Implementing the SDGs Responding to the Challenges of Interconnectivity and Balance
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) present two challenges for integrated planning and implementation at the national level. One is that policies and plans need to identify and accommodate interconnectivities amongst the SDGs. Second is the need to balance the three dimensions: economic growth, social inclusion and environmental protection. This paper uses network analysis to explore interconnectivity and balance of the Sri Lankan policies or plans in relation to SDG 7, that advocates clean energy security. The findings suggest that the selected policies or plans are not only clearly linked to SDG 7, but also shows strong connectivity to SDG 1 (poverty), 10 (inequality), 11 (cities) and 12 (sustainable consumption and production) as well as other SDGs. This emphasises the need to recognise sectoral cross links for an integrated plan. In terms of balance there is a skew towards the environmental dimension over the economic and social dimensions. There are also conflicts between the environmental and economic dimensions that need to be acknowledged and reconciled, while more focus is needed to meet the objective of energy for all. Lastly the paper shows that network analysis can assist policymakers and planners to move towards building an integrated approach to develop sustainable policies and plans.
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