By using a mathematical network analysis to map the relationships identified by an International Council for Science report, the University of Bath research reveals that direct efforts focussed on a critical few: Life below Water, Life on Land, and Gender Equality, would reinforce the virtuous circles buried in the network and hence lead to greater overall progress.
The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were agreed in 2015 as a blueprint for a sustainable world to be achieved by the year 2030. The seventeen goals cover economic, societal and environmental issues including ending poverty and hunger, providing quality education, reducing inequalities, conserving marine ecosystems and acting on climate change, and between them contain 169 separate targets.
Professor - Jonathan - Dawes - Centre - Networks
Professor Jonathan Dawes from the Centre for Networks and Collective Behaviour and the Department of Mathematical Sciences, University of Bath, set out to analyse the direction of influences between all the goals using a systems perspective—the first time this has been done.
His analysis draws on an influential report from the International Council for Science (ICSU, now the International Science Council—ISC) and reveals that if resources were unequally allocated, and goals that were further 'upstream' in the system were prioritised, then this prioritisation would generate many more positive impacts. It would also mitigate the trade-offs that would otherwise mean achieving some goals only at the expense of others. The clearest senses of direction in these effects are between goals 4-16 and goals 1-3 (no poverty, zero hunger, and good health and wellbeing).
Progress - Societal - Objectives - Goals - Impacts
Progress on almost every one of the broader societal and environmental objectives encapsulated within goals 4-16 will have significant positive impacts on goals 1-3. For example the ICSU Report notes that achieving gender equality (goal 5) is fundamental to poverty eradication (goal 1), will result in increased engagement in food security and initiatives to improve nutrition (goal...
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