Anshul Agrawal and Maya Narayan
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provide a shared blueprint for the peace and prosperity of people as well as the planet. Although national governments have been mandated with monitoring progress, it is impossible to achieve the SDG targets by 2030, without the active contribution of other stakeholders like private companies, civil society organisations, etc. However, there is a lack of clarity on roles the different stakeholders are expected to play, inadequate accountability mechanisms and the urgent need to create spaces for collective action towards the 2030 Agenda. This situation gives rise to two distinct forms of tensions, among others. Firstly, the inherent power differences between the government, civil society and industry, poses a challenge to collaboration, where they don’t see eye to eye on what constitutes “sustainable development. Secondly, progress on SDG implementation is being monitored top-down, while most implementation is taking place bottom-up. In order to deal with these tensions, there is a need to explore the interrelations among different SDGs and their underlying targets. This study explores the merit of using systems thinking to amplify the positive interactions (enablers) between various SDG targets and mitigate the negative ones (inhibitors) for unlocking their transformative potential.
Keywords; SDGs, enablers, inhibitors, interactions, tension