This paper analyzes potential synergies between two recent sustainable development initiatives, namely the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+), a climate mitigation mechanism negotiated under the auspices of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The paper elaborates a conceptual framework based on institutional interactions and distinguishes core, complementary, and supplementary synergies that may be realized between the SDGs and REDD+. Potential synergies are analyzed at the global level, as well as within two national-level contexts: Indonesia, with its long-standing REDD+ programme, and Myanmar, which is in the early stages of implementing REDD+. Both are now also engaging nationally with the SDG implementation process. Our research draws on literature review and document analysis, direct observations of global policy processes relating to REDD+ and SDGs, as well as extensive engagement (of one author) at national level in Indonesia and Myanmar. Our analysis reveals that there are currently significant opportunities to pursue synergies in the implementation of these international initiatives at the national level, although pro-active interaction management is necessary, especially to achieve complementary synergies.