The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change call for deep transformations in every country that require complementary actions by governments, civil society, science, and business. While significant progress is being made on some goals, no country is currently on track towards achieving all SDGs. Says Prof Sachs, “the SDGs have become the world’s shared framework for sustainable development, but countries need more clarity on how to operationalize and track progress towards the 17 goals. Similarly, businesses, science, and civil society must support SDG achievement.”
In response, the new paper “Six Transformations to Achieve the SDGs”, published on 26 August in the journal Nature Sustainability, builds on the 2018 report of The World in 2050 Project to propose an action agenda for implementing the SDGs. Written by Jeffrey D. Sachs (Columbia University), Guido Schmidt-Traub (Sustainable Development Solutions Network), Mariana Mazzucato (University College London), Dirk Messner (United Nations University), Nebojsa Nakicenovic (International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis), and Johan Rockström (Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research) the paper identifies the major interventions needed to achieve each SDG and groups them in six SDG Transformations.
“The six transformations provide an integrated and holistic framework for action that reduces the complexity, yet encompasses the 17 SDGs, their 169 Targets and the Paris Agreement. They provide a new approach to shift from incremental to transformational change; to identify synergies using sustainable development pathways; formulate actionable roadmaps; and a focus on inter-relationships to uncover multiple benefits and synergies,” explains Nebojsa Nakicenovic.
The Six SDG Transformations align with how governments are organized. With suitable modification for each country’s context, governments, business, and civil society can use them to organize SDG implementation. The paper also outlines an action agenda for science to provide the knowledge required for designing, implementing, and monitoring the SDG Transformations.
Adds Johan Rockström, “the six transformations in this paper have the ultimate goal of enhancing human prosperity and reduce inequalities. This is not easy of course. In fact it is the largest human endeavour of all time. And science is here to provide governments with a fact-based framework. If political leadership fails to act, however, we would face unprecedented risks for the stability of societies, and for our Earth system.”
“Implementing the Transformations will require major changes in national and local governance that are bold but feasible. They are described in the paper, and we look forward to working with countries wishing to operationalize the transformations,” says Dirk Messner.