Avoidance of conflicts and trade-offs: A challenge for the policy integration of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

Yee (Ryan) Wong, Jeroen van der Heijden

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    The United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) agenda compels nations to face challenges, especially interministerial conflicts, in policy integration. This article seeks to understand whether and how conflict avoidance may hamper the implementation of the SDG agenda. Building on 56 interviews with policymakers and bureaucrats in Finland, Germany, and the Czech Republic, we explore how avoidance behaviours preclude the conflicts that are necessary for achieving integration. The findings suggest that avoided conflicts tend to be long]standing issues related to environmental protection. We identify four factors that contribute to conflict avoidance: The issues for deliberation are too political, the actors know too little or too much about the issues, the deliberation is too abstract, and the bar for consensus is too high. These factors filter out many impactful conflicts for deliberation, which partly explains why integration regimes have not produced transformational changes.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)838-845
    JournalSustainable Development
    Volume27
    Issue number5
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2019

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