UN SDSN Senior Working Group for the Energy Transition: Six Transformations to Achieve the SDGs and Support for the European Green Deal


The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement call for deep transformations in every country that require complementary actions by governments, civil society, science, and business. While significant progress is being made on some goals, no country is currently on track towards achieving all SDGs. Says Professor Sachs, “the SDGs have become the world’s shared framework for sustainable development, but countries need more clarity on how to operationalize and track progress towards the 17 goals. Similarly, businesses, science, and civil society must support SDG achievement.”

In response, the paper “Six Transformations to Achieve the SDGs,” [1] published on 26 August 2019 in the journal Nature Sustainability, builds on the 2018 report of ‘The World in 2050 Project’ to propose an action agenda for implementing the SDGs. Written by Jeffrey D. Sachs (Columbia University), Guido Schmidt-Traub (Sustainable Development Solutions Network), Mariana Mazzucato (University College London), Dirk Messner (United Nations University), Nebojsa Nakicenovic (International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis), and Johan Rockström (Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research), the paper identifies the major interventions needed to achieve each SDG and groups them in six SDG Transformations.

Each Transformation identifies priority investments and regulatory challenges and calls for actions by well-defined parts of government working with business and civil society. Transformations may, therefore, be operationalized within the structures of government while respecting the strong interdependencies across the 17 SDGs. The paper also outlines an action agenda for science to provide the knowledge required for designing, implementing, and monitoring the SDG Transformations.

Additionally, the European Green Deal offers a regulatory framework that will guide the operations of governments, organizations and businesses in the European Union, incentivizing the use of the Paris Agreement and the SDGs as the basis for action. This makes SDSN’s Six Transformations a useful integrated policy framework from which European countries and businesses can work together to help Europe become the first carbon-neutral continent in the world by 2050. 


SDSN EU Green Deal Senior Working Group for the Energy Transition

This group will support the implementation of the European Green Deal (EGD) and facilitate the participation of national stakeholders and local experts through SDSN’s European networks to advise and provide support to the European Commission.  



  1. Prof. Phoebe Koundouri, Athens University of Economics and Business and President-Elect of the European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists 
  2. Prof. Jeffrey Sachs, Columbia University and Global Director of UN SDSN


Objectives of the Group:

1. Identify and promote, for each EU Member State, and for the EU as a whole, technological and policy pathways for Climate Change mitigation (decarbonization) and adaptation within and across EU Member States, for the implementation of the European Green Deal and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of UN Agenda 2030, supported by financial portfolios derived from the budget of (a) the European Green Deal, (b) the EU Multiannual Financial Framework, (c) the EU Recovery Plan

2. Provide strategic recommendations and mobilize experts for the ongoing implementation of the European Green Deal through SDSN networks.

3. Mobilize experts to “rethink policies for clean energy supply and climate adaptation projects, across the economy, industry, production and consumption, large-scale infrastructure, transport, food and agriculture, construction, taxation and social benefits”. 

4. Mobilize stakeholders in partnership with the SDSN European networks to guarantee local engagement and support for these policies. 


Find below the presentation.

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