In 2018, researchers at SEI together with the European Environment Agency (EEA) carried out a research project to identify and characterize critical interactions among the SDG targets that could be particularly relevant to environmental policy-makers in the European Union.

The project included the first regional-scale application of SDG Synergies, a practical analytical approach to better understand interactions and their potential policy implications in a given context. The analysis focused on three policy questions, and on interactions between eight targets from Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 12–15 and the other 13 SDGs:

• Which environmental targets have the greatest potential to foster progress on the broader 2030 Agenda in the EU?
• What direct trade-offs and synergies with other SDGs could result from progress on environmental targets in the EU?
• What are indirect effects, across the network of SDGs, of making progress on environmental targets in the EU?

The project was intended primarily as a proof of concept – of applying SDG Synergies at a regional level, and of its potential usefulness for environmental policy-makers in the EU. This project report presents learning from applying the approach at a regional level, along with selected findings.

The report was commissioned by the EEA.