Towards nexus-based governance : defining interactions between economic activities and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
Author(s)Zanten, Jan Anton van
KeywordsSustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
SDG6:Clean Water and Sanitation
AbstractThe success of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) depends on solving the ‘nexus’ challenge: how can positive interactions between SDGs be optimised, and negative interactions minimised, in order to create co-benefits and reduce trade-offs? Due to their varying impacts on the SDGs, the economic activities undertaken by organisations present a key lever for operationalising this SDG-nexus. Yet the interactions between individual economic activities and the economic, social, and environmental dimensions of sustainable development have not been systematically assessed, thus creating a vital operational bottleneck to achieving the SDGs. This paper conducts a systematic review of 876 articles published between 2005 and 2019 to study the nexus between individual economic activities, sustainable development in general, and the SDGs in specific. It finds that studies on agricultural, industrial, and manufacturing activities predominantly report negative impacts on environmental development, while literature on services activities highlight economic and social contributions. Overall, most economic activities are expected to positively impact industrialization, infrastructure, and innovation [SDG 9] and economic productivity [SDG 8], while many help meet basic needs [SDGs 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 11]. However, negative impacts are widespread, afflicting ecosystems [SDGs 14 and 15], climate change [SDG 13] and human health [SDG 3]. We synthesise positive and negative interactions between individual economic activities and SDG targets and discuss implications for: integrated (nexus) governance approaches to the SDGs; the role of the private sector in promoting sustainable development; and for improving statistical classifications to monitor economic activities’ SDG impacts.
Copyright/LicenseTaylor and Francis Group (SDG Online collection)
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International