Integrating SDGs in environmental assessment: Unfolding SDG functions in emerging practices

Emilia Ravn Boess, Lone Kørnøv, Ivar Lyhne, Maria do Rosario Partidário

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24 Citations (Scopus)
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Debates concerning the relation between Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and environmental assessment (EA) have long suggested their integration in some form. The purpose of this paper is to go beyond conceptual debates to explore practices of environmental impact assessment and strategic environmental assessment in terms of how they change in response to the Agenda 2030. A thorough web search for EA reports integrating SDGs resulted in 45 cases from five continents, which were then analyzed using a framework on levels of integration to examine and reflect on practice. The results show that in the majority of reports, SDGs are merely mentioned with no further function, that there is a trend towards focusing on positive impacts and that there is a high variation in how contributions to SDGs are assessed and displayed. The paper concludes by identifying key directions for further research, such as ways to further understand practices and to close the gap between theoretical considerations and EA practice.
Original languageEnglish
Article number106632
JournalEnvironmental Impact Assessment Review
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • SDGs
  • Sustainable Development Goals
  • Integration
  • Practice
  • EIA
  • SEA


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