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Editor's Note: SDG Knowledge to Act 

Issue #274 | 18 December 2017

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By: Lynn Wagner, Ph.D., Group Director, SDG Knowledge, IISD <>

As the calendar year draws to a close and we reflect on what we accomplished in 2017, and what is to come in 2018, IISD's focus on providing "The Knowledge to Act" sums up a key focus for the SDG Knowledge Hub.

The SDG Knowledge Hub, which is the knowledgebase from which the stories in Linkages Update are drawn, provides readers with information about how to implement the SDGs, who is implementing them and how well they are implementing them. Each of these areas provides an impetus to take action, and the knowledge required to do so.

Toolkits to help countries integrate biodiversity into development policies and planning strategies, to help financial institutions scale-up deployment of capital for energy efficiency, and to analyze SDG linkages are among the “how to” information that we cataloged in the SDG Knowledge Hub during 2017. Policy recommendations that can foster SDG implementation are another element highlighted in our news stories. For example, this issue of Linkages Update includes a story on the Global Women’s Leadership Initiative Index, which explores the relationships and trends among pathways, positions and power held by women across different sectors of government, with a focus on understanding correlations between different decisions, policies and other variables, and how those decisions affect how much power women hold in public office.

Information regarding which actors are taking action, and which actions they are taking, is essential for readers to prod elected officials to represent their constituencies’ needs, and to understand where gaps may exist. In this regard, the SDG Knowledge Hub covers the actions within the UN system extensively, but also highlights key movers in civil society, the private sector and academia. This issue of Linkages Update, for example, includes stories about HSBC issuing the world’s first SDG bond, and Royal Dutch Shell announcing that it will halve its carbon footprint by 2050.

The SDG indicators, which will be used to measure implementation, are central to monitoring and evaluation processes that will ensure we are moving in the right direction, and moving quickly, as we approach 2030. Our news story on recent efforts by UN agencies to analyze country contributions of data on SDG 6 (clean water and sanitation) for the 2018 session of the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), alerts readers to this ongoing global assessment. Likewise, the ‘Global Soil Organic Carbon Map,’ which the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) released to mark World Soil Day, illustrates the amount of soil organic carbon stock in the first 30 cm of soil, and contributes to assessments of progress related to SDG 15 (life on land).

According to our reader survey, the stories in the SDG Knowledge Hub provide knowledge that is needed to take action. Approximately two-thirds of respondents indicated that the SDG Knowledge Hub contributes “quite a lot” or “very much” to engagement in the 2030 Agenda and SDG implementation, as well as to the accountability of sustainable development decision makers. We hope that this issue of Linkages Update will help you to find the knowledge you need to take action to promote the implementation of the SDGs during 2018.