Pursuing integrated research and decision-making to advance action on the sustainable development goals (SDGs) fundamentally depends on understanding interactions between the SDGs, both negative ones ("trade-offs") and positive ones ("co-benefits"). This quest, triggered by the 2030 Agenda, has however pointed to a gap in current research and policy analysis regarding how to think systematically about interactions across the SDGs. This paper synthesizes experiences and insights from the application of a new conceptual framework for mapping and assessing SDG interactions using a defined typology and characterization approach. Drawing on results from a major international research study applied to the SDGs on health, energy and the ocean, it analyses how interactions depend on key factors such as geographical context, resource endowments, time horizon and governance. The paper discusses the future potential, barriers and opportunities for applying the approach in scientific research, in policy making and in bridging the two through a global SDG Interactions Knowledge Platform as a key mechanism for assembling, systematizing and aggregating knowledge on interactions.
Keywords: 2030 Agenda; Connections; Development; Interlinkages; Knowledge platform; SDG.