Sustainable Development Goals – Everything is Connected
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“It’s all connected.” We know that already, those of us who work on making the world a more sustainable, resilient, fair and prosperous place for all. And we know that the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, adopted by all nations in 2015, are “indivisible” — a highly integrated web of challenges. We only succeed, as an intelligent species that controls the destiny of a whole planet, if we achieve all the goals together.
But exactly how is “everything connected”? And how do we know which connections are the important ones, the ones we simply must keep in mind, while others can rest a bit in the background? Enter the International Council for Science, an umbrella organization whose members are the world’s national scientific bodies. ICSU is the closest thing we have to a “United Nations for Science,” in the general sense. And it has just put out a very useful and important study: “A Guide to SDG Interactions: from Science to Implementation.”
Before you start worrying about being overwhelmed by complexity, let me reassure you: this ICSU report is not an encyclopedic study of how “everything is connected to everything else.” The report picks four SDGs, as case studies and examples, and then provides a very clear conceptual road map for understanding how those goals and their targets are linked to others in the SDG system.
This timely report provides guidance for anyone who has struggled with the question, “What does integration mean in practice?” Let it stimulate your thoughts, help you make connections — and then go lead (or participate in) some system-smart change effort that is more likely to create multiple benefits for your organization, your community and your piece of the planet.