The indivisibility principle of the 2030 Agenda is considered key for the implementation of policies in pursuit of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Therefore, science is not only asked to develop new methods for assessing SDG target interactions but also to translate findings of methodological insights into policy advice for easy take-up by policymakers. The present paper demonstrates how to adopt the multi-criteria analysis technique Analytic Network Process (ANP) for prioritizing SDG targets in considering all positive and possible indirect SDG target interactions at once. The application of the ANP is linked to a multi-method setting embracing positive scores derived from the analytical methods Nilsson-scale, a cross-impact matrix, and network analysis techniques. This supports the prioritization of SDG targets when considering n-order neighbours in a network with respect to their synergies. The ANP allows evaluating the synergistic potential and progress controllability of SDG target rankings calculated by CI-matrix metrics and thus provides conclusions on the importance of n-order interactions of SDG targets in a network for the final ranking. We showed that the application of a combination of different analytical methods improves the overall quality of the formulated policy advice regarding its scope and methodological profoundness. In this context, we compared the analytical methods involved with respect to their ability to formulate policy advice and finally presented a framing how to translate methodological results into concrete and applicable policy advice.
Toth, W., Vacik, H., Pülzl, H. et al. Deepening our understanding of which policy advice to expect from prioritizing SDG targets: introducing the Analytic Network Process in a multi-method setting. Sustain Sci (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11625-021-01009-7