Governing SDG interactions

Numerous governments, businesses, and civil society organisations aim to contribute to achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals in the global South. However, cherry-picking SDGs coupled with lack of alignment between initiatives means trade-offs are not addressed and opportunities for synergy are missed.

Project updates

Project summary

Progress towards achieving the SDGs is hampered by international development projects duplicating efforts on the ground; lack of coherence between donor policies; misalignment between national policies and multilateral development programmes; and diverging private sector investments. Aligning SDG efforts by these public and private actors operating across levels has itself become a challenge that will determine whether SDGs will be met in 2030.

Together with our international, Dutch and East-African partners, this project will study the effectiveness of governance mechanisms that aim to align SDG efforts between:

  • donors’ domestic and foreign policies
  • donors and recipients
  • different donors
  • public and private initiatives

By working across disciplines and with stakeholders, we will produce actionable research results. Policy briefs with tailored recommendations for co-designing inclusive and effective polycentric governance arrangements will be produced. We aim to support better alignment between development actors and efforts, so as to minimise trade-offs, maximise synergies, and achieve the SDGs in Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda.

In each case study country, one SDG is the starting point for studying trade-offs and synergies with other SDGs:

  • Ethiopia: Multi-level study of interactions with SDG15 (Life on land): the challenge of landscape restoration
  • Kenya: Multi-level study of interactions with SDG2 (No hunger): the challenge of climate-smart livestock
  • Uganda: Multi-level study of interactions with SDG6 (Clean water and sanitation): the urban water-energy-food nexus