Food, water, energy and land are the main areas of concern where human development and the environment meet and where inclusive and green growth development strategies are most urgently required to ensure the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. In this section, we look at challenges in these areas, and concrete solutions to address them.

The 2030 Agenda emphasises that solutions to issues in relation to food, water, energy and land should not be considered in isolation, but by capturing synergies between the various demands for natural resources while managing trade-offs. The interrelated nature of these areas of concern is referred to as the environmental nexus. Several infographics in this section focus on Sub-Saharan Africa, as, in this strongly urbanising region, ending hunger and ensuring modern energy for all is most urgent, while also many other future challenges converge here.

Achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through Inclusive Green Growth (GG)

Steps involved in achieveing SDGs via GG

The interrelated nature of these areas of concern is referred to as the environmental nexus. Several infographics in this section focus on Sub-Saharan Africa, as, in this strongly urbanising region, ending hunger and ensuring modern energy for all is most urgent, while also many other future challenges converge here.

Sustainable development implies that growth is both inclusive and green. Economic growth is essential for the alleviation of poverty. Climate change, ecosystem degradation, resource depletion and biodiversity loss illustrate that current economic growth is not green. Nor is it always inclusive; persistent poverty and inequality in countries with fast growing economies are the very example that economic growth alone is not enough. The poor tend to benefit the least from economic growth, due to unequal access to assets, opportunities and decision-making processes. Distributing the benefits of economic growth thus often requires institutional change.

Stimulating Inclusive Green Growth requires that the market and governance failures underlying current non-inclusive and non-green growth pathways are adequately addressed. This implies attention for the factors causing the poorest to be excluded from economic development, and those causing the degradation and depletion of natural capital, including unregulated use of the commons, under appreciation of the value of ecosystems and ignorance of the future benefits of natural capital use.

There is a growing body of evidence of interventions that work. Often, such interventions focus either on better representation and inclusiveness, or on improved efficiency of resource use and conservation. Attention for both, including the possible trade-offs that may arise between growth, green growth and inclusive growth objectives, is required for attaining the Sustainable Development Goals.