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Taskforce on the Sustainable Development Goals

This taskforce brings together an interdisciplinary global group of scholars and practitioners to advance the scientific understanding of ‘governance by global goals’ and in particular the steering effects of the Sustainable Development Goals.


The Earth System Governance ‘Taskforce on the Sustainable Development Goals’ brings together an interdisciplinary global group of scholars and practitioners to advance the scientific understanding of ‘governance by global goals’ and in particular the steering effects of the Sustainable Development Goals.

The Political Effects of the SDGs since 2015 - Findings from the global SDG Impact Assessment

Official virtual side event to the HLPF, July 5th 2022

The session takes stock of the core findings of the SDG Impact Assessment and concludes with a high-level discussion on how the ...
2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development can move beyond political discourse. Panelists discuss how to galvanize solutions in all societal sectors that lead to fundamental and transformational change. The knowledge obtained during this side-event serves as valuable input for the 2023 midterm review of the SDGs.

The discussion is based on the key findings of the global SDG Impact Assessment, the first meta-analysis of the available scientific knowledge about the steering effects of the SDGs. 61 researchers across the globe were involved in assessing a body of over 3000 scientific studies on the SDGs.

The SDG Assessment is an open access Cambridge University Press publication, access here:

The recently published Nature Sustainability article, 'Scientific evidence on the political impact of the Sustainable Development Goals,' presents the key findings of the SDG Assessment, read here:,institutional%20steering%20that%20promotes%20inclusiveness.
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Latest Updates

📢Important update: 📢
Because of strong interest we have postponed the deadline for abstract submissions for GLOBALGOALS2024 until Friday 12 April 4pm CET.
Join us @UniUtrecht @UUGeo to discuss the future of the #SDGs!

The global academic "Taskforce on the #SDGs" of @ESG_Project will meet one day before this important conference GLOBALGOALS2024, & we will also participate in the conference.

We look forward to these important discussions on new visions for global sustainability & the SDGs!

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The Taskforce aims to build, invigorate and lead a diverse research community by providing an open forum for developing and exchanging cutting-edge research and policy studies on to what extent and under what conditions governance through goals can be effective. The Taskforce covers, but is not limited to, the steering effects of the Sustainable Development Goals on five thematic issues: implementation of global goals over time and at different scales; institutional integration and policy coherence through global goal setting; inclusiveness in goal setting and implementation; effectiveness of protecting planetary integrity through global goals; and methodological challenges and opportunities of studying these questions.

The Taskforce was launched at an Earth System Governance Speaker Series webinar in April 2021. It builds on an established network of leading scholars engaged in the study and practice of the Sustainable Development Goals, following the organization of the so far largest international research conference on the Sustainable Development Goals at Utrecht University in June 2020. In 2022, the SDG Impact Assessment was released with Cambridge University Press as part of the Earth System Governance book series. The assessment provides the most comprehensive data compilation, network mapping, and comparative institutional analysis of the evolution, effectiveness and future prospects of ‘global governance through goals’ as a central novel steering mechanism in world politics. Written by a team of over sixty experts and drawing on over 3000 scientific studies, this volume is a key resource for policymakers, activists and scholars of sustainable development.

Practically, the Taskforce facilitates dialogue and exchange through an interactive website, a webinar series, interdisciplinary workshops and panels on thematic issues at Earth System Governance conferences and other venues, along with public statements at major political events and joint publications that will include special issues of high-impact scientific journals and edited volumes with major university presses. All Earth System Governance fellows, at all career stages, are invited to join our Taskforce in one of the Working Groups below, to jointly study the Sustainable Development Goals and their steering effects on the governance of sustainability challenges:

  • WG Global Governance and the SDGs: HLPF and the VNR process led by Melanie van Driel and Felicitas Fritzsche
  • WG National Policy Integration of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs led by Montserrat Koloffon Rosas, Ivonne Lobos Alva and Sabine Weiland
  • WG Sub-National Initiatives for SDG Implementation led by Basil Bornemann, Shirin Malek Pour and Dominique McCollum Coy
  • WG Private Governance and Partnerships for the SDGs led by Fredrik Dahlmann, Lena Partzsch, Rob Raven and Joanna Stanberry
  • WG SDG Education and Learning led by Aurélie Charles, Thiago Gehre and Cristina Inoue
  • WG Sustainability interactions and modelling led by Prajal Pradhan and Nina Weitz

For more information about joining the Taskforce, please contact the taskforce convenors by e-mailing

Scientific Steering Group

The scientific steering group of the Taskforce draws on the network of scholars that compiled the SDG Impact Assessment.

  • Marianne Beisheim, German Institute for International and Security Affairs, Germany
  • Steven Bernstein, University of Toronto, Canada
  • Debapriya Bhattacharya, Centre for Policy Dialogue, Bangladesh
  • Pamela Chasek, Manhattan College, United States
  • Louis J. Kotzé, North-West University, South Africa
  • Måns Nilsson, Stockholm Environment Institute, Sweden
  • Andrea Ordóñez Llanos, Southern Voice, Ecuador
  • Rob Raven, Monash University, Australia
  • Imme Scholz, German Development Institute, Germany
  • Michelle Scobie, The University of the West Indies, Trinidad and Tobago
  • John Thompson, Sussex Sustainability Research Programme, United Kingdom
  • John Thwaites, Monash University, Australia
  • Sébastien Treyer, Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations, France
  • Detlef van Vuuren, PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency and Utrecht University, The Netherlands

Associated Research Lenses

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