Research Press Release

Tackling poverty is key to achieving Sustainable Development Goals

Nature Sustainability

March 5, 2019

Prioritising tackling poverty and income inequality could help achieve all the Sustainable Development Goals, suggests an analysis published online this week in Nature Sustainability.

The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), set by the United Nation in 2015, were devised to change the way we live and create a sustainable future balancing equitable prosperity within planetary boundaries by 2030. The SDGs tackle a range of important issues, including biodiversity, poverty, education, and climate change. Human, economic, and natural resources have to be used in tandem to achieve the SDG, and careful consideration needs to be taken to ensure that tackling one SDG does not, in turn, negatively impact other SDGs.

David Lusseau and Francesca Mancini conducted a network analysis of progress toward SDG goals and targets. The World Bank developed a set of 331 indicators for the period 1990-2017 to inform the SDGs. The authors used these indicators to evaluate 71 of the 169 targets for the 17 SDGs. The authors show that policies to reduce income inequality and poverty in high- and low-income countries respectively may have positive and lasting impacts on all other goals. They find that goal interactions and trade-offs are different depending on the level of wealth of a country. For high-income countries, goals related to climate change and responsible consumption are at odds with many other goals.

The authors suggest that understanding the inter-relationship between SDGs can help accelerate progress towards the 2030 targets.


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