Identifying Sustainability and Knowledge Gaps in Socio-Economic Pathways Vis-à-Vis the Sustainable Development Goals
2.1. Applying the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the Long-Run
- (A) SDG targets where the level of progress reached by 2030 (or before) should be sustained indefinitely thereafter (e.g., universal access to services meeting basic human needs such as food, water, energy, education, and health services).
- (B) SDG targets that constitute not a complete achievement by 2030, requiring further increases in ambition thereafter, as they are (B1) not ambitious enough considering current best practices (e.g., protecting cultural heritage); (B2) do not consider possible future improvements (e.g., efficiency); or (B3) do not consider planetary boundaries (e.g., environmental targets).
- (C) SDG targets, which will have to be revisited post 2030 as they may not apply in the long run.
2.2. Identifying Sustainability and Knowledge Gaps in Shared Socio-economic Pathways (SSPs)
3.1. Category I Where SSP1/1-2.6 Runs Are Fully or Partly in Line with SDG Targets
3.1.1. SDG Targets 3.1–3.7, 3.9 on Decreasing Mortality and Access to Reproductive Services
3.1.2. SDG Targets 7.2 and 7.3 on Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency
3.1.3. SDG Targets 8.1, 8.2, 8.5 on Economic Growth and Unemployment
3.2. SDG Target 9.4 on CO2 Intensity
3.2.1. SDG Target 10.1 on Income Inequality
3.2.2. SDG Target 11.6 on Air Quality in Cities
3.2.3. SDG Target 15.2 on Halting Deforestation
3.2.4. SDG 13 on Climate Change
3.3. Category II Where SSP1/1-2.6 Runs Do Not Meet SDG Targets in 2030 (or Later) (Sustainability Gaps)
3.3.1. SDG Targets 1.1 and 1.2 on Absolute and Relative Poverty
3.3.2. SDG Target 2.1 on Undernourishment
3.3.3. SDG Target 4.1 on Universal Secondary Education
3.3.4. SDG Targets 4.3 and 4.5 on Education and Gender
3.4. Category III Wherenot Enough Quantitative Information is Available within the SSPs (Knowledge Gaps)
Conflicts of Interest
Appendix A. SDG Targets (Numeric)
Appendix A.1. SDG 1 End Poverty in All its Forms Everywhere
Appendix A.2. SDG 2 End Hunger, Achieve Food Security and Improved Nutrition and Promote Sustainable Agriculture
Appendix A.3. SDG 3 Ensure Healthy Lives and Promote Well-Being for All at All Ages
Appendix A.4. SDG 4 Ensure Inclusive and Equitable Quality Education and Promote lifelong Learning Opportunities for All
Appendix A.5. SDG 5 Achieve Gender Equality and Empower All Women and Girls
Appendix A.6. SDG 6 Ensure Availability and Sustainable Management of Water and Sanitation for All
Appendix A.7. SDG 7 Ensure Access to Affordable, Reliable, Sustainable and Modern Energy for All
Appendix A.8. SDG 8 Promote Sustained, Inclusive and Sustainable Economic Growth, Full and Productive Employment and Decent Work for All
Appendix A.9. SDG 9 Build Resilient Infrastructure, Promote Inclusive and Sustainable Industrialization and Foster Innovation
Appendix A.10. SDG 10 Reduce Inequality within and among Countries
Appendix A.11. SDG 11 Make Cities and Human Settlements Inclusive, Safe, Resilient and Sustainable
Appendix A.12. SDG 12 Ensure Sustainable Consumption and Production Patterns
Appendix A.13. SDG 13 Take Urgent Action to Combat Climate Change and Its Impacts4
Appendix A.14. SDG 14 Conserve and Sustainably Use the Oceans, Seas and Marine Resources for Sustainable Development
Appendix A.15. SDG 15 Protect, Restore and Promote Sustainable Use of Terrestrial Ecosystems, Sustainably Manage forests, Combat Desertification, and Halt and Reverse Land Degradation and Halt Biodiversity Loss
Appendix A.16. SDG 16 Promote Peaceful and Inclusive Societies for Sustainable Development, Provide Access to Justice for All and Build Effective, Accountable and Inclusive Institutions at All Levels
Appendix A.17. SDG 17 Strengthen the Means of Implementation and Revitalize the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Targets
SSP1 Narrative (O’Neill et al. 2017)
|SDG||SDG Target||SSP Indicator|
|Share of population living in relative poverty (below 60% of national median income) (%)|
Share of population living in relative poverty (below 60% of national median income) (%)
|Share of Population living at the risk of hunger (%)|
|Life expectancy (years)|
|Share of leaving cohort (15–19 years) with lower secondary education.|
Gender gap in mean years of schooling (population > 15 years)
Share of renewable energy in secondary energy
Energy intensity (MJ/US$)
|GDP per capita of LDCs (US$)|
Growth rate of GDP per capita (%)
Unemployment rate (%)
|CO2 intensity (MtCO2/billion US$)|
|Income gini coefficient across countries|
|Share of population living in areas exposed to levels of air pollution above WHO recommended levels of PM 2.5 (%)|
|12.1–12.8||partly covered by narrative|
|Global Temperature increase (°C). Paris Climate Goal of limiting global warming to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels|
Forest cover (ha)
|16.1–16.10||partly covered by narrative|
|17.1–17.19||partly covered by narrative|
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The World in 2050 (TWI2050) initiative: www.twi2050.org.
For each SDGs several numeric targets are provided. These are complemented by targets on ‘means of implication’, denoted in alphabetical order. Out of the total 169 SDG targets, we assess the 126 numeric targets, which define the quantitative or qualitative characteristics of the SDGs, and ignore the 43 targets dealing with means of implementation.
Acknowledging that the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is the primary international, intergovernmental forum for negotiating the global response to climate change.
|SDG Target Classification beyond 2030||Rationale||SDG Targets|
|A. Sustain 2030 SDG target levels||A. Future efforts have to focus on sustaining the SDG target levels. Most of these targets relate to universal access to services (e.g., health) or eradicating adverse conditions (e.g., illnesses).||1.1, 2.1, 2.2, 3.3, 3.8, 4.1, 5.1, 6.1, 6.2, 7.1, 8.7, 9.1, 10.3, 11.1, 11.2, 12.2, 14.4, 15.2, 16.2, 17.1 *|
|B. Increase ambition to close sustainability gap||B1. Further effort required to close remaining gap (e.g., protect cultural heritage).||1.2, 4.4 , 8.6, 9.3, 10.2, 10.3, 11.3, 11.4, 15.6, 16.1, 16.4|
|B2. Dynamic update required to ensure progress along target dimensions (e.g., maternal mortality, efficiencies).||1.5, 2.3, 3.1, 3.2, 3.4, 3.5, 3.6, 3.9, 7.3, 10.6, 11.5, 13.1, 13.2, 13.3, 16.5, 16.8|
|B3. Further effort required to stay within Planetary Boundaries (environmental & earth systems) (e.g., pollution).||6.3, 6.4, 7.2 , 8.4, 9.4, 11.4, 11.6, 12.3, 12.4, 12.5, 12.6, 12.7, 14.1, 14.2, 14.3, 14.5|
|C. 2030 SDG targets might not apply||C. Reevaluation required to decide on ambition level beyond 2030.||8.1, 8.2, 9.2, 10.1,|
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Zimm, C.; Sperling, F.; Busch, S. Identifying Sustainability and Knowledge Gaps in Socio-Economic Pathways Vis-à-Vis the Sustainable Development Goals. Economies 2018, 6, 20. https://doi.org/10.3390/economies6020020
Zimm C, Sperling F, Busch S. Identifying Sustainability and Knowledge Gaps in Socio-Economic Pathways Vis-à-Vis the Sustainable Development Goals. Economies. 2018; 6(2):20. https://doi.org/10.3390/economies6020020Chicago/Turabian Style
Zimm, Caroline, Frank Sperling, and Sebastian Busch. 2018. "Identifying Sustainability and Knowledge Gaps in Socio-Economic Pathways Vis-à-Vis the Sustainable Development Goals" Economies 6, no. 2: 20. https://doi.org/10.3390/economies6020020