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Relationship with environment is central to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals

Understanding the way humans interact with the environment is crucial to achieving the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) according to a new report.

The new analysis, conducted by researchers from the Sussex Sustainability Research Programme at the University of Sussex and the UN Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC), confirms that specific environment-human interactions underpin each of the SDGs individually, and that we need to understand how these interactions apply across them if we are ever to achieve them.

The report, Global Goals Mapping: The Environment-human Landscape, is the first to be commissioned by the Towards a Sustainable Earth (TaSE) initiative, a partnership between Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), The Rockefeller Foundation and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).

The report identified that the resilience of our ecosystems, the security of natural resources and the stability of Earths life-support systems are essential for human response and adaptation to the global changes we face, and for sustainable development.The report draws on research evidence and innovation relating to environment-human interactions published in the past 10 years to explore the specific relevance of these interactions for each individual SDG and for the relationships among Goals. It highlights 20 connections among SDGs where human-environment interactions are likely to be most critical to achieving the SDGs.

The two lead authors, Professor Jörn Scharlemann from the University of Sussex and Dr Valerie Kapos from UNEP-WCMC, said: "By taking account of recent progress and identifying outstanding gaps in research and innovation, this report should enable Towards a Sustainable Earth to target its support effectively and provide advances that help achieve the Global Goals."

By: Fiona Hurd
Last updated: Wednesday, 19 July 2017