Since the inception of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2015, there has been much conceptual progress on the linkages across the 17 goals and their 169 targets. While this kind of conceptualization is an essential first step, action must now move towards systematic policy design, implementation, and multi-stakeholder collaborations that can translate such understanding into concrete results. This study is a reality check of such quasi-political global development agendas by the United Nations and its implications on Austrian forestry. Although forestry is not a goal in itself, forests as an element have been included under SDG15 (Life on Land). In this study, the linkages of forestry with potential synergies or trade-offs within and between the SDGs have been assessed through a literature survey and complemented with the perception of opinion leaders across the Austrian forestry sector on the same. The insights about awareness, design, implementation, and the necessity of mainstreaming the SDGs into the policy structure of Austria were reviewed. Besides facilitating the goals of sustainable forest management (SFM) in Austria, the SDG15 is not only strongly related to, but is likely to aid, the achievement of other SDGs, such as human health (SDG3), provision of clean water (SDG6), affordable & clean energy (SDG7), and climate action (SDG13). The opinion leaders perceive the SDGs as well-placed but broad. Some this broadness is a positive aspect of the SDGs. On the other hand, the 15-year (2015–2030) tenure of the SDGs is perceived to be inadequate to match the temporal scale of forest development. Apparently, the success of the SDGs will strictly depend upon coordination, governance, and most importantly, awareness among all stakeholders. Therefore, in addition to “leaving no one behind”, the SDGs must evidently provide incentives benefitting everybody.
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