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The hard problem: Interdependencies between sustainability goals

Session at the Sustainability Science Forum 2021 - Accelerating Transformation


13:45 - 15:00

Luogo della manifestazione

Eventforum Bern
Fabrikstrasse 12
3012 Bern

The all-encompassing ambition of sustainable development entails pursuing many goals in parallel. Very often, achieving one goal makes it more difficult to achieve another, and the challenge is to minimize the conflict. In other cases, however, different goals can potentially support each other, and the aim should be to identify and exploit the synergies or co-benefits.

Sustainability Science Forum
Immagine: Hansjakob Fehr, 1kilo

Effective methods that can help decision makers identify, understand and prioritize such interdependencies amongst sustainability goals are urgently needed. Using the example of political decision-making processes, this session explores how interactions between sustainability goals can be prioritised and how their consideration can be ensured.

Moderator: Eva Lieberherr, Departement of Environmental Systems Science, ETH Zurich


Welcome words by moderator

Input presentation (in German)
Identifying, prioritizing and politically handling interactions between SDG Targets
Laura Ebneter and Christoph Bader, Centre for Development and Environment (CDE) University of Bern

Overview presenting the state of scientific knowledge on the issue of interdependencies between sustainability goals. Key interdependencies identified so far. Important next steps for adequately considering these interdependencies in political decision-making. Thoughts on the role of science in this process.

Mini panel discussion (in German)
Government perspective: Till Berger, Federal Office for Spatial Development ARE
Civil society perspective: Dominik Gross, Alliance Sud
Science perspective: Christoph Bader, CDE, University of Bern

  • How are you confronted with the question of identifying and dealing with interdependencies between sustainability goals? What synergies and conflicting goals concern you most?
  • What is important to consider when prioritizing interdependencies between sustainability goals?
  • What could be promising mechanisms to ensure that key interdependencies are considered in political decision making?

Discussion with all participants

  • What are other / additional approaches to identify, understand and prioritize interdependencies amongst sustainability goals?
  • What are key open questions for research? Which interdependencies are particularly insufficiently understood?



Gruppo di coordinamento Ricerca sulla sostenibilità
Casa delle Accademie
Casella postale
3001 Berna

Lingue: Inglese, Tedesco, Francese