Bulletin of Chinese Academy of Sciences (Chinese Version)


Big Earth Data, sustainable development goals (SDGs), synergy

Document Type

Strategy & Practice


The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are an important guide for different countries and regions to achieve sustainable economic, social, and environmental developments. They include 17 goals and 169 specific targets. The interactions among the goals can be manifested as synergy or trade-off; that is, implementing one or more goals may positively or negatively affect other goals. At present, important progress has been made in the monitoring and evaluation of individual goals. However, our understanding of the synergies and trade-offs among multiple SDGs is still limited. Firstly, this paper describes the current progress in the synergy and trade-offs of SDGs from three aspects:comprehensive analyses of all the SDGs, thematic analyses of few relevant SDGs, and the relationship of the specific indicators under certain SDG. Secondly, in view of the data bottleneck in the current studies, combined with the latest progress of the Big Earth Data, this paper showcases the typical scenarios of the Big Earth Data supporting studies of the synergy and trade-off of SDGs. Thirdly, the Big Earth Data's potential and future research prospects on the synergies and trade-offs of SDGs are proposed. This study shows that SDG synergy and trade-off analyses have experienced three stages:a semiquantitative evaluation based on expert knowledge, correlation analyses based on statistical data, and quantitative analyses based on the Big Earth Data. Different data sources from different countries could lead to varying results, and the Big Earth Data plays a vital role in promoting data consistency and transparency between countries. Therefore, it provides crucial support for the understanding of synergies and trade-offs of SDGs. The purpose of this study is to summarize the latest progress of synergy and trade-off studies of SDGs, which has received less attention in SDG-related research, and to support decision making for realizing the economic, environmental, and social goals together.

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Bulletin of Chinese Academy of Sciences

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