The adoption of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the United Nations Summit on Sustainable Development in September 2015 offers a clear direction for transforming the way countries develop for the foreseeable future. For SDGs to guide the transition pathways, they will require indicators and tools for measuring, analysing and communicating the progress over time at both the international and national levels. To balance human development in multiple dimensions by achieving the SDGs requires a paradigm shift in policymaking from a siloed approach to an integrated approach.
Against this backdrop, the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES) has implemented a project on “Sustainable Development Goals Interlinkages and Indicators” since 2015. Initiated by IGES former Executive Director, Hideyuki Mori, the project focuses on SDG indicators and the analysis of the interlinkages between SDG targets. Actions taken in achieving one target may not only have an impact on its own but will also impact other targets attributable to the intrinsic nature of the interlinkages between the SDG targets. On the one hand, achieving one goal or target may contribute to achieving other goals or targets. For example, enhanced food security (Goal 2), full and productive employment and decent work (Goal 8) and reduction of inequalities (Goal 10) will reinforce poverty eradication (Goal 1). On the other hand, the pursuit of one objective may conflict with the achievement of another. For example, an increase in agricultural production to help end hunger (Goal 2) can result in an increase in water use for irrigation which may compete with water demand for achieving universal access to drinking water (Goal 6). Understanding the SDG interlinkages can support policy integration and help minimise conflicts, avoid trade-offs and seek synergies for making achievements inclusively across all 17 SDG areas.
This project aims to support policy integration in the processes of planning, institutional arrangement, implementation, and monitoring by providing a practical tool on the quantification and visualisation of the interlinkages between SDG targets. Main tasks include the following:
The project identifies the causal relationships between relevant SDG targets through a comprehensive literature review, as well as expert opinions and stakeholders consultation in a couple of case studies related to specific topics (e.g. renewable energy, sustainable consumption and production, SDGs at the river basin scale and SDGs localisation, etc.) in some countries. The identified interlinkages are further quantified for the countries in Asia and Africa based on the statiscal analysis of the time-series data of the indicators for the SDG targets. Identification of the indicators is mainly based on the official indicators that are enlisted in the “Global indicator framework for the Sustainable Development Goals and Targets of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” (UN Statistical Commission, 2017). When specific data or indicators are not available, proxy indicators and their corresponding data from various sources (such as the World Bank’s World Development Indicators) are used. A web tool, SDG Interlinkages Analysis & Visualisation Tool, has been developed for users to visualise the interlinkages between targets and explore the data for monitoring SDGs progress.
Version 4.0 provides more user-friendly functions including options for users to save selections and add new targets. Work is ongoing to improve the methodology, indicators and data availability and quality. The tool will be updated on a regular basis to reflect the progress made in these areas.
The geographical coverage in this project – countries from Asia and Africa – is based on IGES’ expertise and relevant work in these countries.
Major outputs include:
|East Asia:||China,  Japan,  Mongolia,  Republic of Korea|
|South Asia:||Afghanistan,  Bangladesh,  Bhutan,  India,  Maldives,  Nepal,  Pakistan,  Sri Lanka|
|Southeast Asia:||Brunei,  Cambodia,  Indonesia,  Lao PDR,  Malaysia,  Myanmar,  Philippines,  Singapore,  Thailand,  Viet Nam|
|Africa:||Ethiopia,  Ghana,  Malawi,  South Africa,  Tanzania , etc.|
The SDG Interlinkages Analysis & Visualisation Tool and the analysis results can serve as a practical tool to support policy integration and coherence at the national as well as local levels in the following areas: