Global Goals - An Interconnected Agenda


To succeed in reaching the Global Goals by 2030, all Goals must be achieved together. The Goals are indivisible, highly integrated and entangled in each other. To put it simply: it’s all connected. But how do the Goals relate to each other and how can we work to reach them in the most effective way?


During the course of 2018, we worked closely with SEI to create a visual language that can show the connections and interactions between the 169 targets. To say the least, this proved a far from straight-forward design process.


The interactions in this study make up more than just a quantitative result. Knowledge of how the targets impact and interact with each other is key to understanding how we can reach them together. This project brings clarity and life to the study and makes it easier to act to reach the Goals by 2030.

How it works

The premise of the SEI framework is that as the Goals and targets are interdependent, we cannot act to achieve one without at the same time have an impact on others. Achieving some of the targets would reinforce others, while some achievements would actually limit the progress of another.

SEI have assessed and explored the impact that acting on one target has on another target using a 7-point scale; from -3 - meaning that achieving the first target makes it impossible to reach the second target - to +3 - meaning that achieving the first target is indivisible from achieving the other one.

The Circle

In the circular visualization above, each slice contains how the respective targets are INFLUENCED, while the rings in the circle displays how each target INFLUENCE the slices. The number of negative and positive interactions for each target are displayed in the bar chart in the top left, with the total SUM highlighted in the center.

For example, actions to achieve target 3.4 has a relatively small impact on other targets, influencing only four other targets +1. At the same time, achieving target 17.11 would influence a few other targets positively, but has a negative impact on the system as a whole (-9).

The Matrix

The matrix below works by the same logic. The horizontal rows display how the targets INFLUENCE the other targets (read from left to right), while the vertical columns display how the targets are INFLUENCED (read from top to bottom).


The illustrations below show the 7-point scale as well as two individual target interactions (Achieving target 12.5, Substantially Reduce Waste Generation, is indivisible from achieving target 15.5, Protect Biodiversity and Natural Habitats. And achieving target 7.2, Increase Global Percentage of Renewable Energy will limit the progress of achieving target 6.6, Protect and Restore Water-Related Ecosystems).


The complex nature of the framework may have made it hard to visualize it in a small and simple illustration. But at the same time it works wonderfully as an interactive and imaginative visual poster. Below are two versions of it.