Global challenges such as climate change and the eradication of hunger are closely interwoven. That is why the 2030 Agenda attaches great importance to ensuring that the social, economic and ecological dimensions of sustainability go hand-in-hand and are not weighed against each other. The integrated approach principle also characterises the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. They are indivisible and cannot be seen in isolation but only as a whole. There are many links between the 17 SDGs and the 169 targets. Working to achieve the targets should build on positive synergies. It is also important to keep an eye on trade-offs, for example between climate action and economic growth. No target must be pursued at the expense of another.
International cooperation therefore needs new overarching approaches that promote collaboration across diverse policy areas. One example that highlights the indivisibility of the goals is the trend towards living in large, modern urban centres. In Mexico, around 80 per cent of the population will live in cities by the year 2030. Sustainable transport systems, residential and natural areas and energy supply must be planned in an integrated manner. That will not just enhance the quality of life but ensure that the city remains attractive as a business location. On behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation, GIZ has advised various Mexican cities on how to establish low-emission areas in their inner cities that are tailored to their needs. The project involves the municipalities and private sector and civil society representatives. Measures included improved street planning, waste recycling and the introduction of a bicycle sharing scheme. The measures reduce air pollution in the inner cities, thereby reducing risks to people’s health while preserving the economic importance of urban areas.