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Inequality and the SDGs: Synergies and Tradeoffs

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Lopez-Maldonado, Yolanda; Curry, Tracie; Rocha, Juan; Schill, Caroline
Conference: In Defense of the Commons: Challenges, Innovation and Action, the Seventeenth Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of the Commons
Location: Lima, Peru
Conf. Date: July 1-5
Date: 2019
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/10624
Sector: General & Multiple Resources
Subject(s): inequality
Abstract: "Countries around the world have committed to achieve 17 SDGs. Increasing inequality has become an urgent issue across both developed and developing economies and it has been considered one of the defining challenges of our time. A number of the so-called ‘planetary boundaries’ has been crossed, putting the planet at risk of detrimental environmental change. Managing SDGs is complex for policy-makers. The challenge is to know how SDGs interact, and which policy tools would be most effective to simultaneously meet the SDGs of the Agenda 2030. This session will examine SDGs synergies and tradeoffs, the role of inequalities therein, as well as examples of how to replicate and scale up or scale down emerging and innovative policy solutions to meet SDG challenges. We ask: How does inequality impact the achievement of SDGs at different scales? Which countries, if any, are simultaneously “prosperous, equal, and green”, and why? Does there exist a ‘trilemma’ inhibiting the simultaneous achievement of the three goals (the “triple bottom line”), and therefore sustainable development? If so, what are the respective tradeoffs, and how might these evolve over time? The concepts of “prosperous, equal, and green” encompass virtually SDGs 10, 2, 13, 14 and 15 (Reducing Inequality, Climate Action, Life Below Water and Life on Land), while considering SDGs 8, 9 (Decent Work and Economic Growth; Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure). While inequality is often considered as a statistical pattern in the distribution of observables, such as income or wealth at the national scale, perception of inequality and fairness tend to act at much lower scales (e.g. community). Yet, it remains unclear at which scales tradeoffs between inequality and other SDGs will emerge or need to be accounted for when dealing with, for example, problems of common-pool resource management."

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