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Appears in Collections:Biological and Environmental Sciences Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Towards understanding interactions between Sustainable Development Goals: the role of environment-human linkages
Author(s): Scharlemann, Jorn P W
Brock, Rebecca C
Balfour, Nicholas
Brown, Claire
Burgess, Neil D
Guth, Miriam K
Ingram, Daniel J
Lane, Richard
Martin, Juliette G C
Wicander, Sylvia
Kapos, Valerie
Keywords: 2030 Agenda
Influence matrix
Issue Date: 1-Apr-2020
Citation: Scharlemann JPW, Brock RC, Balfour N, Brown C, Burgess ND, Guth MK, Ingram DJ, Lane R, Martin JGC, Wicander S & Kapos V (2020) Towards understanding interactions between Sustainable Development Goals: the role of environment-human linkages. Sustainability Science.
Abstract: Only 10 years remain to achieve all Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) globally, so there is a growing need to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of action by targeting multiple SDGs. The SDGs were conceived as an ‘indivisible whole’, but interactions between SDGs need to be better understood. Several previous assessments have begun to explore interactions including synergies and possible conflicts between the SDGs, and differ widely in their conclusions. Although some highlight the role of the more environmentally-focused SDGs in underpinning sustainable development, none specifically focuses on environment–human linkages. Assessing interactions between SDGs, and the influence of environment on them can make an important contribution to informing decisions in 2020 and beyond. Here, we review previous assessments of interactions among SDGs, apply an influence matrix to assess pairwise interactions between all SDGs, and show how viewing these from the perspective of environment–human linkages can influence the outcome. Environment, and environment–human linkages, influence most interactions between SDGs. Our action-focused assessment enables decision makers to focus environmental management to have the greatest impacts and to identify opportunities to build on synergies and reduce trade-offs between particular SDGs. It may enable sectoral decision makers to seek support from environment managers for achieving their goals. We explore cross-cutting issues and the relevance and potential application of our approach in supporting decision making for progress to achieve the SDGs.
DOI Link: 10.1007/s11625-020-00799-6
Rights: his article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit
Notes: Output Status: Forthcoming/Available Online
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