis and interviews related to the geothermal energy sector in Indonesia. The findings of hindrance confronted by business actors are geological risks during exploration and production, resistance from local government, NGOs and communities, lengthy and costly license process, rent-seekers, price competition with coal and feed-in tariff in the monopolised market. Although the Indonesian government has attempted to issue a set of policies to overcome these obstacles, this effort has not yet successfully achieved the target.
Using high-tech, high-touch healthcare to achieve multiple SDGs: A public-private research partnership with mine houses accelerate SDGs in South Africa
Anna Susanna Malan, R. Bennett, Tiaan de Jager, Jannie Hugo, and Tessa Marcus, University of Pretoria, South Africa
A threat to achieving the SDGs by 2030 is having vertical programmes that are implemented in silos, and of trade-offs between different goals. The community-oriented primary care research unit of Pretoria University’s Faculty of Health Sciences is currently researching a holistic approach to universal health coverage that has the potential of contributing to as many as 8 SDGs. The initiative is part of a broader joint development initiative between the two large mine companies of Anglo American and Exxaro Resources. They have decided to collaborate to optimise their development requirements and to reduce duplication, since they often share communities. One of the selected development initiatives is to implement a model of public healthcare that demonstrates how universal health coverage can be achieved when the government service is augmented with private sector contributions. The model is currently implemented as a ‘living lab’ in the Mogalakwena mine area in South Africa, with 180,000 people. The elements of the community-oriented primary care model include: mapping and modelling the community’s disease burden and expected facility use; allocating the existing cadre of healthcare workers to visit each household; training the healthcare workers to register and refer patients through a mobile device ICT platform and to become information providers of health, proper water use and sanitation, healthy lifestyles and improved diet and nutrition. The research has already shown positive results in health, nutrition and social indicators. The objective now is to use the ICT platform and healthcare workers to optimise the linkages between the 8 SDGs, and to track the number of cross-cutting indicators. The latest results are shared with conference participants.
Proposal for a national blueprint framework to monitor progress on water-related SDGs in Europe
Bryony Essex, Stef Koop, and Kees van Leeuwen, KWR Watercycle Research Institute and Utrecht University, The Netherlands
The 17 SDGs underpinned by 169 targets present national governments with huge challenges for implementation. We developed a proposal for a National Blueprint Framework with 24 water-related indicators, centred on SDG 6 (clean water and sanitation for all), each with a specific target. We applied the National Blueprint Framework to 28 EU member states and conclude that: (1) The current SDG 6 indicators are useful for monitoring progress towards water-related targets, but their usefulness can be improved by focusing more on their practical implementation. (2) The extension of SDG 6 with complementary indicators (for example, for the circular economy of water) and quantitative policy targets is urgently needed. This will benefit the communication process and progress at the science-policy interface. (3) SDG indicators can be improved in a specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound manner and by setting clear policy targets for each indicator, allowing for measuring Distance-to-Targets. This allows country-to-country comparison and learning and accelerates the SDG implementation process. (4) We propose 24 water-related indicators centred on SDG 6, with complementary indicators including quantitative policy targets. The approach is doable, easily scalable, and flexibly deployable by collecting information for the EU-28. (5) Main gaps in the 28 EU member states are observed for water quality, wastewater treatment, nutrient and energy recovery, as well as climate adaptation to extreme weather events (heat, droughts and floods). (6) The framework was less successful for non-OECD countries due to lack of data and EU-centric targets for each indicator.
IMPLEMENTATION V: Implementation at National Level (Part 2)
Chair: Melanie van Driel, Utrecht University, The Netherlands
Discussant: Dimitra Manou, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece
Technical Facilitator: N.N.
Time: 10 June, 16:00-17:30 UTC+2
Constructing voluntary national reviews on the SDGs. A comparative country study
Magdalena Bexell and Kristina Jönsson, Lund University, Sweden
The 2030 Agenda is a rewarding study object for research on reporting, review and evaluation in policy-making processes at the intersection of global and national sustainable development politics. Ideally, review not only serves to provide an assessment of current levels of goal fulfilment and direction for future priorities, but also to enable political accountability between decision-makers and citizens by making government performance more transparent. While research on the role of review and reporting usually focuses either on the international or the domestic setting, this paper explores the role of international peer reporting for domestic settings. More specifically, we ask: how do Voluntary National Reviews (VNR) for the UN High-level Political Forum (HLPF) influence accountability in national policy-making processes on the 2030 Agenda? We contribute two qualitative case studies of national level VNR-processes, namely those of Sweden in 2017 and Ghana in 2019. The two countries display great variation with regard to political system, degree of socio-economic development, role in international development cooperation and statistical capacity. The paper finds that VNR preparations accelerated domestic policy translation of the SDGs and enhanced the power of statistics in policy-making. Presentations of the VNR at the HLPF had strong symbolic dimensions with regard to conveying an ambitious inclusive approach to the SDGs. The impact of VNR follow-up on accountability relations vary due to country characteristics but overall, VNR processes have strengthened horizontal accountability relations rather than vertical accountability relations between citizens and governments.
Assessing the impact of the SDGs in Canada
Brianna Botchwey, University of Toronto, Canada
During his address to the United Nations in September 2017, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau argued that the ‘SDGs are as meaningful in Canada as they are everywhere else in the world’, committing to implement them both at home and abroad. This paper provides an assessment of Canada’s implementation of the SDGs, outlining the current institutions, policies and practices in place designed for SDG implementation. Overall, it finds that Canada has taken the Agenda seriously but more work remains to be done. It also identifies several domestic political drivers of Canada’s response to the SDGs. Notably, the roll out of the SDGs in 2015 coincided with the ushering in of a new Canadian government wanting to do sustainable development and foreign policy differently. This paper argues that the SDGs fit neatly with the new government’s ambitions for itself. In addition to this high-level commitment and SDG fit with the government’s domestic political agenda, other important factors include concerns of reputation, pre-existing goal-based implementation architectures in the government and the role of the Supreme Audit Institution. Overall, this study provides useful insights into the political drivers of SDG implementation, both domestic and international, of an advanced economy.
Building policy coherence to what ends? Institutional arrangements for the SDGs in the Netherlands
Abbie Yunita, Frank Biermann, Rakhyun E. Kim and Marjanneke Vijge, Utrecht University, The Netherlands
As an integrated and universal agenda, the SDGs present policy coherence as essential to the attainment of the SDGs. However, the pursuit of policy coherence preceded the advent of the SDGs and in many instances remains largely elusive, despite procedural and organisational reforms to improve coherence. How then, and to what extent have the SDGs influenced the procedural and substantive attributes of policy coherence, and to what effects? This paper addresses these questions through a case study of the Netherlands. Covering the period between 2012 and the present, it first traces the processes through which certain institutional arrangements materialised for the SDGs. The analysis focuses on four institutional arrangements: (1) high-level National SDG Coordinator; (2) the network of SDG Focal Points embedded in each ministry; (3) the ‘SDG Check’; and (4) the Wellbeing Monitor. Having examined these new mechanisms and instruments in detail, the paper then explains how they work and interact in practice. More specifically, it specifies how and whether these institutional arrangements shape the content of policy: the selection of issues that gain saliency, the construction of policy imperatives, and the integration of individual goals. The paper advances our understanding of how the SDGs influence institutional configuration and interaction in the context within which they operate. This is instructive to discern whether procedural change can steer substantive policy change.
IMPLEMENTATION VI: SDG Impacts on National Policy Processes
Chair: Clara Brandi, German Development Institute, Germany
Discussant: Marianne Beisheim, German Institute for International and Security Affairs
Technical Facilitator: N.N.
Time: 11 June, 11:00-12:30 UTC+2
Global governance through goal-setting: A meta-analysis of the effects of the Millennium Development Goals
Thomas Hickmann, Frank Biermann, Matteo Spinazzola, Charlotte Ballard, Maya Bogers, Oana Forestier, Agni Kalfagianni, Rakhyun E. Kim, Francesco S. Montesano, Tom Peek, Carole-Anne Sénit, Melanie van Driel, Marjanneke Vijge and Abbie Yunita, Utrecht University, The Netherlands
The Millennium Development Goals, agreed upon by the United Nations member states at the Millennium Summit for the period from 2000 to 2015, were an important precursor to the current SDGs. With the Millennium Development Goals, the international community reinforced its approach of governance through goals that has now become dominant in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Yet, what were the actual effects of the Millennium Development Goals in terms of policy outcomes? To what extent have they been achieved, in what areas, in which countries, and most importantly – how can we explain this impact and underlying variations? Answers to these questions provide crucial information for the future success of the SDGs. Based upon an original database of scholarly articles published between 2009 and 2018, the paper identifies different hindering and enabling factors for the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals in national jurisdictions. The paper contends that the Millennium Development Goals had some effect on some countries under some circumstances. Drawing on our meta-analysis, we formulate a number of policy recommendations to help adjust existing political frameworks and processes for attaining the SDGs and strengthen this newest version of governance by goal-setting.
Assessing the impacts of SDGs: The case of fossil fuel subsidy reform
Jakob Skovgaard, Lund University, Sweden; and Harro van Asselt, University of Eastern Finland, Finland, and Utrecht University, The Netherlands
The policies targeted by the SDGs were subject to frequent changes already before the adoption of the goals in 2015, and this will continue to be the case in the future. Such changes can be driven by domestic factors (for example, civil society acting as norm entrepreneurs) as well as by international factors (for example, international regimes). This raises the vexed question of how to isolate the effects of the SDGs from other factors driving policy change. We develop a framework for studying the influence of SDGs on domestic fossil fuel subsidy reform. In virtually all countries, fossil fuels are subsidised, e.g., through price controls, tax breaks and the provision of infrastructure. Existing research has shown that fossil fuel subsidy reform has hitherto mainly been driven by domestic (economic) factors, with pressure from international economic institutions often playing an important subsidiary role. International environmental institutions have traditionally not paid much attention to these subsidies. Yet with SDG 12.c committing all countries to undertaking efforts to rationalise inefficient fossil fuel subsidies, this dynamic may change. To study the influence of SDG 12.c, our framework first identifies major changes to fossil fuel subsidies drawing on data from the OECD as well as civil society sources. Second, we outline the pathways through which SDG 12.c may induce major policy change to fossil fuel subsidies, specifically norm diffusion, learning from other countries or reputational costs. An illustrative case study of Indian fossil fuel subsidy reform underscores the contribution of our framework and its usefulness for other scholars studying the impact of the SDGs (and other global goals) on domestic policy.
The national development planning after the SDGs: Implications of global goal-setting towards national policymaking processes
Mahesti Okitasari and Tarek Katramiz, United Nations University, Japan
The SDGs recognise that in their implementation countries need to ‘nationalise’ the global goals in national deliberation processes. This creates an opportunity for the SDGs to promote national goal-setting and associated national planning initiatives. From the perspective of national planning, there are high possibilities for the SDGs to influence national development planning in multiple ways, including through promoting systematic planning, increasing the application of evidence-based planning and policy choices, and improving good-quality data. Accordingly, recent research pointed out that there is a growing trend of countries returning towards national development planning as a catalyst for achieving the SDGs. However, while there are renewed needs in understanding the governance for the SDGs implementation, surprisingly, there is limited literature on the ways the SDGs potentially stimulate new directions of national development planning. This paper looks at the nationalisation of the global goals from the perspective of national development planning. It aims to identify the potential impacts of the SDGs on behaviour that influence national development policymaking. The paper generates an understanding of how the nationalisation of the SDGs exercises affect national development plan and associated initiatives. Based on an analysis of multiple national development plans produced after 2015 in the Asia-Pacific and Middle East and North Africa regions, it examines in which ways the SDGs as global goal-setting influence national development planning ideologically and operationally, whether through technical communicative, collaborative rationality redefining values, or creating a new planning paradigm. By doing so, the paper contributes to the literature on the impacts of global goal-setting as a mode of governing national development planning.
IMPLEMENTATION VII: The Role of the Private Sector in SDG Implementation
Chair: Katharine Rietig, Newcastle University, United Kingdom
Discussant: Mehwish Kareem, Shaoor Trainings and Consultancy, Pakistan
Technical Facilitator: N.N.
Time: 10 June, 11:00-12:30 UTC+2
The emerging purpose ecosystem: Innovative private sector agency in earth system governance and the SDGs?
Rob Raven, Monash University, Australia; Fred Dahlmann, Warwick Business School, United Kingdom; Wendy Stubbs, Monash University, Australia; and Joao Porto de Alburquerque, Warwick Institute of Global Sustainable Development, United Kingdom
The private sector has long been seen to play a critical role in addressing the challenges of the Anthropocene and providing potential solutions to address the SDGs. Yet there are questions whether businesses can address the complexities involved in interconnected sustainability issues. There are also concerns that private sector engagement with the SDGs simply reflects new efforts to enhance social legitimacy through ‘SDG- or rainbow-washing’. A myriad of intermediaries, initiatives and organisations are emerging that aim to drive wider systems change by advocating and advising businesses to reconsider and broaden their fundamental ‘raison d’être’. Their focus is to create ‘purpose-driven businesses’ which fundamentally integrate social and environmental objectives into their organisational purpose. We conceptualise this emerging network as the ‘Purpose Ecosystem’. Actors within this purpose ecosystem seek to create favourable framings, incentives, systems and infrastructures to support the development of purpose-driven businesses; connect and bring together purpose-driven actors from multiple areas; and, educate new and potential businesses to be social and environmental ‘change-makers’. We argue that this Purpose Ecosystem represents an innovative form of governance which may have the potential to drive wider purposeful change by endorsing and accelerating action aligned with achieving the SDGs. Conceptually, we situate our paper within the broader research agenda on earth system governance, while also drawing on the established literatures on management and sustainability, to inform a critical view and assessment of the Purpose Ecosystem, and to provide new research questions.
Understanding learning in Asian development banks: a goals-based governance
Jecel Censoro, Katharine Rietig, and Graham Long, Newcastle University, United Kingdom
The SDGs – like the Millennium Development Goals – lack formal rules and a legally binding framework, instead relying on soft governance via orchestration, partnerships and systematic monitoring. A gap remains on how the use of goals can generate organisational change through learning and on roles different organisations play in the implementation of the goals. This paper addresses these questions through a case study of the Asian Development Bank, a regional organisation that plays a key part in driving state policies. Using a conceptual framework of Multi-Level Reinforcing Dynamics and three types of learning (factual, experiential and constructivist learning), this research develops a distinctive account of how the goals influence the Asian Development Bank and the role the bank and its staff play in implementing the SDGs. It finds that first, development of policy instruments such as plans and strategies are influenced by the goals more than the project design and implementation. Second, function and position of the individuals are key factors for learning. Top management have deeper beliefs; hence they serve as policy entrepreneurs. Most staff of the organisation mainly exercise experiential learning. This means they adhere to the goals for compliance rather than the goals influencing their beliefs and decisions. Third, though main factors behind the work of the Asian Development Bank on the goals are external – availability of funds, return of investment, reputational risk and peer pressure – there have been internal changes (beliefs and attitudes) in how this Multi-Level Reinforcing Dynamics conducts development. Clearly, there are changes in the organisation since 2000 as evidenced by an increase in social sector investment, shift to clean energy and further push for gender equality in projects. However, these are not necessarily a result of the goals.
The role of voluntary sustainability standards for the SDGs
Katharina Bissinger and Clara Brandi, German Development Institute, Germany; Matteo Fiorini, European University Institute, Italy; and Philip Schleifer, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands
The SDGs are to align the efforts of public and private actors and to further the integration of governance instruments around their ambitious agenda. While there is a burgeoning literature on transnational governance interactions, we have little systematic knowledge about the degree of public-private complementarity in this policy domain. To address this gap, this paper uses an original dataset to explore the intersections of voluntary sustainability standards and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. In a first step, we investigate the overlaps between voluntary sustainability standards requirements and SDG targets by identifying which SDG targets are covered by voluntary sustainability standards and which are not. Building on a mapping of 800 voluntary sustainability standards requirements against the 17 SDGs and their 169 targets, we generate indictors for overlaps between SDGs and voluntary sustainability standards both at the global and country-sector level. Taking a closer look at the overlaps between requirements of voluntary sustainability standards and SDG targets, we create a complementarity indicator and describe its variation across countries and industry sectors. The result is a much more comprehensive and refined analysis of these public-private intersections than seen in previous studies. In a second step, we explore the potential of voluntary sustainability standards to serve as an implementation mechanism for the SDGs. In a ‘most-likely’ case setting, we zoom into a subset of well-established voluntary sustainability standards. Drawing on regime theory, we analyse data linked to their institutional design, institutional context, and policy uptake to gain a better understanding of the potential effectiveness and role of these programmes for the SDGs.
Critical discourse analysis of perspectives on the private sector in sustainable development: The case of the SDGs
Sarah Cummings, Wageningen University and Research, The Netherlands; Anastasia Seferiadis, Aix-Marseille University, France; and Leah de Haan, Chatham House London, United Kingdom
This paper takes a post-structuralist approach, drawing on Foucauldian understandings of power, governmentality, and discourse to reveal more of the concealed dimensions underlying development policy. This approach guides the paper through the questions of how the private sector is approached within the SDGs, whose perspective on the private sector is heard, how it is used to govern, and how it relates to wider global structures. Taking a genealogical approach, four discourses are identified in the literature: the dominant, pro-private sector discourse, showing unconditional support for the private sector; the sceptical discourse; the middle-ground discourse with new approaches, specifically designed to leverage development relevance; and the anti-private sector discourse, which considers that current approaches to the private sector will not be conducive to sustainable development of the global South. The pro-private sector discourse was found to be predominant within the global goals, reflecting the post-Washington Consensus as well as the role of the developed countries and the corporate sector in their formulation. All discourses on the private sector, however, place an emphasis on economic and social development at the expense of the key environmental component of sustainable development.
IMPLEMENTATION VIII: Implementation at Subnational Level
Chair: Jönsson, Kristina; Lund University, Sweden
Discussant: Bexell, Magdalena; Lund University Sweden
Technical Facilitator: N.N.
Time: 10 June, 11:00-12:30 UTC+2
Government workers perception of policy coherence in the implementation of the post-2015 Agendas: The case of Mexico
Mar Moure and Simone Sandholz, United Nations University, Japan
Some of the main documents resulting from the 2015 momentum are the SDGs, the Paris Agreement, the Sendai Framework and the New Urban Agenda. Despite their shared vision of global sustainable development, with several overlapping goals and targets, the agendas are often treated along sectoral boundaries, leading to highly branched governance structures, budgets, and implementation. Underusing their potential for synergies is not only a burden for governments due to redundancies and duplicated operative costs but can also hinder collective goals and lead to contradictory outcomes. Despite growing attention on policy coherence, existent literature fails to explain why despite the widespread recognition of its theoretical value, it is in reality so hard to achieve. Based on a literature review and fieldwork, our research focuses on the perception of the people in charge of operationalising the agendas, taking Mexico as a case study. Results challenge a single-lensed approach to policy coherence, which tends to overlook the systems complexity by focusing on a binary coherence/incoherence analysis. Indeed, participants were concerned not only with the costs of incoherence and benefits of coherence, but also with the costs of setting up a long-lasting structure for coherence and the advantages of continuing business-as-usual. The typology emerging from the fieldwork provides a more differentiated picture of drivers and manifestations of (in-)coherence than what was found in the literature, considering for example psychological, organisational and political factors. It also distinguishes among perceived impacts, that is, who bears the costs in each scenario. Finally, the study extracts potential entry points for coherence.
Localising the SDGs at village level: Best practice in Gorontalo Province, Indonesia
Eduart Wolok, Funco Tanipu, Bobby R. Payu, and Zulkifli Tanipu, State University of Gorontalo, Indonesia
In the context of Indonesia with its vast area and thousands of islands and villages, accomplishing the 2030 targets will be challenging without a holistically integrating development at the village level. Since the democratisation and decentralisation that have placed villages as the centre of development, villages have now become autonomous and received a particular budget for their development under the mandate of the Law No. 6 in 2014. On the other hand, the framework of the SDGs in Indonesia has been only at the provincial and city/district level, not at village level in terms of planning and implementation of development schemes. Therefore, it requires a systematic and contextual framework of SDGs at villages to be synchronised with the targets at national and global levels. Through the programme of localising the SDGs at the village level, State University of Gorontalo has formulated SDGs strategies and frameworks at the village level in Gorontalo Province, to ensure that the focus of village development is in line with the SDGs target to strengthen villages’ capacity. We have strengthened the commitment by assisting 30 villages to integrate the SDGs into their development plan and providing the Key Performance Indicators to measure the implementation of SDGs at village level as the benchmark in Gorontalo province. Technically, since the problems of poverty, hunger, environment, social justice, education, and health in Indonesia mostly occur in the villages, localising SDGs at Village level is formulated to ‘bypass’ and to accelerate the achievement of SDGs in Indonesia.
Governing the SDGs at local level: Experiences of SDGs future cities in Japan
Hiromi Masuda, Kanako Morita, Mahesti Okitasari, and Tarek Katramiz, United Nations University, Japan
Local level implementation is a key to achieving the 2030 Sustainable Agenda for Sustainable Development, as shown in the 2019 SDGs Summit. However, it is not clear how localisation of the SDGs occurs and how local governments mainstream the SDGs into their policies. This can be explained by the lack of information on localisation within Voluntary National Reviews, and the limited number of leading initiatives with Voluntary Local Reviews that describe the initial stage of SDGs implementation at the local level. This paper focuses on how local governments have mainstreamed SDGs in policy making through cases in Japan. Recent research on Voluntary National Reviews has shown that national governments have established SDGs implementation schemes including institutional coordination mechanisms and new legal systems. The paper identifies the progresses on governance changes, challenges and opportunities in SDG implementation at local level through analysis of two cities designated as SDGs Future Cities in Japan. Besides document analysis, the findings of this paper are based on semi-structured interviews with policymakers and local stakeholders. Our analysis of local governance changes in two cases finds that while both local governments developed coordination mechanisms and improved the levels of collaboration with multi-stakeholders, there were several differences observed in some aspects including how local governments mainstream SDGs into existing policies and what kind of policy tools they created for a new governance. It provides insights into how local contexts could influence governance changes in localising the SDGs.
A strategic framework towards localisation of the SDGs: Evidence from Bangladesh
Md. Sujahangir Kabir Sarkar, United Nations University, Japan and Patuakhali Science and Technology University, Bangladesh
To speed up the implementation of the SDGs at national level, policymakers and practitioners are currently emphasising the localisation of SDGs where local government could play a crucial role. This study explores the existing performance of the local stakeholders involved in local adoption of SDGs and develops a strategic framework for localising SDGs for effective implementation. The paper is based on semi-structured interviews with multiple stakeholders working on different SDGs at the local level in three different Districts in Northern Bangladesh. A SWOT (strength, weakness, opportunity and threats) analysis of all possible stakeholders was carried out as it is one of the useful techniques for mapping stakeholders which helps to address weaknesses and threats, and promote the potential use of strengths and opportunities among them. Moreover, this study assesses local capacity by exploring stakeholder’s knowledge and participation, current role, existing support mechanism, possible needs and strategies applied for SDGs. The findings reveal higher local capacity for familiarity of local problems and environment, and existence of potential stakeholders, and lower capacity for knowledge and resources, fund utilisation and exclusion. The study outlines a strategic framework to increase local capacity and proposes an innovative approach for the localisation of the SDGs under the leadership of local government. Therefore, it recommends promoting local government through reward and recognition for initiating innovative approach towards accelerating the achievement of SDGs at local level.
IMPLEMENTATION IX: Ports and SDG implementation
Chair: Antonis Michail, World Ports Sustainability Programme
Discussant: Antonis Michail, World Ports Sustainability Programme
Technical Facilitator: N.N.
Time: 9 June, 16:00-17:30 UTC+2
Putting SDGs to work in ports: Institutional and governance arrangements
Harry Barnes-Dabban, Ports Environmental Network Africa, The Netherlands
The SDGs focus on involving individuals and sectors to build a more sustainable, safer and prosperous planet for all humanity. Ports are known to be one of the most polluting sectors due to their nature and activities. Many ports in recent times, however, are beginning to develop and implement more sustainable solutions. But these solutions remain fragmented without wide acceptance and adaptation among stakeholders in a level playing field to ensure effective realisation. Many scholars and international organisations have offered a variety of concepts, discourses, theories, regulations, initiatives and tools for the sustainable development of ports. However, how these are aligning the development and implementation of sustainable port solutions in effective governance arrangements to steer ports towards sustainable futures and achieving SDGs is less clear. The objective of this paper is to explore institutional dynamics within which port sustainability solutions are being developed and implemented through actor interactions across multiple levels of society using existing concepts of global environmental governance and politics – agency, architecture, adaptiveness, inclusiveness, and coherence – as an analytical framework.
Achieving target SDG 14c: The role of the International Maritime Organisation in port-state treaty implementation
Nelson Coelho, Aalborg University, Denmark
The implementation of international law is a target of SDG 14, which aims at enhancing the conservation and sustainable use of oceans and their resources. The target cites paragraph 158 of The Future We Want, under which United Nations Member States committed to abide by international law in achieving that goal. Jurisdiction exercised at port is key in that respect, as vessels are subject to control by authorities of their compliance with applicable international rules and standards. Port state jurisdiction applies to issues ranging from protection and preservation of the marine environment from ship source pollution to the prevention, deterrence and elimination of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. Port states have adopted regional agreements on port state control and have adopted port state measures under regional fisheries management organisations. These instruments seek to ensure a level playing field in the implementation of international treaties and are thus a means to achieve SDG target 14c. This notwithstanding, there is no international coordination of port state jurisdiction, and thus the capabilities and actual engagement vary from region to region, without any actual binding obligation concerning implementation. This paper shall analyse this question by focusing on current attempts from the International Maritime Organisation to expand its regulatory reach into the governance of ports. The objective of this research is to highlight how this United Nations agency could fulfil its responsibilities with respect to the SDG in that role, all the while remaining tied to the existing international legal and institutional framework.
Actions and motivations of ports towards the implementation of the SDGs
Maurice Jansen, Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Ports and port cities play a pivotal role in the sustainable development of the regions, offering favourable locations for industry and accessibility to world markets. While port industrial activities have been reactive to pressure from stakeholders, ports have adopted inclusive strategies vis-à-vis stakeholders in more recent years. Around the world port authorities are aligning their ambitions towards their contribution to the SDGs, such as the World Port Sustainability Programme for port authorities and AIVP2030 for port-cities. The aim of this paper is to assess to what extent ports have contributed to the implementation of the SDGs. The analysis is based on a content analysis on project portfolios in which port and city authorities demonstrate leadership in sustainable development. The results indicate that the contribution of port and port city authorities are generally motivated to ‘do no harm’, rather than their motivation to ‘do good’. Furthermore, the findings show the linkages between projects with the goals is rather ambiguous. Directions are given towards a methodology for a stronger link between (monitoring) business strategies with the implementation of inclusive strategies in order to contribute to the SDG goals and targets.
IMPLEMENTATION X: Implementation at Local Level
Chair: Okka Lou Mathis, German Development Institute, Germany
Discussant: Zane Šime, Association of Polar Early Career Scientists
Technical Facilitator: N.N.
Time: 11 June, 14:00-15:30 UTC+2
Brazilian University Network on the 2030 Agenda: Challenges and opportunities on territorialising the SDGs in Brazil
Thiago Gehre Galvão, University of Brasilia, Brazil; Raquel Cabral, São Paulo State University, Brazil; and Rafael Lucyk Maurer, Federal University of Pampa, Brazil
Higher public education in Brazil is formed by universities that act in education, research and extension. The objective of this paper is to understand and critically evaluate the possibilities of implementing the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs in Brazil through a network of dedicated universities using the 17 SDGs as a compass to calibrate research, teaching and outreach actions and activities. It is known that norms emanating from the global scope end up circulating at different levels of territoriality. In this sense, they also bring challenges to the University, which requires understanding the process of implementing the objectives and goals contained in the 2030 Agenda, as well as their institutionalisation in social structures and practices at University daily life. The paper reflects on a strategy created at University of Brasilia and enhanced by a network with UNESP University and UNIPAMPA, based on methodology of mapping research, teaching and outreach actions already underway that dialogue with the 2030 Agenda. Part of research is conducted based on Qualitative Content Analysis, in order to assist in deciphering qualitative material systematically from the classification into categories and frameworks; ensuring the possibility of constructing a sense about the object of analysis by reading and analysing the sources; allowing to draw descriptive and analytical inferences about present values, perceptions and beliefs. Drawing from a hybrid of Public Policy, Communication and International Relations theoretical perspectives the paper is based on research of projects developed in institutions involving SDG and on empirical material from surveys applied to teachers and students and with university staff involved at some point with the 2030 Agenda.
An experience of SDGs localisation: Between evolutionary governance and participatory action research
Liliana Diaz Ramirez, Université Laval, Canada
The proposed communication presents the process carried out by the Hydro-Québec Institute in environment development and society of Université Laval, to support local communities and organisations from Québec (Canada) in the integration of SDGs into their actions, from a perspective based on these two approaches. As a consensus-based framework of global action, Agenda 2030 should accelerate the achievement of a more sustainable society by facilitating coordination between actors and cross-sectoral coherence. This programme is also a referent for civil society organisations and local communities in planning their actions and in developing monitoring tools. In addition, it represents a source of legitimation for citizen claims about the minimum social and environmental economic thresholds to be respected. Finally, because of the preponderance of the use of big data and digital tools for diagnosis and monitoring, many technical, ethical and social questions are associated with the implementation of this programme. All of these dimensions imply major transformations in governance to put in place, which provide as many opportunities for successful ecological transition. This multi-disciplinary, multi-sectoral multiscale and action-oriented nature of issues involved requires adapted approaches for the production and transfer of knowledge. The evolutionary governance perspective (Beunen et al. 2014) provides an inspiring framework for understanding interactions between actors, sectors and decision scales involved in SDGs. In addition, the urgency of the challenges requires that researchers adopt active postures to favour the desired changes. The participatory action research approach (Kemmis et al. 2014) offers epistemological and ethical keys to clarify the role of researcher.
Governance through global goals ‘on the ground’: Governing practices for implementing the SDGs in Swiss cantons
Basil Bornemann and Marius Christen, University of Basel, Switzerland
The Agenda 2030/SDGs, a paradigmatic case of ‘governance through global goals’, aims to trigger activities of virtually all types of societal actors at different levels to promote joint action towards a great sustainability transformation. Governments at different levels are in a special position to implement the SDGs. As ‘meta-governors’, they are to shape a variety of societal governance arrangements and networks in the direction of Agenda 2030 as a whole. To this end, governments must translate the SDGs into their respective governing contexts and integrate them into their action strategies, which are shaped by established institutions, ideas, identities and interactions. On the one hand, these global goals are likely to challenge existing orientations and governance practices and require their adaptation. On the other hand, global goals offer additional transformation levers that government actors can consciously use to promote their strategies. This paper aims to better understand why, how and with what consequences government actors integrate Agenda 2030 and the SDGs ‘on the ground’ into government practice. With a focus on several Swiss cantons, we reconstruct both the challenges and the opportunities related to the SDGs from the perspective of the administrative actors working towards the implementation of these goals in the cantonal administration. How do they perceive the goals and the associated challenges and opportunities – and how do they address them? How do they translate these goals into existing governance contexts? How and why do they (not) influence existing government practice? By addressing these questions, we gain deeper insights into the mechanisms, prospects, and limitations of governance through global goals ‘on the ground’.
IMPLEMENTATION XI: Individual Action and Values
Chair: Basil Bornemann, University of Basel, Switzerland
Discussant: Sandra Schwindenhammer, University of Gießen, Germany
Technical Facilitator: N.N.
Time: 10 June, 9:00-10:30 UTC+2
Mapping Northern constructs: Contradictions, double binds, and trade-offs between SDGs 8, 9, 12, and 15
Judith Krauss and Andrea Jiménez Cisneros, University of Sheffield, United Kingdom; and Marina Requena i Mora, University of València, Spain
Arguably, the SDGs are flawed in two key ways: they silo issues into different goals, targets and indicators without much consideration for connections and contradictions within and between these; and they mainly reflect ideologies and constructs rooted in the global North. Consequently, this research project analyses the interconnections, contradictions and underlying theoretical assumptions in four SDGs: SDG 8 on decent work and economic growth, SDG 9 on innovation, SDG 12 on sustainable production and consumption, and SDG 15 on life on land. These are chosen firstly given the many, often unacknowledged, connections which exist between these goals, but also given these fields historically essentialising ideas from the global North as universally applicable. The analysis conducted is twofold. In a first step, we map the connections which exist, according to the official SDG indicators, between these goals. Going beyond these official ties, we explore which contradictions, double binds or trade-offs emerge. In analysing the relationships between indicators and particularly GDP per capita, we find that the SDGs are embedded in a double-bind, cognitively dissonant dual message of mandating the protection of nature while calling for the acceptance of the necessity of current economic development. A second step in the analysis then questions what constructs determine the logics inherent in SDG 8, SDG 9, 12 and 15 and their interconnections. We argue that the unacknowledged trade-offs and the SDGs’ growth-dominant, Northern assumptions pull into question attaining the SDGs’ objective, that is, safeguarding advances for people, planet and prosperity, as we question whose prosperity, what people and what idea of planet are prioritised.
SDGs and the added value of a faith-inspired approach
Rianne C. ten Veen and Daan Elffers, Stichting Islamic Reporting Initiative, The Netherlands
In order for the SDGs to be achieved throughout the world, they need to be seen as relevant by all stakeholders. For some stakeholders the SDGs are perceived more of a Western construct, limiting the opportunities for success. Islamic economic principles emanate from the notion of unity and social responsibility consistent with values of goodness that serve humanity, underlining rights and obligations of individuals towards each other, in contrast to a system that promotes a self-centred or commercial approach tailored towards personal gains and profit maximisation. With one in seven in the world being a Muslim, demonstrating the significant overlap of the objectives of the SDGs and Islamic principles will be a win-win for all, enabling. The Islamic Reporting Initiative is thus working on research to demonstrate this overlap, with as objective to support deeper understanding (not proselytisation!) within the SDG community on the added value of being open to a faith-dressed version of the Global Goals (as would be faith-dressed versions from other faith perspectives), enabling wider and more diverse stakeholders to engage meaningfully with the Global Goals. At the 2020 Symposium, Islamic Reporting Initiative presents a developed draft of the SDGs set against Islamic principles.
Integrating SDGs with spirituality for the achievement of the United Nations 2030 Agenda: The Islamic way
Mehwish Kareem, Shaoor Trainings and Consultancy, Pakistan
This paper offers a new approach for expediting the successful implementation of SDGs. We propose incorporation of a spiritual approach for improving SDGs awareness and knowledge. Guidance about social, economic and environmental factors has already been included in the educational material about the 17 SDGs. But, as almost 79 percent of the world’s population follows a religion, spirituality can also be added in the process of educating people. Major religions of the world include Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Chinese Traditional Religion. Finding common grounds between SDGs and these religions’ teachings could assist in penetrating the masses and ensuring ‘no one is left behind’ in the process of SDGs education. Among countries that suffer the most in achieving sustainable development, Muslim countries are in majority. Therefore, this paper takes Islam as a case for discussion. The purpose of this paper, an ongoing research, is to explain SDGs from Islamic perspective, and propose Islamic ideology as a common ground for improving awareness and knowledge of SDGs among Muslims worldwide. Based on secondary data, each SDG is linked with verses from Al-Quran and ath (sayings of Prophet Muhammad PBUH). Also, we discuss the Islamic ideology for sustainable development, and provide a brief description of guidelines, tools and incentives that Islam offers for a sustainable lifestyle. It is found that similar to SDGs, the Islamic concept of development also emphasises responsible use of resources; empathy for others; simpler lifestyles and minimal consumption. We conclude by proposing that the opportunity for achieving SDGs could be improved if a more holistic framework, involving spiritual injection, is used for awareness and knowledge.
The role of value conflicts in the food-energy-water nexus sectors in Germany
Carolin Märker, Sandra Venghaus, and Holger Schlör, Research Center Jülich, Germany
The SDGs incorporate a holistic perspective that aims at achieving the goals in a coherent manner. However, trade-offs between the different goals exist that cannot be addressed by isolated policies. With regard to the management of natural resources, such as water, energy, and land, the nexus concept has been developed which focuses on the interrelations among these resources and thus touches upon various SGDs. Even if Germany in 2016 already transferred the SDG structure to its sustainable development strategy a coherent management of the nexus sectors is still missing. This paper shows that existing problems can result from different, sometimes even conflicting underlying values. Values are defined as normative guiding principles that are shared by a society and generally hold important. We analyse underlying values of related policy fields in Germany by means of a computer-assisted qualitative document analysis. The results reveal that sustainable development is, in fact, promoted as the guiding principle for policymaking. However, in many policy processes it falls short or is treated equally to other underlying values. In energy policy values of security of supply, environmental sustainability, and economic performance are important. These also apply for agricultural policy, along with quality and health issues. In the field of water policy values, such as the protection of water resources and safe drinking water can be found. It becomes apparent that some values (for example, environmental protection and health) are more compatible with the guiding principle of sustainable development than others (for example, economic performance). Therefore, underlying value conflicts need to be analysed and addressed in order to develop coherent and coordinated policies.
INTEGRATION AND INTERLINKAGES
INTEGRATION AND INTERLINKAGES I: Interlinkages among SDGs (Part 1)
Chair: Prajal Pradhan, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Germany
Technical Facilitator: N.N.
Time: 9 June, 16:00-17:30 UTC+2
Developing a framework for achieving the SDGs: The example of human health and well-being
Ana Raquel Nunes, University of Warwick, United Kingdom
This study argues that, despite the United Nations adoption of the SDGs, a framework for operationalising them in an integrated fashion is lacking. The findings of our study signpost particular links and interdependencies between health and wellbeing and other SDGs. Building on this an agenda for linking SDG 3 to all other SDGs is developed. This presentation puts forth a framework for integrating health and well-being across the SDGs as both preconditions and outcomes of sustainable development. We present a rationale for this approach and identify the challenges and opportunities for implementing and monitoring such a framework through a series of examples. We encourage other sectors to develop similar integrating frameworks for supporting a more coordinated approach for operationalising the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The SDGs represent a unique opportunity to focus the attention of an array of actors (that is, individuals, communities, institutions) onto safeguarding the health and wellbeing of our species and the planet we live on. Evidence shows that, prioritising health as a policy framework could support achieving the SDGs. In doing so, we argue that it is vital to engage policymakers, individuals and communities to develop, implement and assess policies to address the social, environmental, political, cultural and economic determinants of health.
Harvesting synergy from SDG interactions
Matteo Pedercini and Steve Arquitt, Millennium Institute, Sweden; David Collste, Stockholm Resilience Centre, Sweden; and Hans Herren, Millennium Institute, United States
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. Our research suggests that synergetic effects arising from appropriately designed policy mixes can bring significant cost savings and improve SDG attainment. Identifying and quantifying synergies requires innovative and unorthodox approaches to policy analysis such as those operationalised in our three pilots. The synergy assessment method and typology introduced in this paper are widely applicable, even though the patterns of synergies vary considerably between countries. Our pilot studies focus on national policy for the SDGs. Our approach is nevertheless generalisable to integrated planning at other scales and time horizons.
INTEGRATION AND INTERLINKAGES II: Interlinkages among SDGs (Part 2)
Chair: Jean Luc Chotte, French National Research Institute for Sustainable Development, France
Technical Facilitator: N.N.
Time: 11 June, 11:00-12:30 UTC+2
Interactions among Sustainable Development Goals: Knowledge for identifying multipliers and virtuous cycles
Myriam Pham-Truffert, University of Bern, Switzerland, Florence Metz, University of Twente, The Netherlands and University of Bern, Switzerland, Manuel Fischer, University of Bern, Switzerland and Eawag, Switzerland, and Henri Rueff and Peter Messerli, University of Bern, Switzerland
We distinguish three dimensions of interactions among SDGs and their targets: interactions happening at the policy-level pointing to conflicting worldviews and priorities, interactions happening at the level of the allocation of resources for SDG-specific actions, and systemic interactions between social-ecological systems that create unintended consequences for achieving other SDGs. In business-as-usual scenarios, decision and policy makers naturally tend to work toward achieving their goals, bringing about spill over effects in the social-ecological world as a result of their action. However, policy coherence to implement the SDGs as a whole would imply working the other way around: Understanding interactions in social-ecological systems and their dynamics first, to then consider the normative implications in terms of SDG governance. Our analysis of the current body of knowledge on SDG interactions at systemic level reveals important systemic multipliers of trade-offs and co-benefits, as well as concrete entry-points of ‘virtuous circles’ to implement the SDGs towards transformative change. These methodological findings imply moving from achieving targets one by one, towards using the systemic potential of multiplication of the SDGs and hence moving from incremental and linear change to accelerated and exponential transformations.
Variations in synergies and trade-offs between SDGs: Regions, incomes, and data disaggregation
Anne Warchold, Prajal Pradhan, Jürgen Kropp, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Germany
To fulfil the 2030 Agenda with the 17 SDGs, the complexity of SDG interactions needs to be disentangled. That is progress in a goal is not made at the expense of progress in others. However, we currently have limited understanding on SDG interactions. Hence, we design cross-sectional correlational research using the official Global SDG indicator for the reference year 2016 to understand SDG interactions under the entire development spectrum. We apply several correlation methods to classify the interaction not only as synergy or trade-offs but also to characterise them according to their monotony and linearity. We also analyse SDG interactions considering income, regional and population groups. This enables to detect SDG inequalities in the context of the 2030 Agenda’s ambition to ‘leave no one behind’. We here provide four new insights. First, our analysis reveals a variation of SDG interactions globally in 2016 to the extent that synergies always outweigh trade-offs, linear outweigh non-linear interactions and non-monotone SDG interactions are not detected at all. Second, SDGs 1, 5 and 16 are the goals most commonly associated with linear synergies, SDGs 3 and 7 with non-linear synergies, whereas SDG 5 also exhibits most linear trade-offs and SDG 3 non-linear trade-offs. Third, a country’s income, region and the gender, age and location of its population has impacts on the variation of SDG interactions. Fourth, we detect the following vulnerable disadvantaged groups: low-(middle)-income countries, Latin America, Africa, women, youth and rural areas. In summary, we highlight that the achievement of SDGs will depend on whether the detected associations and inequalities can be leveraged to ‘leave no one behind’.
Influence of the SDGs on interlinkages: Domestic policy change on palm oil governance
Alizan Mahadi, Institute of Strategic and International Studies, Malaysia, and Keio University, Japan
The SDGs must be addressed in an integrated manner. However, there is little evidence of policy integration occurring at the implementation stage and translated to the domestic level. While previous research on interlinkages across issue areas focused on the challenges of integrating the various multilateral agreements, the SDGs provide a case study on whether a governing through goals approach can be utilised as a tool to increase policy integration across the various goals and targets. This paper analysed this prospect by assessing the influence of the SDGs on domestic policy change on addressing interlinkages. Specifically, it traced the determinants of domestic policy change in implementing interlinkages and analyses whether and how the SDGs influenced this change. Towards this end, the research identified a set of mechanisms that elucidate the pathways of how causal influence travels from goal setting to domestic policy and tested it on the case of interlinkages across biodiversity and the palm oil sector in Malaysia. A multi-causal process tracing leading up to a policy change for a moratorium on oil palm expansion was undertaken. The findings are three-fold. Firstly, it identified the mechanisms of how the SDGs were utilised by various actors to influence addressing interlinkages. Secondly, the conditions and constraints under which domestic policy change occurred were identified. Finally, the paper demonstrated that a non-linear process took place with interactions across the different mechanisms and actors. In summary, the SDGs resulted in mainly tactical linkages rather than substantive linkages, where actors linked issues for their own benefit, with little scientific or normative consensus.
INTEGRATION AND INTERLINKAGES III: Interlinkages among SDGs (Part 3)
Chair: Anita Breuer, German Development Institute, Germany
Discussant: María Natalia Pacheco Rodriguez, Former Counsellor of the Permanent Mission of Bolivia at the United Nations, Switzerland
Technical Facilitator: N.N.
Time: 10 June, 9:00-10:30 UTC+2
Identifying interactions for SDG implementation in Ireland
Martin Le Tissier and Hester Whyte, University College Cork, Ireland; and Anne-Sophie Stevance, International Science Council, France
The SDGs form by design an integrated agenda that brings together many of the economic, social and environmental dimensions of development and are celebrated as indivisible recognising that achieving sustainable development will require addressing all the SDGs. Moving from the aspirational goals to implementation of the ground comes with two important considerations: 1. Prioritising and implementing the SDGs need to be fully cognizant of the synergies and conflicts between SDGs. 2. The SDGs need to be translated and integrated with national policies to drive change and mobilise actors. The International Science Council has a programme to understand the interactions between SDG targets to identify nodes of interaction where actions, including policy actions, are most likely to have impact. These can then be prioritised. Further the spill-over effects and trade-offs can be made more apparent to policymakers and influence their option-taking. The programme has developed an online software tool to score between goals or targets (based on a seven-point scale describing the level of influence of one target on another) and visualising the web of links between SDGs. This paper reports on the initial outcomes of a project to explore SDG interlinkages from the outlook of the Republic of Ireland’s national priorities and context in order to arrive at a consensus map showing critical policy nodes to advance SDGs implementation and monitoring from the perspective of the role the environment plays in sustainable development. The results signpost the challenges for the interpretation of SDGs in the context of national priorities and circumstances to facilitate integration of sustainability goals with those of social and economic development.
Mapping the new National Biofuel Policy (Renovabio)’s contributions to the achievement of the SDGs in Brazil
Fernanda Silva Martinelli, Lisa Biber-Freudenberger, and Jan Börner, University of Bonn, Germany
With the potential to contribute to the 2030 Agenda by using renewable bio-based products, bioeconomy strategies have spread in several countries. However, the same strategy might contribute to the achievement of some SDGs while undermining the achievement of others. The objective of this study was to identify the most likely to be affected SDG targets (positively and/or negatively) by bioeconomy in Brazil, looking into the most promising bioenergy national policy: the Renovabio. The policy designs a system of tradable carbon savings credits, with the quantity of credits assigned reflecting the emissions saved by the biofuel’s production process. We identified the affected targets through literature review and expert surveys. The survey was conducted with 41 experts from scientific community (37 percent), civil society (24 percent), producers and farmers (24 percent), and policymakers (15 percent). Those experts perceived the Renovabio impacts on the SDGs’ performance as positive; the policy would affect a higher number of targets positively than negatively, with greater intensity. Six different SDGs will be the most benefited by the policy, especially the SDG 7 (clean energy) and SDG 2 (zero hunger). However, same targets would suffer both positive and negative impacts, such as the SDG 15 (life on land), which also had 5 of its targets most negatively affected, along with water and food-related targets. SDG 15 is a concern due to the decision on opening the Amazon region to sugarcane. Because bioeconomy might affect SDG targets’ performance differently, biodiversity protection, water pollution, and inequalities are aspects of high relevance for monitoring the policy in the coming years.
Why climate crises are migration crises? A study of interlinkages between climate change and Indonesian forced migrant worker
Safina Maulida, Migrant CARE, Indonesia
The climate crisis caused many crises, not only in the environmental sector, but also in the economic and social sectors. In Indonesia, where villagers who live with nature are vulnerable to being directly affected. For example, the impact of climate change can make some of those who work in agriculture sector lose their jobs as for their main source of income. The fact that many of the villagers of Indonesia choose to work outside their area or even choose to become migrant workers in order to meet economic needs, and most of them are women. This makes us jolted about the interlinkages between the climate crisis and migration. Which then made us realize that climate change mitigation is not only a matter of reducing greenhouse gas emissions but also issues of justice, social justice, human rights and sustainability. For this reason, there must be a special outlook in the link between climate change policies and migration. Through, if we ignored the interlinkages policy between those sector by made it separately and irrefutably critical, Indonesian migrant workers will always be the sort of Forced Migrant Worker as the basis to migrate. Which will not be far from people of climate migration and belong to a group of vulnerable migrant workers. The point of view of feminism and human rights can be the core argument of this paper.
Natural resource governance in light of the 2030 Agenda. The case of competition for groundwater in Azraq, Jordan
Ines Dombrowsky and Ramona Haegele, German Development Institute, Germany
An integrated implementation of the 2030 Agenda with its 17 SDGs requires the mobilisation of synergies and the mitigation of trade-offs between economic, social and ecological dimensions of sustainable development. For example, water, energy and food (WEF) security and thus SDGs 2 (Zero hunger), 6 (Clean water and sanitation), 7 (Affordable and clean energy), 13 (Climate action) and 15 (Life on land) are closely linked. Particularly in water-scarce countries it may be challenging to achieve all three WEF securities simultaneously. We therefore analyse how the implementation of the 2030 Agenda in Jordan affects the governance of the WEF nexus using the case of the Jordanian highlands, where households, smallholder farmers, profit-oriented farmers and ecosystems compete for shrinking groundwater resources. Specifically, we draw on a Social Network Analysis, semi-structured interviews with government representatives at multiple levels, end users and civil society, as well as a policy document analysis to assess which actors interact to achieve the 2030 Agenda and if and how the Agenda affects policy implementation on the ground. Preliminary findings show that the 2030 Agenda has influenced strategy formulation in the water, but not in the energy and agriculture sectors. However, so far, the 2030 Agenda has not yet affected the governance of the water-energy-food nexus in our study area. Possible explanations can be found in Jordan’s SDG implementation mechanism, which neglects the sub-national level, and more profoundly in the Kingdom’s organisation of political power, the so-called shadow state that counteracts many formal policies. Hence, an inclusive implementation of the 2030 Agenda would require deeper political reforms.
INTEGRATION AND INTERLINKAGES IV: Integration and Coherence (Part 1)
Chair: Heleen van Soest, PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, The Netherlands
Discussant: Ingeborg Niestroy, Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies, Germany
Technical Facilitator: N.N.
Time: 11 June, 16:00-17:30 UTC+2
Integrated policymaking: A comparative analysis of institutional designs for implementing the SDGs
Anita Breuer and Julia Leininger, German Development Institute, Germany; and Jale Tosun, Heidelberg University, Germany
An integrated implementation of the SDGs and their targets will require innovative governance approaches at the national and local level in order to exploit synergies and mitigate trade-offs between the SDGs. Considering that deep institutional transformation will be necessary to coordinate the achievement of the SDGs, it is necessary to understand how national governments interpret the call for enhancing policy coherence for sustainable development. The paper analyses the Voluntary National Reviews submitted by 102 countries to the United Nations High-Level Political Forum between 2016 and 2018. In a first step, the analysis will focus on the different institutional and procedural approaches for SDG implementation brought forward by national governments, including: the proposed institutional set-up for the horizontal coordination of SDG implementation across sectors and institutions; institutional mechanisms to ensure vertical integration between levels of government in the planning, follow-up, and review of the SDGs; the adoption of mechanisms to engage non-state stakeholders in SDG implementation and monitoring; institutional efforts to support the alignment of the 2030 Agenda with other national strategies such as national development plans. In a second step, the analysis will identify patterns of relationships between national political-institutional contexts (regime type, form of state organisation, state capacity, dependency on official development assistance, etc.) and proposed approaches for SDG implementation and come forward with explanations of the causal relations underlying these patterns.
From Millennium Development Goals to Sustainable Development Goals: Evolving discourses and their reflection in policy coherence for development
Eileen de Jong and Marjanneke Vijge, Utrecht University, The Netherlands
The discourse of sustainable development has evolved over time. The Millennium Development Goals and the SDGs reflect the most recent discursive evolution. We analyse key differences in storylines of the SDGs and Millennium Development Goals and develop a conceptual framework to study these, focusing on the objectives of sustainable development, the means to reach those objectives, and the relations between developing and developed countries. We apply this framework in quantitative and qualitative discourse analyses of the Policy Coherence for Development approach of the Netherlands from 2000. This shows that national policy frameworks closely reflect global discourses. In the MDG era, the key objective of sustainable development was poverty reduction to be reached through economic growth and participation in the global trade system. The SDGs have broader objectives across the economic, social and environmental dimensions. This evolution is reflected in the Dutch Policy Coherence for Development approach, first through a safeguard approach, and later with social and environmental sustainability as key objectives. While the Millennium Development Goals mainly focus on national averages and the poorest, the SDGs target the most marginalised and vulnerable groups with a focus on disaggregate data. In this respect, the Netherlands was ahead of its time by acknowledging in the early 2000s that ‘there is no question of “the” developing countries’. The Dutch Policy Coherence for Development approach also reflects the changed conceptualisation of the relations between developing and developed countries. This changed from ‘aid’ towards partnerships with developed countries. We end with a reflection on how our research findings relate to changes in broader discourses around (sustainable) development and development cooperation.
Integrating ‘governance through goals’ into foreign policy: The promotion of the SDGs in China’s Belt and Road Initiative
Bruna Bosi Moreira, University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany and University of Brasilia, Brazil; and Alexandre San Martim Portes, Australian National University, Australia
This paper aims to investigate how the SDGs have been promoted in Chinese foreign policy in the context of the Belt and Road Initiative. China has been actively trying to position itself as a key and responsible actor in global governance mechanisms, especially in those related to climate and sustainability. As part of such an attempt, it has gone beyond implementing the SDGs domestically and has moved on to incorporating the agenda to its foreign policy in the context of the Belt and Road Initiative. Despite the growing literature on the role of China in promoting the SDGs domestically, few scholarly works explore the promotion of these goals beyond Chinese borders. Drawing on a qualitative analysis of official Chinese documents concerning the Belt and Road Initiative, this paper explores the integration of the SDGs goal-setting agenda into Chinese foreign policy. Furthermore, it provides empirical evidence of this policy linkage, based on Chinese investment cases linked to the Belt and Road Initiative. This study contributes to the current literature on global goal-setting as a governance mechanism as it provides new theoretical insights into the influence of global goals on domestic policymaking, showing that the goal-setting agenda can shape foreign policy (an area not directly linked to the SDGs). Besides, it underscores that a country’s foreign policy might influence the implementation of global goals in other countries and could be understood as a driver for domestic change. Apart from answering the main research question, this paper aims to: debate the integration of foreign policy and global agendas, especially the SDGs; discuss the Chinese role in shaping current global sustainability agendas; and evaluate Chinese domestic and international promotion of the SDGs.
Does policy coherence leave no one behind? A comparative analysis of the governance of Sustainable Development Goals in Indian states
Marjanneke Vijge, Utrecht University, The Netherlands; Ryan Wong, Ludwig Maximilian University Munich, Germany; and Margaux Duchâtel, Utrecht University, The Netherlands
Given that the SDGs are characterised by soft modes of steering, monitoring progress is crucial for goal achievement. One Holy Grail of the SDGs is policy coherence. Despite decades of literature on the topic, a consolidated framework to monitor policy coherence remains absent. The indicator for policy coherence (17.14) is still in Tier III phase, with further progress likely to be highly politicised rather than building on existing literature. This paper draws on a meta-review of literature around policy coherence and related concepts to propose a set of indicators to monitor coherence for the SDGs. We found that such indicators are often categorised as drivers or barriers for institutional commitment and procedural (process-based) or substantive (outcome-based) coherence in qualitative terms. However, indicators mostly remain highly abstract and are not operationalised as quantifiable variables. We therefore matched the indicators we found in policy coherence literature with quantifiable variables from political science, public administration and governance literature. Through a quantitative analysis of the indicators and their interlinkages, we found that the most frequently mentioned indicators include leadership and political commitment; knowledge and a shared understanding of the sustainability issue; (financial) resources; and cross-sectoral institutional mechanisms. By operationalising these indicators into quantifiable variables, we contribute to a better understanding of the most important drivers and barriers for policy coherence. In addition, we present a monitoring framework which can advance progress in policy coherence for the SDGs as well as further the scant quantitative and comparative literature in this field.
INTEGRATION AND INTERLINKAGES V: Integration and Coherence (Part 2)
Chair: Åsa Persson, Stockholm Environment Institute, Sweden
Discussant: Ryan Wong, Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, Germany
Technical Facilitator: N.N.
Time: 11 June, 14:00-15:30 UTC+2
Goal conflicts and synergies between climate change and the SDGs: A literature review
Adis Dzebo, Stockholm environment Institute, Sweden and Utrecht University, The Netherlands; Zoha Shawoo, Stockholm Environment Institute, Sweden; Julie Wilk, Linköping University, Sweden; Gabriela Iacobuta, German Development Institute, Germany; Kennedy Wahome, Stockholm Environment Institute, Sweden; Ramona Hägele and Sander Chan, German Development Institute, Germany; Cassilde Muhoza, Stockholm Environment Institute, Sweden; Björn-Ola Linnér, Linköping University, Sweden; and Silvia Valentini, German Development Institute, Germany
The objective of this paper is to review the relevant literature on goal conflicts and synergies between Agenda 2030 and the Paris Agreement, focusing on policy coherence. It aims to connect various perspectives of policy coherence by analysing the established literature on interlinkages between climate change and sustainable development, to draw informed conclusions on the nature and dynamics of coherence (or lack thereof) between the two agendas. Findings are presented based on an analysis of 70 papers, including a combination of journal articles, book chapters and policy reports. Drawing on work by the OECD, the analytical approach focuses on four dimensions: objectives, actors, processes and outcomes. The multidimensionality of policy coherence emphasises a maximisation of synergies and an avoidance of conflicts between potentially competing objectives and goals to realise sustainable development at large. It also calls for the need to coordinate the efforts by a large number of actors, at multiple levels of governance, to ensure that processes of coordination are legitimate and that the outcomes are effective. The analysis explores whether and how goal conflicts and policy incoherence between climate and other sustainability goals hamper their realisation at different scales and explores governance options for implementing synergies in different contexts. Overall, findings suggest that: synergies and conflicts emerge across social, economic and environmental goals and manifest differently at national and local scales; almost all goal interactions have repercussions around poverty and inequality; and it is crucial to consider why incoherence may be persisting to begin with.
Policy coherence in climate and SDG implementation: Lessons from the comparative politics literature
Zoha Shawoo, Aaron Maltais, and Adis Dzebo, Stockholm Environment Institute, Sweden and Utrecht University, The Netherlands; and Jonathan Pickering, University of Canberra, Australia
The highly cross-cutting nature of the Paris Agreement and the 17 SDGs of the 2030 Agenda raises the question of how to coherently implement these two agendas. The literature on policy coherence focuses primarily on intra-governmental policy processes and institutional interactions in dictating coherence between various agendas and policies. In contrast, the comparative politics literature goes beyond this to also consider the role of ideas and interests as complementary explanations to institutional factors in policy change. However, no studies exist explicitly linking these two bodies of literature to hypothesise how the so called 3 I’s may act as underlying factors dictating the degree and consequences of policy coherence. Bridging these two literatures and developing a theoretical basis for explaining the role of ideas and interests in achieving (or not) policy coherence is an important step in policy coherence research. Much of the work to date places a lot of emphasis on institutional factors dictating coherence. As a result, less technocratic and more political explanations for coherence are often side-lined. This paper aims to fill this gap by linking these two literatures together in the context of the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda. It introduces an analytical framework for studying policy coherence and the role of the 3 I’s at different policy stages: policy input, policy process and policy outcome. This framework is developed specifically for studying the implementation of climate and the SDGs, but can also be applied more widely in policy studies. This work will serve as a basis for comparative empirical studies on policy coherence between the two agendas at the national level.
Overcoming incoherence in the environmental welfare state
Sara Gottenhuber, Björn-Ola Linnér, and Victoria Wibeck, Linköping University, Sweden; and Åsa Persson, Stockholm Environment Institute and Linköping University, Sweden
Achieving national policy coherence between the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement is of paramount importance to ensure successful implementation of the 17 SDGs and the Nationally Determined Contributions. Sweden is often heralded as an example ambitious climate policy. The Government has a communicated ambition of being one of the first fossil free welfare states while being a frontrunner in implementing the 2030 Agenda. Nevertheless, initial findings indicate that Sweden is struggling to meet some of the SDGs, as well as keeping on track to meet the targets of its climate law, notably so in the transport sector. This paper investigates potential synergies and tensions between – and within – the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement in the Swedish policy landscape. Despite political efforts to let this ‘new global framework for sustainable development’ guide Swedish policy and implementation, conflicts have already emerged. Institutionally, this is displayed through a lack of sectoral objectives to meet emission targets or low levels of consideration of climate and SDG impact in indirect policies. Publicly, one of Sweden’s primary instrument in the transport sector, the carbon tax, faces opposition motivated by fairness and equality grounds challenging the ‘leave no one behind’ narrative of the 2030 Agenda. In order to gain further insights on the implication of governance efforts to achieve policy alignment and coherence, this paper address the role of leadership, ideas, institutions and interests, represented by state and non-state actors involved in the national implementation process of the SDGs and the Nationally Determined Contributions.
Coherent climate and sustainable development finance: The role of development assistance in boosting climate action
Gabriela Iacobuta and Clara Brandi, German Development Institute, Germany; Sofia Elizalde Duron, Research Institute Dr. José María Luis Mora, Mexico; and Adis Dzebo, Stockholm Environment Institute, Sweden and Utrecht University, The Netherlands
The Paris Climate Agreement, the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on finance were all adopted in 2015. To date, countries are still struggling to take the necessary action and set themselves on course for the achievement of these agreements. The 2019 Conference of Parties in Madrid has revealed substantial challenges in raising climate ambition and the necessary finance. Transitioning to a low-carbon and climate resilient world and staying below a maximum temperature increase of 1.5oC and even 2oC, require deep transformations across all economic sectors. As the NDC-SDG Connections tool (ndc-sdg.info) indicates, pledged climate activities in countries’ Nationally Determined Contributions touch upon all SDGs. Moreover, climate change itself will have substantial negative implications for development. In that sense, climate and development are strongly interconnected and an efficient use of financial resources would require coherent climate and development finance. By means of the NDC-SDG Connections Tool climate activities data, we identify action areas that countries requested international support for. We place these requests in the context of OECD official (climate-related) development assistance data pre- and post-Paris Agreement to identify coherence, gaps and opportunities for further alignment of climate and development actions. We find that policy coherence of climate and development finance can be substantially improved. Through a closer look at countries stated needs, barriers and gaps and drawing upon literature on climate-development interlinkages, we discuss potential ways forward to make official development assistance more climate proof for both mitigation and adaptation.
INTEGRATION AND INTERLINKAGES VI: Integration and Coherence (Part 3)
This panel session has been removed from the programme. The scheduled presentations have been moved to different sessions.
INTEGRATION AND INTERLINKAGES VII: Integration and Coherence (Part 4)
Chair: Amandine Orsini, Université Saint-Louis Bruxelles, Belgium
Discussant: Ingrid Visseren-Hamakers, Radboud University, The Netherlands
Technical Facilitator: N.N.
Time: 11 June, 14:00-15:30 UTC+2
Reconciling decent jobs and low carbon economy: an impossible task?
Azita Berar-Awad, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Switzerland
This paper focuses on the interlinkages between SDG Goal 8 on Decent work and Economic growth and Goal 13 on Climate action and the Paris Agreement. Through an interdisciplinary lens, the paper critically reviews the conceptual frameworks underpinning the two policy agendas, pointing to the trade-offs and incompatibilities in the short and long terms and elements that sustain positive externalities and synergies. The main focus is to assess the current state of conceptual and policy incoherencies inherent to these objectives. The evolving concept of Just Transition, connecting the concepts of Climate Justice and Social Justice is analyzed. The main purpose is to map and assess the policy proposals and innovative solutions for social and institutional engineering needed to cushion transitions for those whose jobs, livelihoods and well-being are affected by transition to the green economy. The paper points to policy issues that deserve further research and practical experimentation, identifying and addressing conflicting interests with equitable outcomes.
Tackling trade-offs and synergies in the context of specific goals
Gala Díaz Langou, José Florito, Alejandro Biondi, Florencia Caro Sachetti, and Luciana Petrone, Centro de Implementación de Políticas Públicas para la Equidad y el Crecimiento, Argentina, and Southern Voice
Defining the 2030 Agenda as an ‘indivisible whole’ implies understanding that the three pillars of sustainable development (social, economic and environmental) are more than separate components that need to be reconciled. Rather, they are deeply intertwined dimensions that cut across the entire development agenda. All SDGs are therefore deeply interconnected by design, but the interactions among goals and targets are not necessarily positive. There is room for both synergies and trade-offs, scenarios of either mutual benefit or of achieving one goal at the expense of another. The need to analyse synergies and trade-offs among SDGs is increasingly clear in 2030 Agenda literature. However, large gaps remain regarding conceptualisation, methodologies and use of this approach to inform concrete decisions about 2030 Agenda implementation in domestic contexts. This paper, produced as part of Southern Voice’s State of the SDGs Initiative, contributes to closing these gaps through a threefold strategy. First, it produces a thorough analysis of where the debate stands in terms of conceptualisation and methodologies for measuring synergies and trade-offs. Second, it develops an original framework for integrating new evidence on the interlinkages among six goals (SDGs 1, 3, 4, 5, 7 and 8) in six countries from the Global South (Peru, Bolivia, Ghana, Nigeria, India and Sri Lanka). It uses this framework to contrast the new findings with what was previously known about the interlinkages. Third, it presents lessons learnt and offer policy recommendations for maximising synergies and mitigating trade-offs, both tailored to each specific interlinkage and regarding the overarching governance and institutional dimension, in the domestic and international levels.
Whose hand and what hammer to break the silos? A review of operationalisation, measurement, and implementation of policy coherence for sustainable development
Ondřej Horký-Hlucháň, Institute of International Relations Prague, Czech Republic
As a synthesis of the concepts of policy integration in environmental governance and on Policy Coherence for Development in international development, the Sustainable Development Target 17.14 to ‘enhance Policy Coherence for Sustainable Development’ aims at introducing governance of synergies and trade-offs between different SDGs horizontally as well as aligning policies at different levels of governance from global to local vertically. Yet can this ambitious and comprehensive mean of SDGs implementation that strives for tackling the multi-dimensional web of sustainable development interlinkages be translated into specific and viable governance tool? If siloisation is a problem for SGDs implementation, what are the incentives for policymakers to break or at least interconnect those silos? Against the academic literature that shows the limited success of implementing both policy integration and Policy Coherence for Development, this paper scrutinises the first five years of the Policy Coherence for Sustainable Development operationalisation, measurement and implementation by United Nations agencies, OECD, European Union as well as the Czech Republic and the Netherlands as two case studies at national level. The paper identifies the all-encompassing complexity of the concept and its measurement design incompatibility and path dependency of the involved institutions and the lack of political incentives and interests to implement a seemingly technical tool of governance as disabling factors for enhancing Policy Coherence for Sustainable Development and it questions the very relevance of Sustainable Development Target 17.14 in its current form.
INTEGRATION AND INTERLINKAGES VIII: Integration and Cooperation
Chair: Marjanneke Vijge, Utrecht University, The Netherlands
Discussant: Melanie van Driel, Utrecht University, The Netherlands
Technical Facilitator: N.N.
Time: 10 June, 9:00-10:30 UTC+2
Achieving cooperation in global energy governance: The role of shared goals in energy efficiency and energy access
Christian Downie, Australian National University, Australia
In fragmented global governance domains, such as energy, international organisations with overlapping mandates regularly interact. The dynamics of these interactions have important implications for who sets global agendas and rules on some of the most pressing issues facing the globe from decarbonising the energy sector, to providing energy access to billions of people in emerging economies. Despite the proliferation of international organisations, we know very little about the patterns of interactions between them. This is surprising in a world of fragmented global governance, but it also suggests new lines of inquiry. Do International organisations cooperate to achieve governance outcomes in fragmented policy domains? Under what conditions do they cooperate? And under what conditions do they not – when do the patterns of interaction of international organisations reflect forms of competition rather than cooperation? Drawing on primary interviews with international organisations officials, this paper considers the role that global goal setting can play in producing cooperative interactions. Specifically, it considers how the SDGs have shaped interactions of international organisations in two cases, namely energy efficiency and energy access.
Is fungibility of development aid necessary for progress towards SDGs: A case study of Rwanda
Zunera Rana, Radboud University, The Netherlands and Hochschule Rhein-Waal, Germany
This paper investigates aid fungibility in Rwanda and its consequences towards SDGs progress. We use a different starting point than other studies on aid fungibility which view it as something inefficient that needs to be controlled for. We develop instead that aid fungibility might be positive and necessary for attainment of the SDGs. We explore the relationship between development aid and government spending using a mixed method approach combining statistical modelling and interviews with key stakeholders. We first investigate using statistical methods if fungibility of development aid is happening in Rwanda, and we find a U-shaped relation between development aid and public development expenditure, that is, initially as development aid increases in Rwanda, the government development expenditure falls (resulting in fungibility), however the government development expenditure actually rises as more aid comes in. We explore our results further by conducting interviews with key stakeholders on the donor and recipient side to investigate the nature of aid fungibility in Rwanda. We hypothesise that the aid fungibility found in Rwanda is positive in nature and might actually be necessary for progress towards the SDGs as it gives the government more flexibility in diverting its funds to sectors and regions that are not consider by donors. Using our theoretical frameworks we postulate that fungibility is positive if the marginal value added in an alternative sector/region is higher than in the intended sector; equity concerns are adequately addressed when other sectors/regions are supported; and temporal delay helps to cushion instability of aid flows. We conclude that aid fungibility is not black and white as discussed in the development literature and needs to be nuanced further.
Baltic 2030: Glocalised SDGs
Zane Šime, Association of Polar Early Career Scientists
The Baltic Sea Region is a special area because it is receptive to novel approaches towards supporting multilateral efforts. It was an area where the pioneering EU macro-regional strategy was launched in 2009. Less than a decade later it was an area where the Baltic 2030 Action Plan was endorsed by the Council of the Baltic Sea States. Thus, this part of the world has demonstrated a distinct receptiveness to the experimentalist approaches of transnational coordination which would facilitate better cross-sectoral ties and closer interlinkages between initiatives taken on various levels of governance. Baltic 2030 Action Plan is a unique translation of the SDGs into a Baltic Sea Region-specific context. The novelty does not stop on a mere declarative level. A tailored study on the Baltic Sea Region-specific achievements and challenges tied to the progress reached in the case of each SDG is captured in the report Baltic 2030: Bumps on the Road published roughly one year after the launch of the Baltic 2030 Action Plan. Furthermore, the ReGeneration 2030 youth movement was launched in order to ensure that the next generations of opinion leaders and managers working across the Baltic Sea Region would be well-versed in SDGs and their relevance to the Baltic Sea Region-specific context. ReGeneration 2030 ensures that the future change-makers of the Baltic Sea Region will be well equipped to discuss their efforts in a manner which would be easily understandable to their peers in other parts of the world. Filtering Baltic Sea Region-specific issues through the SDGs’ lens has given aspiring talents not only solid extra-curricular education but also familiarity with analytical tools which are compatible with the terms and structures guiding the global debates.
INCLUSIVENESS I: Inclusiveness (Part 1)
Chair: Azita Berar-Awad, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Switzerland
Discussant: Klaus Dingwerth, University of St. Gallen, Switzerland
Technical Facilitator: N.N.
Time: 10 June, 9:00-10:30 UTC+2
Youth goals? The future generations’ involvement in the SDGs
Amandine Orsini, Université Saint-Louis Bruxelles, Belgium
During the negotiations of the SDGs, ‘youth’ has been recognised as a major group and has as such been integrated to participate in the drafting of the goals. It is now also involved in their implementation. While these processes are known for having been very inclusive, several signs also indicate some limits of youth involvement in the negotiations and implementation of the goals. First, it is not clear if non-state actors representing youth within the goals’ process are autonomous. For instance, the Young Leaders for SDGs programme launched in 2016 is one example of youth involvement, but that has been sponsored by other types of actors such as intergovernmental organisations, that might exercise influence on the selection of youth representatives. Second, youth protests are increasing worldwide, with in particular the landmark Fridays-for-Future movement related to climate change, denouncing also a lack of youth involvement in global policies. Understanding if the SDGs are in line with youth goals is precisely the aim of this contribution. In particular, it proposes to assess to which extent the goals only aim at ‘empowering youth’, that is put youth in a situation of recipients of politics, or aim at taking youth as ‘actors in their own rights’. It first identifies youth actors’ involvement in the goals, to then analyse their positions and influence on the goals’ process. The research rests on a systematic analysis of youth actors, of their statements and of their actions, during and as follow-up to the adoption of the goals. By doing so, it mostly focuses on the ‘inclusiveness’ research stream, asking to which extent youth are independent and active actors in the process.
In whose name? Civil society and the representation of the global poor in earth system governance
Carole-Anne Sénit and Frank Biermann, Utrecht University, The Netherlands
Civil society is often uncritically recognised as a democratic force in earth system governance. Civil society organisations aim to hold states and intergovernmental institutions accountable and channel the voices of what would otherwise be the ‘Forgotten Billion’ – the world’s billion poorest people – in global policymaking. Yet to what extent do they succeed in performing that role? While existing research has mainly focused on the representation of the interests of the poorest countries in intergovernmental negotiations on sustainability issues, whether and how civil society organisations legitimately represent the ‘Bottom Billion’ in these negotiations remains a largely unexplored question. This paper assesses the representation of the global poor in institutionalised civil society participatory mechanisms during the negotiations on the SDGs, a process hailed as the most inclusive ever organised at the United Nations. First, we quantitatively assess the representation of people and civil society organisations from the world’s poorest countries, the Least Developed Countries, in the civil society Hearings of the United Nations Open Working Group on the SDGs. Second, we qualitatively analyse how the global poor are procedurally included within the Major Groups, the main institutionalised mechanism for civil society representation in United Nations negotiations. Third, we discursively evaluate the extent to which the civil society organisations that speak on behalf of the global poor legitimately represent the interests of these populations. We find that the global poor were underrepresented in SDGs negotiations, with unclear procedures for input and lack of mechanisms to hold their representatives accountable, thus undermining the inclusiveness and representation of their interests in earth system governance.
Legitimacy struggles: Legitimation and de-legitimation of partnerships for Agenda 2030 and the SDGs
Ayşem Mert and Karin Bäckstrand, Stockholm University, Sweden
When they were first proposed as novel governance mechanisms to address the implementation deficit in the early 2000s, multi-stakeholder partnerships were contested and challenged by a variety of actors. Since then, they have become prevalent mechanisms of global sustainability governance. In the context of governance by goal-setting, partnerships were even allocated their own goal: SDG 17. In less than fifteen years, they have become acceptable and legitimate for most stakeholders involved in the United Nations sustainability processes. However, there remain contestations regarding the exact form and the space partnerships should be given in United Nations sustainability platforms; some parties question the legitimacy of the partnership concept altogether. Furthermore, new legitimacy issues emerged with the inclusion of voluntary commitments to the partnership registries, and novel reporting and monitoring practices. This paper investigates the hegemonic contestations around the legitimacy of SDG partnerships, using discourse institutionalisation and discourse coalitions to investigate the discursive sources of legitimation of partnerships. We understand legitimacy of institutions as performative and discursive – constructed through repeated practices, ideas, norms and particularly language in discursive spaces. The empirical data (25 in-depth interviews with partners and United Nations officials) is gathered in 2019 at the High-Level Political Forum. We find three sources of legitimation for different discourse coalitions: democratic inclusion, implementation/ output, and lack of alternatives. As for discursive sources of de-legitimation data points to perceived and expected performance and accountability deficits.
INCLUSIVENESS II: Inclusiveness (Part 2)
Chair: Ayşem Mert, Stockholm University, Sweden
Technical Facilitator: N.N.
Time: 11 June, 11:00-12:30 UTC+2
Three horizons for the SDGs: A cross-scale participatory approach for transformative pathways
David Collste and Ana Paula Aguiar, Stockholm Resilience Centre, Sweden; Zuzana V. Harmakova, Academy of the Sciences of the Czech Republic, Czech Republic; Diego Galafassi, Lund University, Sweden; Laura Pereira, University of London, United Kingdom; Odirilwe Selomane, Stellenbosch University, South Africa; Stockholm Resilience Centre, Sweden; and Sander van der Leeuw, Arizona State University, United States
The SDGs provide a compelling vision for humanity that demands action across several scales. Realising this vision requires narratives where the Agenda 2030 is integrated with the worldviews prevalent in different societies around the world. Here, we present, to the best of our knowledge, the first stakeholder-based approach for visioning and exploring Sustainable Development Pathways to meet the SDGs. The approach embarks from the Three Horizons framework, a participatory approach developed for groups to think about transformational change. We present benefits and challenges of the adapted approach in relation to an illustrative case study, ‘The 2018 African Dialogue on The World In 2050’, deliberating future pathways for agriculture and food systems in Africa. The paper has two main contributions. First, it discusses and tests the Three Horizons for the SDGs, a participatory approach for visioning and exploring contrasting perspectives about how to reach the SDGs in different contexts, giving voice to multiple actors. Second, we present four alternative pathways for how food systems and agriculture can contribute to meeting the SDGs in Sub-Saharan Africa, integrated with the worldviews of the participating stakeholders.
Leaving No One Behind in a global value chain
Karin Fernando, Chandima Arambepola, and Navam Niles, Centre for Poverty Analysis, Sri Lanka, and Southern Voice
Most of the SDGs presume global sustainability is a cumulative effect: the individual and independent efforts of states add to global sustainable development. However, this presumption is less sustainable than it seems. A study of the Sri Lankan apparel industry demonstrates how the influence of global governance arrangements affects the ability of society to include its most vulnerable members in the SDG agenda. Specifically, the paper analyses the role of the Global Value Chain (GVC) on the efforts to create sustainable work, i.e. where workers are economically secure, socially mobile, and depend on work that is environmentally sustainable. The national industry is part of a GVC, which is designed to supply the demand generated in developed economies, primarily in Europe and the US. The same GVC facilitates the diffusion of technology that is part of a broader 4th Industrial Revolution. The competitive structure and the diffusion of technology has created a polarisation within the workforce. Thus, the benefits of economic security and social mobility disproportionately flow towards high-skilled workers, while low-skilled workers risk being left behind. Moreover, developing countries face institutional limitations to take advantage of opportunities, and more importantly, reduce vulnerabilities. However, some of these limitations can be traced to the GVC itself because sustainability is often influenced by the weakest and poorest links. To address this problem, global sustainability must be reimagined as a systemic effect: the collective and interdependent efforts of multiple actors including non-state actors determine sustainable development.
INCLUSIVENESS III: Inclusiveness (Part 3)
Chair: Carole-Anne Sénit, Utrecht University, The Netherlands
Discussant: Yixian Sun, University of Bath, United Kingdom
Technical Facilitator: N.N.
Time: 9 June, 16:00-17:30 UTC+2
Designed to be inclusive or exclusive? Brazilian experiences on territorialising the 2030 Agenda by development programmes on gender
Thiago Gehre Galvão, Virgínia Laís de Almeida Gontijo, and Ana Paula Antunes Martins, University of Brasilia, Brazil
Drawing from Brazilian experiences on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda until 2019, this paper aims to critically analyse the development toolkit of international agencies and organisations, such as Britain’s Prosperity Fund and United Nations Women, focusing specifically on how international development projects are designed to promote gender equality in Brazil. The main argument is that, when it comes to governmental institutions that do not have gender equality as its main focus, the institutional design – procedures and methodology of formulation, implementation and evaluation – built to implement gender inclusiveness and empowerment policies is instrumentalised in a ‘cosmetic way’, rather than providing substantial support to SDG 5 implementation. So, to comprehend the possible advantages and risks these development programmes present to territorialising the 2030 Agenda in Brazil depends both on identifying methodological gaps as well as mapping the role and interests of the social movements in order to shade some light on the clash between local and global conceptions of development. Drawing from International Relations scholars focusing on development theory, specially feminist authors on the role of women in development, and analysing programmes frameworks from United Nations Women and Prosperity Fund, this paper tries to understand that grey area between success and failure, between struggling not leaving ‘no one behind’, the silences and persistent gaps that arise from the global commitment in the 2030 Agenda. Moreover, this paper focus on the interlinkages that inform policy making and social movements strategies in Brazil to fill the gap left from government and provide evidence-based recommendations on how to resolve trade-offs, leverage synergies, and accelerate progress.
Poor education and precarious jobs in Peru: Understanding who is left behind and why
Lorena Alcázar, Maria Balarin and Micaela Bullard, Grupo de Análisis para el Desarrollo, Peru, and Southern Voice
Given the large inequalities that characterised Peru, fulfilling the ‘Leave No One Behind’, United Nations 2030 Agenda commitment might become its largest challenge to SDG implementation. In light of this, understanding who is left behind and why gains particular importance. The study uses a mixed methodological approach to provide a baseline of the left behind in Peru and construct detailed profiles of the excluded. We focus on SDG 4 (Quality Education) and SDG 8 (Decent Work) to identify which interest groups are most at risk of being left behind and what are the factors associated with their outcomes. We then conduct synergies and trade-offs analysis to observe the impact of educational underperformance on employment condition. Our diagnosis on youth exclusion in Peru finds that the left behind prevalently belong to marginalised groups, who are largely lagging in both access to quality work and quality education dimensions. Main markers of social exclusion are rurality, poverty, gender, and ethnicity. For example, poor, rural, indigenous girls are 91 percent more likely to be left behind in quality education than their wealthier, urban, non-indigenous peers. Our findings also suggest the existence of strong synergies between SDG 4 and SDG 8 for vulnerable Peruvians; being left behind in education at the ages of 12 and 15 significantly increase the probability of working precariously and being not in education, employment or training at age 22. These synergies become particularly apparent when looking at gender: women were three to five times more likely to be working precariously than men with the same educational attainment levels.
What does it mean to be left behind? A country-context perspective
Ibrahima Hathie, Initiative Prospective Agricole et Rurale, Senegal, and Southern Voice
The commitment of the international community to leave no one behind is at the heart of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It is about ending extreme poverty in all its forms, reducing inequalities and vulnerabilities, and ending group discrimination. Leave No One Behind means going beyond averages and ensuring that progress is made for all population groups on a disaggregated scale. This paper seeks to understand how exclusion looks like in a given country and what it means to be left behind. It relies on five dimensions of exclusion as a framework of analysis based on a select number of SDGs and country studies. The paper shows that exclusion is highly context dependent. For instance, although exclusion markers such as gender and ethnicity remain highly relevant, their meaning varies across contexts, resulting in specific implications and thus requiring targeted interventions. The severity of the conditions to which deprived groups are exposed are shaped by intersectionality, that is, individuals or groups suffering from compounded or overlapping disadvantages are most likely to be the furthest behind. The paper draws the following policy implications: Address overlapping disadvantages through a comprehensive development strategy; Contextualise and mainstream the principle of ‘leave no one behind’; and Conceive a policy of territorial development that mainstreams spatial equity.
Weaving indigenous knowledge into local early action plans
Laura Lynes, The Resilience Institute, Canada
Meeting the SDGs requires transformative thinking and doing. To do this we must shred colonial ways that are imbedded deeply into policies and processes. But doing so requires both awareness and practice. This presentation and paper will show how through participatory community action initiatives – in close collaboration with Indigenous peoples – a process for developing Local Early Action Plans that weaves Indigenous and scientific knowledge serves to exemplify transformation in practice while advancing SDGs. In particular, the SDGs to reduce inequality (by co-developing knowledge and practices), climate action (in some of the world’s most vulnerable communities), and in strong partnerships between different knowledge holders to achieve the goals. Case examples will be provided from initiatives in two First Nation communities in Canada, and from a collaborative with South African National Parks, the South African Agricultural Research Collaborative and the Nama peoples living adjacent to protected areas. The process for including Indigenous peoples in the design and delivery of Local Early Action Plans that these initiatives showcase is both replicable and scalable. Implications of this work could be beneficial to researchers and policymakers hoping to advance sustainable development goals through transformative ways of thinking and in weaving local knowledge with scientific findings.
INCLUSIVENESS IV: Indicators for Inclusiveness
Chair: Agni Kalfagianni, Utrecht University, The Netherlands
Discussant: Joshua Alade, Nigeria Youth SDGs Network, Nigeria
Technical Facilitator: N.N.
Time: 11 June, 14:00-15:30 UTC+2
‘Leaving No One Behind’ in local governance through goals
Emily Clough and Graham Long, Newcastle University, United Kingdom
‘Leave no one behind’ is a fundamental principle of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Even though this commitment to inclusiveness is integral to how the normative roadmap of the SDGs is to be understood – and thus to ‘governance through goals’ – it is variously missed or misunderstood in policymaking and review, perhaps because it is not itself one of the 17 SDGs. Our paper focuses on the application of this principle in city-level responses to the SDGs. We make two key claims. First, we argue that both existing indices comparing progress between cities – such as ongoing SDSN and OECD indicator sets – and current Voluntary Local Review reporting of progress within cities, systematically fall short of this commitment. Second, we draw on our ongoing work with the Greater London Authority to outline a more comprehensive and thoroughgoing approach to ‘leave no one behind’, through extensive disaggregation, including spatial; orienting indicator selection to detect disadvantage; supplementing with non-statistical data to capture statistically-invisible left behind groups; and participation and voice for these groups and their representatives. We reflect on the successes and challenges of this approach, and report on groups found to be left behind and ways in which they are left behind in the London context.
Making the invisible visible: Rationales and challenges of including indigenous perspectives in SDG indicators
Sylvia Karlsson-Vinkhuyzen, Gerard Verschoor, David Ludwig, Esther Turnhout, and Peter Tamas, Wageningen University and Research, The Netherlands
Thirty five percent of all land with low human impact, land that has retained diversity, is managed by Indigenous communities. The interests Indigenous Peoples take in and the perspectives they have on their land is, therefore, closely connected to SDG 14 (life below water) and 15 (life on land). The activities of Indigenous Peoples, either directly or through controlling access, shape those territories to the extent that they are legally and materially able. Top-down attempts to manage indigenous behaviours have been neither legitimate nor effective. The location and perspectives of those who live on this land, often recognised as indigenous and local knowledge, can matter deeply for decision-making and accountability. The perspectives of those who know the land best should be permanently woven into the practices of indication required to monitor implementation of for example SDG 14 and 15. This is not yet the case. Against this background we do three things in this paper. Firstly, we discuss the current SDG indicator efforts and their limitations from the perspective of indigenous and local knowledge. Secondly, we demonstrate how inclusion of indigenous and local knowledge is central to the development and sustained operation of SDG indicators. Thirdly, we describe some of the challenges that come with properly engaging indigenous and local knowledge systems in indication compatible with the SDGs. In all three of these steps we recognise dimensions that are fundamental to indigenous and local knowledge, such as the relational and spiritual, that are either not present in and/or very difficult for scientists to recognise. In essence, we discuss the relevance of and practices by which we may make the invisible visible.
Is the experience of human rights monitoring useful to developing a framework to assess the impacts of the SDGs?
Andrea Boggio, Bryant University, United States
Indicators to measure human rights compliance have a long history. Building upon the experience of developing indicators for cultural rights, particularly the right to enjoy the benefits of scientific progress also known as ‘right to science’, and the work of UNESCO on scientific integrity, the paper explores two questions. First, is the framework developed by the United Nations Human Rights Council to monitor states’ compliance with human rights useful in developing a framework to assess the impacts of the SDGs? Second, are the instruments developed to monitor the right to science useful in measuring the impacts of the SDGs? The paper shows that the answer to both questions is positive. Human rights indicators capture essential elements of the process that leads to achievement of a policy goal, and therefore provide insights as to what can and should be measured to determine the impacts of SDGs. Second, considerations of inclusions and non-discrimination are at the hearth of human rights standards and therefore the experience of monitoring human rights generate insights regarding inclusiveness. The paper also shows the limitations of the human rights indicators discourse, particularly its inability to capture interlinkages and deliver measurements that capture global phenomena in their integrity. The overall message though is that notwithstanding the limitations of the tools developed to monitor human rights compliance, that body of knowledge and practices provides useful insights on how to measure the effectiveness of global governance through goals.
Transformation or box-ticking? SDG 11 monitoring in Colombia
Philipp Ulbrich, João Porto de Albuquerque, and Jon Coaffee, University of Warwick, United Kingdom
The 2030 Agenda encourages governments at all levels to interpret the SDGs according to the development priorities at their level. The SDGs’ conceptual openness and their targets aims at enabling locally meaningful and relevant implementation and promoting inclusiveness, specifically through participatory exercises. However, the extent to which SDGs are being localised meaningfully and representatively into monitoring mechanisms is not well understood with tensions emerging between different scales of action. The questions that then arise are how effective is the localisation of the SDG targets and indicators into monitoring frameworks at national and city levels and how well does this incorporate neighbourhood (sub-local) knowledge? Based on a review of voluntary local (municipal) review documents, and the case study of Colombia at the national level and Medellín at the city level where we analysed the practices of key stakeholders, the analysis investigates the methodological translation of the SDG 11 monitoring framework from the global to the city scale and assesses the implications of this translation in terms of inclusiveness and representativeness. By providing a new conceptual framework to analyse the localisation of SDG monitoring at city level based on empirical research, this analysis responds to calls for meta-analyses of anticipation and planning processes that question their transformative potential, especially regarding socio-spatial justice in earth system governance. The paper also focuses on the potential of novel methods of participatory research to inform new conceptual models of SDG localisation in ways that make it meaningful for citizens rather than just a score card system of bureaucratic box-ticking.
INCLUSIVENESS V: Building Sustainable Inclusion Through Participatory Processes: Insights from the Participate SDGs Research Network
Chair: Jackie Shaw and Jo Howard, University of Sussex, United Kingdom
Technical Facilitator: N.N.
Time: 10 June, 16:00-17:30 UTC+2
Realities at the margins: Understanding and addressing intersecting inequalities through participatory dialogue and visual and narrative processes
Jo Howard, University of Sussex, United Kingdom
This presentation discusses research which explored how understanding intersecting inequalities can inform inclusive practices to build collective action, with highly marginalised groups in Egypt, Uganda, South Africa, India and Ghana. This presentation focuses on the PAR processes used in each setting to uncover different as well as common experiences of inequalities, and the role of dialogue supported by visual, creative and narrative processes, to support individuals and groups to understand and negotiate these differences. Such processes can involve re-framing discriminatory social norms. The cases discuss iterative phases of building confidence within the group; deepening contextual understanding; promoting dialogue between citizens and duty-bearers; and developing working alliances between groups and agencies. These processes evolved slowly and iteratively, requiring careful attention to building trust and enabling constructive relational dynamics.
Commonality and difference: Building collective purpose without perpetuating marginalisation
Jackie Shaw, University of Sussex, United Kingdom
This presentation continues the discussion in Presentation 1, focusing more deeply on how participatory processes can support marginalised groups to negotiate different and sometimes conflicting identities and experiences to build collective purpose. The processes discussed, used an intersectional lens as a political tool to support groups in identifying and carrying out actions. We discuss how community-led efforts may lead to fostering more accountable relationships. We also draw out lessons about how to navigate the intrinsic tensions between recognising difference and building community activism for accountability. Barriers to achieving progress towards the SDGs and in particular the inclusion of those ‘left behind’ are discussed.
PLANETARY INTEGRITY I: Addressing Biodiversity Loss
Chair: Dimitra Manou, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece
Discussant: Katharine Rietig, Newcastle University, United Kingdom
Technical Facilitator: N.N.
Time: 10 June, 9:00-10:30 UTC+2
Local solutions for global goals? The role of international actors in shaping nature-based solutions in Sub-Saharan African cities
Katharina Rochell, Harriet Bulkeley and Hens Runhaar, Utrecht University, The Netherlands
Recent literature and policy discourses suggest nature-based solutions as viable solutions to current societal problems. In urban areas, nature-based solutions can contribute to the SDGs by offering cost effective solutions for climate change mitigation and adaptation, as well as disaster risk reduction, while providing multiple co-benefits. Most academic work developed around nature-based solutions is of European or North American origin. Given the unprecedented urban growth in the Global South, it is necessary to better understand the governance of urban nature in different geographical contexts, based on robust empirical evidence. We argue that one difference in many sub-Saharan African cities as compared to Western contexts is the variety of different types of international actors that shape processes and outcomes of addressing urban sustainability challenges through nature-based solutions. Using a case study approach of three cities in south-eastern Africa, we first present the different types of initiatives, actor configurations and partnerships developed around urban nature which are generated by the presence of international actors. We then analyse the implications of the involvement of international actors and their specific agendas and seek to answer the question: Do the processes and outcomes for nature and society represent locally specific solutions for global sustainability goals that aspire to leave no one behind, or is there a friction between local and international agendas, potentially caused by planning control that drifted from the city to external sites and agenda setting? Conceptually, the paper combines the perspectives of urban environmental studies, urban governance and southern urbanism.
Getting closer to SDG 15? Evaluating the performance of biodiversity governance beyond the Convention on Biological Diversity using theories-of-change
Oscar Widerberg, Katarzyna Negacz, and Philipp Pattberg, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, The Netherlands
National governments have largely failed to halt biodiversity loss. Despite ambitious goals and targets set under the Convention on Biological Diversity, the state of biodiversity continues to deteriorate. Consequently, governments and other actors must take swift action to achieve SDG 15 of protecting terrestrial ecosystems and biodiversity. This paper focuses on how to evaluate global biodiversity governance beyond the Convention on Biological Diversity for reaching SDG 15. It analyses more than 300 cooperative initiatives for biodiversity (for example, international and transnational governance arrangements, public-private partnerships and private sector commitments), suggesting that while global biodiversity action is spreading fast, there is little knowledge about the impacts of international cooperative initiatives for biodiversity. Subsequently, the paper suggests that the heterogeneity in collaborative actions calls for a variety of metrics for evaluating the performance and presents an assessment framework based on ‘theories-of-change’ for four ideal-type initiatives engaging in information sharing and networking, operations on the ground, standards and commitments and financing.
The 18th Sustainable Development Goal
Ingrid Visseren-Hamakers, Radboud University, The Netherlands
This paper makes the case that animal concerns need to be integrated into the SDGs. Why are animal considerations neglected in our discussions on sustainable development – including on the SDGs on food, water, consumption and production, conservation and climate change? While the relationships between sustainable development and animal issues are highly complex, these debates have evolved in a rather disconnected manner. The paper argues for the integrative governance of sustainability and animal issues in order to avoid trade-offs and enable synergies between these two important priorities. By integrating the interests of the individual animal into the SDGs we can develop one overarching global guidance system on all aspects of sustainable development, including human, environmental and animal concerns.
PLANETARY INTEGRITY II: Protecting the Climate
Chair: Rakhyun E. Kim, Utrecht University, The Netherlands
Discussant: Riyanti Djalante, United Nations University, Japan
Technical Facilitator: N.N.
Time: 10 June, 11:00-12:30 UTC+2
Synergies between the Paris Agreement and the SDGs in China and Mexico
Clara Brandi, German Development Institute, Germany; and Phoossarapha Thongjumrool, University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany
The paper focuses on the thematic connections between the Paris Agreement and the SDGs. The paper examines the national policy approaches in the context of countries’ Nationally Determined Contributions and their national development plans (for the implementation of the SDGs) through the lens of policy coherence. The paper focuses on China and Mexico, assesses to what extent there is coherence between their Nationally Determined Contributions and national development plans and what might explain differences in the degree of coherence in these contexts. Based on a detailed analysis of the selected countries’ Nationally Determined Contributions through the lens of the SDGs, the findings show that there are considerably more overlaps between the SDG-relevant content in the Nationally Determined Contributions and the SDG-relevant content in the national development plans in China than in Mexico, suggesting that the former case is thus characterised by stronger policy coherence than the latter and that it entails more potential for leveraging synergies. The paper then investigates what might explain the differences between the two cases by assessing countries’ relevant institutional context for implementation of SDGs and Nationally Determined Contributions and coordination across climate policies and policies for sustainable development as well as other elements of national governance mechanisms, including the nature of the countries’ political leadership. The paper finds that while China and Mexico might have similarly high indicators for coordination mechanisms, their pertinent institutional set-ups and political leadership differ in relevant ways which becomes apparent once the analysis dives deeper into the details regarding the countries’ institutional context
Two degrees and the SDGs: A network analysis of interlinkages between transnational climate actions and the SDGs
Johanna Coenen and Lisa-Maria Glass, Leuphana University Lüneburg, Germany; and Lisa Sanderink, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, The Netherlands
The year 2015 heralded the implementation of two major international agreements: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development including the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and the Paris Agreement on climate change. Given the interconnectedness of climate change and sustainable development, policymakers and scholars have started to investigate how climate actions can contribute to achieving the SDGs, and vice versa. To date, research has mainly focused on the national and international level, whereas little is known about the interlinkages between the two post-2015 agendas at the transnational level. Not only nation states, but also non-state and subnational actors undertake ambitious actions designed to cut greenhouse gas emissions and to promote sustainable development. By means of content analysis and network analysis techniques, we examine the interlinkages between climate actions of 72 transnational initiatives registered at the Non-State Actor Zone for Climate Action (NAZCA) and the 17 SDGs and 169 targets. We find that actions of 71 initiatives contribute to achieving 16 SDGs, thus generating valuable co-benefits. Besides SDG 13 on climate action and SDG 17 on partnerships, transnational climate actions frequently address SDG 9 (industry, innovation and infrastructure), SDG 7 (energy), and SDG 12 (consumption and production). While SDG 3 (health) and SDG 4 (education) are barely addressed, SDG 5 (gender equality) is not explicitly covered by transnational climate actions. Additionally, the network visualization reveals that SDG 9 is highly synergistic with many other frequently addressed SDGs and functions as an important connector between them. Our results indicate that transnational initiatives fill a governance gap left by states with regards to consumption and production (SDG 12). Common themes that are present in both agendas, such as resilience or infrastructure, present a major opportunity for better aligning transnational climate actions and the SDGs in the future.
PLANETARY INTEGRITY III: Resilience, Nature-based Solutions, and the SDGs
Chair: Francesco S. Montesano, Utrecht University, The Netherlands
Discussant: Basil Bornemann, University of Basel, Switzerland
Technical Facilitator: N.N.
Time: 10 June, 16:00-17:30 UTC+2
Accelerating progress on heatwave resilience for sustainable development
Ana Raquel Nunes, University of Warwick, United Kingdom
One of the major challenges we currently face are the risks from environmental changes and there is a need for concerted efforts to mitigate the impacts of such changes. One such effort concerns the implementation and achievement of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda. This study explores the prerequisites for strengthening resilience with a particular focus on heatwaves. It present the links between achieving heatwave resilience and the SDGs. This study uses an interdisciplinary and intersectoral approach to investigate best practices and options for mitigating heatwave-related health risks and impacts. Having the United Kingdom, as a case study, an exploratory qualitative research design is used. An array of stakeholders (that is, individuals, government, private sector, academia and civil society) were consulted to identify knowledge gaps, identify and explore opportunities for strengthening heatwave resilience, and achieving sustainable development. The findings signpost particular implementation and integration challenges, as well as links, interlinkages and interdependencies between resilience and the SDGs. Building on this we develop an agenda for linking heatwave resilience to all SDGs. The study argues that the SDGs represent a unique opportunity to focus the attention of different stakeholders onto strengthening resilience and improve governance. In doing so, we argue that it is vital to engage such stakeholders to develop, implement and assess policies to address the social, environmental, political, cultural and economic determinants of resilience for achieving the SDGs.
Cross-cutting implications of SDGs in coastal flood defence infrastructures
Gerben Dekker and Cor Schipper, Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, The Netherlands
This research studies the level of sustainability of natural and nature-based flood defences on different geographical scales based on the Green Coastal Policy assessment framework. The framework considers an integral sustainability approach (People, Planet, Prosperity) with the use of coastal-relevant targets derived from the SDGs. The assessment quantitatively measures the level of sustainability of costal infrastructure developments and allows comparison between locations and over a period of time. This means that the Green Coastal Policy framework stimulates coastal sustainability to minimise negative ecological and socio-economic impact, support coastal functions and maximise adaptation of the ecosystem to climate change. The assessment starts with beforehand demarcated coastal functionalities and the choice of coastal locations, then selects the appropriate SDG targets to connect these to selected parameters and publicly available data. The outcome of the assessment aims to optimise management and maintenance in such that it creates flood risk safety in an adaptable manner and moreover, to prove beneficial for the coastal ecology and economy. To showcase the framework, this study compares two sets of cases at different scales; five global coasts and deltas (Colombia, Vietnam, The Netherlands, the State of Louisiana, USA; and the State of Queensland, Australia) and five sand suppletion projects in the Netherlands. Results show variation in the sustainability values and applicability to evaluating policies with back or fore casting coastal related strategies. The outcomes of such assessment may lead to ongoing measures which can be used to stimulate the sustainable economic growth concerning e.g., flood risk and climate robustness.
National sustainability institutions as levers for implementing the global sustainability and climate goals
Okka Lou Mathis, German Development Institute, Germany, Michael Rose and Jens Newig, Leuphana University Lüneburg, Germany
The effective implementation of the Agenda 2030 and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change depends on adequate steering structures at the national level and below. While some countries have tasked previously existing political bodies with these global goals, others have announced or created new ones only after their adoption in 2015. In this paper, I assess whether and how national sustainability institutions – such as councils, commissions or ombudspersons – around the world address the implementation of the global goals. The overarching research question is whether these institutions are formally ‘fit for purpose’. Methodologically, this paper rests on a descriptive analysis of sustainability institutions in a global comparative perspective, based on a dataset on institutions for sustainability and the future at the national polity level that is under preparation. I present empirical findings from parts of the analytical framework that contribute to the following topics of the symposium: First, I illustrate different institutional set-ups for dealing with the implementation of the global goals around the world. National sustainability institutions can be both a decisive condition for the implementation of all goals and a direct response to SDG 16 and SDG 17. Second, national sustainability institutions can be tasked with mainstreaming, coordinating or planning sustainable development and climate action. I provide an overview of whether those institutions contribute to integrating different stakeholders from public to private actors. Third, I present findings on the level and type of participation that national sustainability institutions provide for as an operationalisation of inclusiveness in the process of implementing the global goals.
PLANETARY INTEGRITY IV: Forests and the SDGs
Chair: Izabela Delabre, University of Sussex, United Kingdom
Discussant: Abbie Yunita, Utrecht University, The Netherlands
Technical Facilitator: N.N.
Time: 11 June, 16:00-17:30 UTC+2
Forests, food and the SDGs: Transforming production and consumption patterns in a post-2020 biodiversity framework
Pedram Rowhani and Izabela Delabre, University of Sussex, United Kingdom
Humanity’s unsustainable food production and consumption patterns are either directly or indirectly at the root of current trends in forest and biodiversity loss. International trade in high forest-risk commodity trade continues to grow to meet rising demand, continuing to raise pressure on forestlands and biodiversity. However, it is evident that policies and practices designed to shift society towards more sustainable and just food production and consumption patterns have so far been insufficient. In 2020, progress against many global sustainability goals will be missed, such as the Convention on Biological Diversity Aichi Targets related to production and consumption, and most ‘zero deforestation’ supply chain targets made by private sector actors. Although the SDGs acknowledge the need for transformative change, and explicitly address transnational production-consumption connections driving land use change, current trends indicate that SDG 15.2 on forests and sustainable forest management will not be met in 2020. In this paper, we examine the risks and opportunities that emerge when seeking alignment between the SDGs and the post-2020 biodiversity agenda under the Convention on Biological Diversity, and how this agenda can strengthen recognition of the need for more inclusive forms of SDG implementation and resource management. We reflect on how the post-2020 biodiversity framework can support bold actions to be taken across multiple levels to develop more transformative approaches to sustainable and equitable forest and biodiversity governance.
Have food supply chain policies improved forest conservation and rural livelihoods?
Rachael Garrett, ETH Zurich, Switzerland
Recently, a growing number of food companies have adopted policies to influence their suppliers’ forest conservation behaviours. These forest-focused supply chain policies are largely focused on SDGs 12 and 13. Many also have goals to help reduce poverty, contributing to SDG 1. Yet, it remains unclear whether such policies can contribute meaningfully to global climate action or poverty reduction goals. Some evidence suggests that they may actually exacerbate rural inequality, undermining SDG 10. Here we provide a systematic review of the conservation and livelihood outcomes of forest-focused supply chain policies in the food sector and their ability to contribute toward various related SDGs. Results indicate that farms that supply directly to food traders and processors often comply with their policies. When forest-focused supply chain policies are coupled with positive incentives, such as improved prices, they often result in higher income from the targeted commodity. However, forest-focused rarely trigger behavioural changes that lead to improved conservation outcomes. If they do trigger behaviour changes, there is often a trade-off between conservation and livelihoods, since mechanisms that lead to more environmentally responsible production often decrease income, and vice versa. Our findings suggest that existing efforts to contribute to SDGs through supply chain policies tend to result in trade-offs between social and environmental SDGs. Variations in SDG outcomes are linked to pre-intervention land use practices and yields, local geospatial monitoring capacities, and farm and cooperative characteristics in the regions where the supply chain policies are implemented.
How can supply chain transparency and understanding contribute to achieving global zero-deforestation goals?
Tiago N.P. dos Reis, Université Catholique de Louvain, Belgium
Halting deforestation is one key policy domain for which global goals are set, and which has potential ramifications for multiple SDGs, in particular SDG 15. Increasingly, commitments from private actors and supply-chain interventions are seen as critical to achieve global goals on halting deforestation, and other environmental, social and governance goals. Yet, key bottlenecks are that we still lack sufficient transparency in supply chains to monitor actual progress of companies’ commitments, and understanding of the relations between supply chain actors and landscape where land use and deforestation occurs. Here, we use newly developed data from the Trase initiative (trase.earth) to analyse zero-deforestation commitments related to private companies and governments. We assess how these commitments fit with effectiveness criteria identified in recent studies, and how the Trase data allow monitoring the effectiveness of these commitments. We also use these data to introduce the notion of stickiness, that is, assessing how geographically stable are the relations within supply chains (e.g., between sourcing areas, traders, consumption countries…), and how this can play a role in the accountability and potential effectiveness of supply-chains interventions such as zero-deforestation commitments. We discuss these insights in regard to the SDGs, particularly SDG 15, related to land, but also others related to poverty, participation, and human rights. We also discuss potential reforms in zero-deforestation commitments to further align their outcomes with the SDGs.
Indicators and Methods
Indicators and Methods
INDICATORS AND METHODS I: Knowledge in SDG Implementation
Chair: Magali Brosio, University of Birmingham, United Kingdom
Discussant: Rianne C. ten Veen, Stichting Islamic Reporting Initiative, The Netherlands
Technical Facilitator: N.N.
Time: 11 June, 16:00-17:30 UTC+2
Global enterprise of local knowledge on development: An evaluation model for overcoming the technical, political and systematic challenges of the Sustainable Development Agenda
Atal Ahmadzai, University of Arizona, United States
A sense of urgency has developed to step up efforts towards the realisation of the 2030 Agenda. Latest assessments have called for an urgent change of course in the implementation of the Agenda. Challenges associated with the evaluation function of the Agenda are threatening its successful implementation. Technical challenges and political sensitivities impede the practicality of the evaluation, thereby off-tracking progress towards the realisation of the goals. The lack of relevant technical resources (human and material) at national and international levels, underdeveloped data systems in the developing world, the lack of non-DAC aid data; and problems of operationalisation of some of the new goals and targets are the main technical challenges. Weak political-will at national levels to drive development towards sustainability introduces new political challenges to evaluate the implementation of Agenda. This commentary explores these challenges and it reveals that the existing national and international evaluation mechanisms are not responsive and are inadequate to render the 2030 Agenda inclusive and transformational. To overcome this, the commentary proposes the ‘Global Enterprise of Local-Knowledge on Development’, a collaborative evaluation model. It advocates for the incorporation of local knowledge to eventually transform comprehensions and operationalisations of development. The model proposes mandating local educational institutions to continuously engage at grassroots levels to synthesise local reviews and channel them upwards to national and global levels. Essentially, the model is characterised by establishing horizontal and bottom-up vertical flows of information and knowledge.
What can knowledge co-production offer to the implementation of the SDGs in African cities?
Katsia Paulavets, International Science Council, France; Kareem Buyana, Makerere University, Uganda; Alice McClure, University of Cape Town, South Africa; Tolu Oni, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom; Justin Visagie, Human Sciences Research Council, South Africa; Sylvia Croese, University of Cape Town, South Africa; Amollo Ambole, University of Nairobi, Kenya; Philip Osano, Stockholm Environment Institute Africa, Kenya; and Mabel Nechia Wantim, University of Buea, Cameroon
The 2030 Agenda with its SDGs recognises the critical role of cities in societal transformation towards sustainable development. With the fastest urbanisation rates in the world, African cities are at the frontline of the global responses to future global development. Given that the bulk of urbanisation in Africa has not yet taken place, African cities have an unprecedented opportunity to shape their urban futures in a more inclusive, sustainable and resilient manner. The decisions being taken now by governments at different levels will have consequences for the functioning, liveability and environmental sustainability of their cities for decades to come. Making a meaningful contribution to the sustainable urban development on the continent will require inclusive and coordinated policies, strategies and actions, which should be based on context-specific evidence and nuanced analysis of urban processes. To stimulate and deliver the new evidence required to implement the SDGs across African cities, the International Science Council is running a research funding programme, Leading Integrated Research for Agenda 2030 in Africa. The distinctive feature of the programme is that it supports collaborative transdisciplinary research led by African early-career scientists in partnership with local communities, policy and practice. This intervention will shed light on: what it takes to co-produce transdisciplinary knowledge on SDGs in African cities through collaboration with different stakeholders; opportunities that knowledge co-production process offers in relation to the implementation of the SDGs; and options for creating enabling environments and enhancing the capacities of African scientists to undertake this type of research.
The use of computer-based tools to support policy coherence and systemic thinking in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda: experiences with the SDG synergies tool in Colombia
Ivonne Lobos, Efraim Hernandez, and Mario Cárdenas, Stockholm Environment Institute Latin America, Colombia
SDG implementation requires systemic thinking and actions that harness synergies and minimise trade-offs. Approaches and tools are needed to support more systemic thinking and to facilitate the understanding of complex and interconnected issues. The SDG Synergies Tool is based on a decision-support approach designed to guide priority-setting and policy coherence amongst key stakeholders. It aims to support decision-making processes that deal with multiple and often interlinked targets, such as with the SDGs. The methodology uses cross-impact analysis and a 7 point-scale to score interactions – the most positive linkages are scored as +3, while the most negative are -3. This scoring allows to identify trade-offs and synergies. Scoring is accompanied by a network analysis that helps to identify second order interactions and clusters. The SDG Synergies tool, developed by SEI Latin America, speeds up this process, as it provides a user-friendly interface and allows the scoring of interactions in an online matrix – the web platform then creates graphics that enable a quick visualisation of results. The tool allows time-efficient analysis to support decision-making and systemic thinking in a learning-by-doing way. This paper will present the results of applying the SDG Synergies Tool with a broad set of stakeholders in two case studies in Colombia. It will propose a discussion about the implications of using web-based tools in promoting policy coherence and in fostering systemic thinking amongst stakeholders, along with ideas for future tool development and uses.
Greater gains for countries on the SDGs by addressing all goals together: Experience from the iSDG-Australia system dynamics model
Cameron Allen, Graciela Metternicht, Thomas Wiedmann, University of New South Wales, Australia; and Matteo Pedercini, Millennium Institute, Sweden
The 2030 Agenda and the SDGs define an ambitious action plan for the ‘future we want’ but say little about implementation. Several recent studies highlight that trade-offs between SDG targets may undermine their achievement. Significant gaps remain in scenario frameworks and modelling capabilities to better understand these interlinkages. Our new research published in Nature Sustainability applies national scenario analysis and system dynamics modelling to explore the complex interlinkages, future uncertainty, and transformational change that are inherent in the goals. We develop a novel approach nesting national SDG scenario modelling within the global Shared Socioeconomic Pathways, selecting Australia as a use case. The research applies an integrated assessment model developed for the study (iSDG-Australia model) to project four alternative scenarios adopting different development approaches: Growth at all Costs; Green Economy; Inclusive Growth; and Sustainability Transition. We find that Australia is off-track to achieve the SDGs by 2030, however significant progress is possible by altering Australia’s development trajectory. A ‘Sustainability Transition’ comprising a coherent set of policies and investments delivers rapid and balanced progress of 70 percent towards SDG targets by 2030, well-ahead of the Business-as-Usual scenario (40 percent). A focus on economic growth, social inclusion or green economy in isolation foregoes opportunities for greater gains. However, future uncertainty and cascading risks could undermine progress, and closing the gap to 100 percent SDG achievement will be very challenging. This will likely require a shift from ‘transition’ to ‘transformation’.
INDICATORS AND METHODS II: Innovative Methods towards Transformative Pathways
Chair: Alexei Trundle, University of Melbourne, Australia
Discussant: David Collste, Stockholm Resilience Centre, Sweden
Technical Facilitator: N.N.
Time: 10 June, 11:00-12:30 UTC+2
Co-designing bottom-up pathways for the SDGs: Lessons learned from two multi-stakeholders scenario development workshops in France
Cosma Cazé and Vincent Virat, Future Earth, France; Nathalie Hervé-Fournereau and Alexandra Langlais, French National Centre for Scientific Research, France and Institut de l’Ouest: Droit et Europe, France; Pascal Marty, École Normale Supérieure de Lyon, France; Yvan Renou, Grenoble Alpes University, France; Denis Salles and Eric Sauquet, French National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food and the Environment, France; and Marja Spierenburg, Leiden University, The Netherlands
Given that the world only has one decade left to achieve the SDGs, there is an urgency to design sustainability pathways based on the best available science from a wide range of knowledge holders. This has prompted Future Earth to launch the Science-Based Pathways for Sustainability initiative. Its first phase focuses on the design of national sustainability pathways employing transdisciplinary approaches to engage multiple stakeholders (scientists, policymakers, civil society and the private sector). For each national process, the initiative selects an overarching objective for 2030 surrounding one of the four Life-Supporting SDGs (freshwater, ocean, land and climate) as a starting point (for example, no net loss of biodiversity by 2030), and then designs micro-scenarios for the other SDGs (for example, on cities, agriculture and energy) that allow to reach the 2030 objective. To align societal goals with a resilient earth system, each SDG micro-scenario addresses interactions with the 2030 objective. Two pilot multi-stakeholder workshops were held in France in 2019 on biodiversity and freshwater. The paper explores the lessons learned from this first phase and includes reflections on the methods used for co-creating qualitative and normative scenarios and pathways, where France has a particular expertise (three lines of inquiry: participatory scenario development, SDG interaction assessment and transformations analysis); how the approach addresses cross-scale interactions; and governance and transformations for France to answer the question ‘How can stakeholders work with scientists to move from globally defined goals to concrete transformative options at the country level?’
Scenario thinking in localising the Global Goals: Pathways towards sustainable futures and ‘Leaving No One Behind’
Nana O. Bonsu, Jennifer Tyree Hageman, and Juliet Kele, University of Birmingham, United Kingdom
Studies examining pathways mainstreaming the SDGs within societies at the local level are very limited, especially, mechanisms useful addressing issues such as climate change, air pollution, inequality and sustainable consumption patterns. With only ten years left for the international community to achieve the SDGs, the role of youth remains integral, as they are the heartbeat of most economies for example driving markets; becoming future business leaders; deciding on political leaders, and are the ones who have to live with the consequences of humankind impact on the planet and future generations. Consequently, a different approach harnessing SDGs implementation at the local level becomes crucial towards sustainable futures. Using an example from the United Kingdom – focusing on youth in secondary education – we present a novel mechanism to achieve this. Scenario thinking through knowledge cafés, experts’ facilitation and normative scenario techniques was applied to explore pathways to harness local-level SDGs planning and implementation. Discussions in groups with students from interdisciplinary backgrounds created desired future SDGs images focusing on three challenging areas confronting the United Kingdom and the world at large. Desired scenarios addressed: the type of air we breathe and combating climate change; ensuring sustainable consumption patterns; and addressing inequality issues. The central question answered was on measures ensuring leaving no one behind by 2030 – regarding people, protecting the environment whilst businesses make profits. The study highlights that lack of SDGs knowledge and governance frameworks persist due to structural issues such as weak stakeholder engagement. The need for SDG Nexus interactions and more bottom-up capacity-building are highlighted.
A causal systems model to understand synergies and trade-offs among SDGs
Carl Anderson, University of Bonn, Germany and University of Glasgow, United Kingdom; Manfred Denich, University of Bonn, Germany; Anne Warchold, Jürgen Kropp, and Prajal Pradhan, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Germany
Achieving the SDGs by 2030 requires assessing interactions, monitoring progress, and designing policy from a systems perspective. Efforts towards achieving a goal or target can often create synergies and thus leverage progress towards achieving others. Additionally, trade-offs also emerge given persisting development paths. Past research has explored interactions among SDGs using quantitative approaches, qualitative frameworks, and expert knowledge. However, mixed-methods that go beyond first order interactions and consider feedback processes are lacking. We create a causal SDG systems model by using a correlation analysis of SDG indicator data with literature research and expert knowledge. The causal influence of targets and goals on the overall objective of achieving SDGs is assessed. SDGs 3 (Good Health and Well-being), 5 (Gender Equality), and 17 (Partnerships for the Goals) show the most synergy potential, while SDGs 10 (Reduced Inequalities) and 16 (Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions) are shown to create the most trade-off potential. However, influence at target level varies greatly within each goal, with the top three synergy targets (5.5, 17.8, 17.6) and trade-off targets (16.8, 10.6, 15.5) representing four different goals, respectively. Persisting trade-offs must be recognised and overcome in the long-term, while efforts towards leveraging gender equality (SDG 5) and partnerships (SDG 17) can produce multiplied benefits.
INDICATORS AND METHODS III: Towards New Research Frameworks
Chair: Maya Bogers, Utrecht University, The Netherlands
Discussant: Sandra van der Hel, Utrecht University, The Netherlands
Technical Facilitator: N.N.
Time: 10 June, 16:00-17:30 UTC+2
Transformative outcomes: Assessing and reorienting experimentation with transformative innovation policy
Johan Schot, Utrecht University, The Netherlands; Bipashyee Ghosh, University of Sussex, United Kingdom; Paula Kivimaa, Finnish Environment Institute, Finland; and Jonas Torrens, Utrecht University, The Netherlands
The United Nations Agenda 2030 is a significant departure from current development pathways, in a vision outlined as a complex set of goals and indicators. Pursuing that vision rapidly stretches the routines and rationales of governance and incites the reconfiguration of multiple systems of provision. To meet such provocation, science funders, innovation agencies and scholars have explored a novel framing of transformative innovation policy. It promotes directionality in innovation efforts, coordination across multiple policy domains, and adaptive forms of implementation. Thus, varied forms of experimental policy engagements have gained prominence as a way of inducing more systemic forms of innovation, ranging from highly controlled experiments via policy labs to experimental cultures. Yet, how and in which circumstances these are transformative remains underexplored. This presentation proposes an approach of transformative outcomes, to assess the transformative potential of innovation policy in general and experimental policy engagements specifically. It builds on sustainability transitions literature and work of the Transformative Innovation Policy Consortium. This effort aims to redress the narrow focus on upscaling of experiments, and to build tools that support the ongoing evaluation and conduct of these engagements. Two cases are used as illustrations: the Colombian coffee sector and the Finnish mobility transition. Experimentation can engender relevant dynamics of learning, coordination and resource mobilisation neglected in output-centric forms of evaluation, which take long to manifest. Considering the transformative outcomes of experiments as intermediary assessment and reflection tools can facilitate the governance and attainment of the SDGs.
Analysing interactions among SDGs with integrated assessment models
Heleen L. van Soest, PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, The Netherlands; Detlef P. van Vuuren, PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency and Utrecht University, The Netherlands; Jérôme Hilaire, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Germany; Jan C. Minx, Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change, Germany, and University of Leeds, United Kingdom; Mathijs J.H.M. Harmsen, PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, and Utrecht University, The Netherlands; Volker Krey, International Institute for Applied System Analysis, Austria; Alexander Popp, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Germany; Keywan Riahi, International Institute for Applied System Analysis, Austria; and Gunnar Luderer, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Germany
To achieve all SDGs by 2030, it is necessary to understand how they interact with each other. Integrated assessment models represent many human–environment interactions and can inform policymakers about the synergies and trade-offs involved in meeting multiple goals simultaneously. We analyse how integrated assessment models, originally developed to study interactions among energy, the economy, climate, and land, can contribute to a wider analysis of the SDGs in order to inform integrated policies. We compare the key interactions identified among the SDGs in an expert survey, with their current and planned representation in models as identified in a survey among modellers. We also use text mining to reveal past practices by extracting the themes discussed in the literature on integrated assessment models, linking them to the SDGs, and identifying the interactions among them, thus corroborating our previous results. This combination of methods allowed us to discuss the role of modelling in informing policy coherence and stimulate discussions on future research. The analysis shows that integrated assessment models cover the climate SDG well, but most integrated assessment models also cover several other areas that are related to resource use and the earth system. Some other dimensions of the 2030 Agenda are also covered, but socio-political and equality goals, and others related to human development and governance, are not well represented. Some of these are difficult to capture in models. Therefore, it is necessary to facilitate a better representation of heterogeneity (greater geographical and sectoral detail) by using different types of models (for example, national and global) and linking different disciplines (especially social sciences) together. Planned developments include increased coverage of human development goals and contribute to policy coherence.
Mobilizing the transformative power of the research system for achieving the SDGs
Matias Ramirez, University of Sussex, United Kingdom, Oscar Romero and Johan Schot, Utrecht University, The Netherlands, and Felber Arroyave, University of California, Merced, United States
This paper addresses the important question of how national research systems can facilitate and trigger research that support the implementation of SDGs. We aim to contribute to the implementation of the SDGs by analysing enablers of synergies across the 17 goals. Our analysis based on sustainability transitions which studies interrelationships between social and technological dimensions of supply systems such energy, food or mobility systems. We contribute to this discussion by arguing that it is necessary to move from a focus on system interaction towards system transformation. A conceptual approach based on bibliometric methods and social network analysis allows us to study the integration between science and technology and the social and environmental pillars of sustainable development. Moreover, we analyse institutions embedded in academic research related to SDGs in Mexico, Brazil and Colombia. It allows us to identify the interrelated dynamic of actors on facilitating and triggering research which build bridges between SDGs. Moreover, we give detail about the role of international organisations in facilitating (brokers) or inhibiting the integration between SDGs. Our results can help to provide implementation strategies and analyse the role of organisations in developing research agendas that aim to build bridges between SDGs.
Linking mitigation of climate change and the SDGs: Modelling integrated sustainable development pathways
Björn Sörgel and Elmar Krieger, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Germany
With the adoption of the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), an ambitious agenda for fostering human development and respecting ecological boundaries has been set. This urgently calls for modelling integrated pathways that make use of synergies and avoid trade-offs between these targets wherever possible. While previous analyses with integrated assessment models (IAMs) have already studied interlinkages between climate change and certain SDGs, the focus has mostly been on the water-energy-land nexus. On the other hand, distributional consequences of both climate change and mitigation policies – within and between countries – have remained underexplored. However, these consequences crucially affect outcomes for several SDGs, most notably for SDG 10 (“reduce inequality”) and SDG 1 (“end poverty”), but also for SDG 2 (“end hunger”) and SDG 7 (“energy access”). Here we present a sustainable development pathway that for the first time addresses these questions in an integrated and quantitative way. Our pathway is computed with the energy-economy-land-use modelling framework REMIND/MAgPIE and combines a 1.5°C scenario with various additional sustainability and equity measures. For SDG indicators that are not directly represented within our IAM framework we evaluate outcomes using a detailed post-processing with data-driven models. We also include the option to use the revenues from carbon pricing for progressive redistribution policies. Our combination of ambitious climate policy with sustainability and equity measures would lead to substantial progress along all dimensions of the SDG agenda. However, we also find that fully achieving certain SDGs by 2030 remains a challenge.
INDICATORS AND METHODS IV: Indicators for Assessing Progress towards SDGs
Chair: Rianne C. ten Veen, Stichting Islamic Reporting Initiative, The Netherlands
Technical Facilitator: N.N.
Time: 10 June, 16:00-17:30 UTC+2
Monitoring SDGs: How selection of indicators matters?
Pratibha Thapa, Prajal Pradhan, and Jürgen Kropp, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Germany
Almost five years have been passed since the United Nations adopted the SDGs. Still, a unified framework to monitor progress on SDGs is missing. Mainly, SDG databases from United Nations Statistics Division, World Bank Development Indicators, and SDSN are being used in SDG research. Here, we compare the SDG database from the United Nations Statistics Division and the World Bank Development Indicators to understand how the selection of data affects our understanding of the SDG interactions. This is important because SDGs are a system of interacting component instead of just a collection of goals, targets, and indicators. To analyse the SDG interactions, we statistically investigate synergies and trade-offs among SDGs at global and regional scales using both databases. Our results highlight that we gain more differences than similar insights on SDG Interactions using different databases. For example, SDG 10 (Reduced Inequalities) mostly shows synergistic relations with other goals based on World Bank Development Indicators database, however, this goal is mostly antagonistic with others when we consider UNSD database. Similarly, SDG 16 (Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions) and SDG 14 (Life below Water) show mostly antagonistic relations with other goals based on the United Nations Statistics Division and World Bank Development Indicators databases, respectively. These results highlight the need for a unified framework to monitor SDGs because the use of different databases can lead to different policy recommendations in terms of leveraging the synergies and making trade-offs non-obstructive to meet the 2030 Agenda.
When do development data count?
Dan Brockington, University of Sheffield, United Kingdom
The SDGs are a golden opportunity for data-driven policy to thrive. The specificity of the goals, their indicators and targets and the acute attention given to different ways of progress to them have helped to usher in a new boom in development data. However, the history of the use of data in development means that we must be sanguine about the potential for change. There are some aspects of development and development goals which are tightly tied to data. And other aspects of development policy seem to be relatively inured from the restrictions of data-driven policy. In this paper I reverse the normal way of looking at data and development. The normal question is ‘how can good data better inform development policy’. I ask in what circumstances do development policies become responsive to data, and in which circumstances are they unresponsive. I explore these issues with reference to a variety of different goals and policies.
Knowledge of SDGs interlinkages for decision-making: Are current methods fit for purpose?
Lorenzo Di Lucia, Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden; Lars Nilsson and Jamil Khan, Lund University, Sweden; and Raphael Slade, Imperial College London, United Kingdom
Due to the interconnectedness of the SDGs, the potential to meet a specific goal is influenced by efforts to achieve other goals. To maintain the indivisibility of the 2030 Agenda, a growing number of methods and approaches have been developed in recent years to provide knowledge of SDG interlinkages in the form of trade-offs and synergies. In this paper, we take stock of the rapid development which has characterised the field and conduct a critical review of existing approaches. The exercise consists of a review of the scientific and grey literature, and an expert workshop bringing together both developers and users. The workshop, conducted in Sweden in spring 2020, brings together a selected group of developers, representing some of the most known approaches, and a broad range of potential knowledge users including decision makers from businesses, NGOs, local/national public authorities and practitioners (for example, consultancies). The results of the study highlight the existence of both methodological and conceptual challenges that are relevant to the empirical analysis of SDG interlinkages. Moreover, it confirms that for knowledge of SDG interlinkages to effectively contribute to decision making, methods need to not only account for contextual specificity of interlinkages and issues related to trans-boundary effects, but also find ways to address challenges emerging from power and governance structures. This understanding of the limitations of current methods is crucial to improve their analytical validity and use in decision making contributing to the use(fullness) of 2030 Agenda as a means of national and global governance.