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Journal Article

Untangling the interactions among the Sustainable Development Goals in China


Zhang,  Junze
External Organizations;

Wang,  Shuai
External Organizations;


Pradhan,  Prajal
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research;

Zhao,  Wenwu
External Organizations;

Fu,  Bojie
External Organizations;

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Zhang, J., Wang, S., Pradhan, P., Zhao, W., Fu, B. (2022): Untangling the interactions among the Sustainable Development Goals in China. - Science Bulletin, 67, 9, 977-984.

Cite as: https://publications.pik-potsdam.de/pubman/item/item_26549
Understanding the interactions (synergies and trade-offs) among the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is crucial for enhancing policy coherence between different sectors. However, spatial differences in the SDG interactions and their temporal variations at the sub-national scale are still critical gaps that need to be urgently filled. Here, we assess the spatial and temporal variation of the SDG interactions in China based on the systematic classification framework of SDGs. The framework groups the seventeen SDGs into three categories, namely “Essential Needs,” “Objectives,” and “Governance.” Spatially, we found that the SDGs in “Essential Needs” & “Objectives” and “Essential Needs” & “Governance” generally show trade-offs in the eastern provinces of China. Synergies among all three SDG categories are observed in some central and western China provinces, which implies that these regions conform to sustainable development patterns. In addition, temporally, the synergies of the three SDG categories have shown a weakening trend in the last decade, mainly due to the regional differences in the progress of SDG7 (Affordable and Clean Energy). Overall, our results identify the necessity for provinces to enhance the synergies between SDG12 (Responsible Production and Consumption) and other SDGs to tackle the trade-offs between the “Essential Needs” and “Objectives.” Meanwhile, promoting the progress of SDG7 will also contribute to balanced development across provinces.