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SDGs

Nexus and SDGs // Resource Nexus Perspectives towards the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

By Raimund Bleischwitz, Catalina Spataru, Stacy D. VanDeveer, Michael Obersteiner, Ester van der Voet, Corey Johnson, Philip Andrews-Speed, Tim Boersma, Holger Hoff & Detlef P. van Vuuren. Debate around increasing demand for natural resources is often framed in terms of a ‘nexus’, which is perhaps at risk of becoming a buzz word. A nexus between what? Over what scales? And what are the consequences of such a nexus? This article analyses why readers should care about the nexus concept in relation to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We discuss a five-nodes definition and propose perspectives that may lead to a reload of climate policy with buy-in from supply-chain managers and resource-rich developing countries. Our research perspectives address modelling approaches and scenarios at the interface of bio-physical inputs and the human dimensions of security and governance.

The aims of this paper are to examine the nexus debate and to develop a research perspective on how a better understanding of resource interlinkages can be utilized to deliver the SDGs in an unprecedented integration. In doing so, we will discuss the ability of a nexus approach to assess critical interlinkages across five natural resource categories — water, energy, food, materials and land — along their value chains, and to enable sustainable resource use pathways, in particular with respect to the SDGs on food (SDG 2), water (SDG 6), energy (SDG 7), cities (SDG 11) production and consumption (SDG 12). The novel contribution is the clarification of nexus perspectives, in particular towards the SDGs, and the modelling of SDGs from a policy-relevant perspective.

From the authors viewpoint, the nexus concept should be applied in a flexible manner across multiple scales and does not offer a panacea. However, it will boost integration beyond what has been achieved  so far, and can help in achieving national and regional sustainable development goals, and promoting wellbeing, health and equity across space. It is our opinion that nexus research can be aligned with a public purpose, helping to overcome silo-thinking and reducing the risks of trade-offs across the SDGs.

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Nature Sustainability

Published

December 2018

In

Nature Sustainability Volume 1, pages737–743 (2018)

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