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Approaches to the implementation of the sustainable development goals: Some considerations on the theoretical underpinnings of the 2030 Agenda

Lars Josephsen

No 2017-60, Economics Discussion Papers from Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW)

Abstract: The paper discusses the theoretical underpinning of the concept of sustainable development, especially in relation to follow-up and review, including ex post evaluation of progress. The purpose is to explore methodological aspects of applied approaches to the implementation process, e.g. ways to unravel possible interactions among the numerous SDGs and targets, and to assess trade-offs between interventions. The aim is to go beyond various sustainable development interpretations, by exploring how they perceive and approach implementation of the goals, taking the complexity of this substantial task into account. The paper surveys the theoretical economic underpinning of the 2030 Agenda and the role of neoclassical economic theory in this context. Implementation routes for sustainable development interpretations based on other theoretical frameworks are briefly sketched for comparison. The analysis leads to the claim that it is questionable whether interpretations of sustainable development founded on neoclassical economic theory - as the 2030 Agenda - are applicable in relation to every aspect of sustainability.

Keywords: Sustainable development; 2030 Agenda; Implementation of the SDGs; underpinning of the SDGs; SDGs and complexity (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: Q01 O44 F64 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-env, nep-hme and nep-hpe
Date: 2017
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