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Implementing the “Sustainable Development Goals”: Towards Addressing Three Key Governance Challenges—Collective Action, Trade-Offs, and Accountability

Bowen, Kathryn J, Nicholas A Cradock-Henry, Florian Koch, James Patterson, Tiina Häyhä, Jess Vogt, Fabiana Barbi. 2017. Implementing the “Sustainable Development Goals”: towards addressing three key governance challenges—collective action, trade-offs, and accountability. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 26-27: 90-96.

Abstract

Realising the aspirations of the “Sustainable Development Goals” (SDGs) to reduce inequality, limit ecological damage, and secure resilient livelihoods is a grand challenge for sustainability science, civil society and government. We identify three key governance challenges that are central for implementing the SDGs: (i) cultivating collective action by creating inclusive decision spaces for stakeholder interaction across multiple sectors and scales; (ii) making difficult trade-offs, focusing on equity, justice and fairness; and (iii) ensuring mechanisms exist to hold societal actors to account regarding decision-making, investment, action, and outcomes. The paper explains each of these three governance challenges, identifying possible avenues for addressing them, and highlights the importance of interlinkages between the three challenges.

The article is available here.

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