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An integrated framework for sustainable development goals

David Griggs, Monash Sustainability Institute, Monash University
Mark Stafford Smith, CSIRO Climate Adaptation Flagship
Johan Rockström, Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm University
Marcus C. Öhman, Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm University
Owen Gaffney, International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme
Gisbert Glaser, International Council for Science
Norichika Kanie, Tokyo Institute of Technology; United Nations University Institute of Advanced Studies
Ian Noble, Notre Dame Global Adaptation Index; Monash Sustainability Institute, Monash University
Will Steffen, Fenner School of Environment and Society, Australian National University; Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm University
Priya Shyamsundar, South Asian Network for Development and Environmental Economics


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The United Nations (UN) Rio+20 summit committed nations to develop a set of universal sustainable development goals (SDGs) to build on the millennium development goals (MDGs) set to expire in 2015. Research now indicates that humanity’s impact on Earth’s life support system is so great that further global environmental change risks undermining long-term prosperity and poverty eradication goals. Socioeconomic development and global sustainability are often posed as being in conflict because of trade-offs between a growing world population, as well as higher standards of living, and managing the effects of production and consumption on the global environment. We have established a framework for an evidence-based architecture for new goals and targets. Building on six SDGs, which integrate development and environmental considerations, we developed a comprehensive framework of goals and associated targets, which demonstrate that it is possible, and necessary, to develop integrated targets relating to food, energy, water, and ecosystem services goals; thus providing a neutral evidence-based approach to support SDG target discussions. Global analyses, using an integrated global target equation, are close to providing indicators for these targets. Alongside development-only targets and environment-only targets, these integrated targets would ensure that synergies are maximized and trade-offs are managed in the implementation of SDGs.

Key words

development; environment; sustainability; sustainable development; sustainable development goals

Copyright © 2014 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance. This article  is under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.  You may share and adapt the work for noncommercial purposes provided the original author and source are credited, you indicate whether any changes were made, and you include a link to the license.

Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087