The Sustainable Development Goals and their trade-offs

Research reports and studies
March 2017
Fortunate Machingura and Steven Lally
Farmer on flood plain, Mongu, Western Zambia. Photo: World Fish/Felix Clay CC-BY-NC-ND

This case study explores the trade-offs between the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), through the lens of an imaginary country: Progressia. This may not be a place on the map, but the facts on which it is based, and the dilemmas it faces, are real.

The report shows the complexities around integration of individual, often competing or conflicting, SDGs or their targets, setting out possible scenarios that combine measures to achieve the triple bottom line of economic development, environmental sustainability and social inclusion.

It is an exercise designed to help governments, academia and development professionals to actualise individual SDGs and minimise the negative impact of trade-offs, and consider and mitigate the negative effects of distributional issues.

An interactive summary of the report explores the possible development pathways Progressia could travel between now and 2030.