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Implementing the “Sustainable Development Goals”: towards addressing three key governance challenges—collective action, trade-offs, and accountability

Article | 11-07-2017

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


The three key governance challenges are:

(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;

(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.

Author(s)Kathryn J Bowen, Nicholas A Cradock-Henry, Florian Koch, James Patterson, Tiina Hayha, Jess Vogt and Fabiana Barbi
Publication date11-07-2017
PublicationCurrent opinion in environmental sustainability
RemarksThis article is available on the publisher’s website via restricted access.