Understanding synergies and trade-offs between energy and sustainable development goals
Sustainable energy provision is one of the central themes of the UN 2030 Agenda, which recognizes that “universal access to affordable, reliable and sustainable energy”, SDG7, requires considerations on social and economic development and the sustainable management of our planet’s natural resources. However, a key challenge for practicing the 2030 Agenda is how to deal with the complexity of sustainable development goals, given these involve many social, environmental, economic factors that interact with each other, causing synergies and trade-offs between goals and related targets.
Most studies exploring SDGs synergies and trade-offs focus on identifying interacting goals and targets based on country level reports and expert panels, thus providing a top-down analysis approach of the phenomenon. Yet, from the perspective of practitioners, such as entry and middle level managers and government representatives, NGOs, community leaders, little is known about why and how such interactions occur and what contexts, if any, influence their nature (synergy or trade-off) and intensity (strong or weak). This proposed research activity is motivated by the lack of bottom-up approaches in current Sustainability research, and by our two successful UGPN workshops (February and July 2020) aimed at identifying synergies and trade-offs that arise during SDGs implementation.
The objective of this project is to develop a bottom-up approach analysis of SDGs synergies and trade-offs that can provide a useful framework for decisionmakers, practitioners and researchers to design future interventions in energy systems for sustainable development. More specifically, we will focus on the linkages between energy systems (SDG7) and other goals that need to be organized and connected in a manner that informs and enables efforts to achieve the UN 2030 Agenda.
Dr Flavio Houneroux Jr
University of Sao Paulo