Overcoming Incoherence in implementing the Paris Climate Agreement and the 2030 Agenda

The project focuses on national level cases, as this is the most critical level of governance in the implementation of climate and sustainability goals. However, attention must also be given to transnational and international linkages. A comparative research approach of up to ten countries (inter alia Germany, Sweden, Kenya, South Africa, Philippines, and Sri Lanka) allows a better understanding and overview of a diversity of conditions regarding e.g. income level, climate vulnerability and energy transition challenges. The project aims to develop actionable knowledge of specific relevance to the selected countries, as well as to contribute to international best practices. In this endeavor, the project will actively engage and invite international institutions and stakeholders to provide input as well as to benefit from research outcomes.


Within the scope of the project, the aim is to build an inclusive, diverse, and interdisciplinary international consortium of partners that will develop a longer term research programme.

Project Lead:
Sander Chan

Åsa Persson (SEI) 

Project Team:
Ramona Hägele
Gabriela Iacobuta
Hannah Janetschek


Time frame:
2019 - 2019 / completed

Co-operation Partner:

Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) and Linköping University (Liu)

Project description

Only eleven years remain to achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Yet, no country is on track to meet all SDGs. Similarly, countries are not on track to achieve a transformation towards low-carbon and climate-resilient societies as envisioned in the Paris Agreement. In order to increase ambition in NDCs and their implementation, climate action must not be undermined by efforts to achieve the SDGs, or vice versa. Tools and inspiration are needed to realize synergies between climate action and SDGs, but also a good understanding of the barriers on the ground. Typically, these barriers are ingrained in political institutions and systems.

This research initiative will map out the most critical goal conflicts and sources of policy incoherence, and the untapped synergies, with respect to national climate action and broader sustainability planning. Through extensive engagement with policy-makers and stakeholders, it will co-create actionable knowledge on overcoming incoherence. The project will build on DIE experience in developing tools that facilitate the identification of synergies and improve coherence, such as the NDC-SDG Connections tool.

The thematic focus lies on conflicts and synergies between climate (SDG 13) and three sustainable development areas:
• The food-water-energy-land nexus (SDGs 2, 6, 7 and 15);
• Economic growth and responsible consumption and production (SDGs 8, 9, 12);
• Poverty and inequality (SDGs 1, 5, 10)


Project Coordination

Alexander Knabe