The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set a vision for a more sustainable world, to be realized by 2030. Progress to date is insufficient and implementation challenges are many, including the need for strategies that maximize synergies and mitigate trade-offs and conflicts among the goals. This scoping review synthesizes 51 recent scientific articles on interlinkages, with findings that can help decision-makers address this challenge.

This paper identifies recurring patterns of SDG interlinkages, including SDGs that promote other SDGs (e.g., SDGs 4, 6, and 17) and those at risk due to negative impacts from progress in other areas (e.g., SDGs 14 and 15). Such patterns can inform national and local implementation.

Further research is needed to clarify the systemic roles of some SDGs (e.g., SDGs 10–12), understand causal relationships, and assess policy options. The paper makes six recommendations for science to make interlinkage knowledge more accessible and for decision-makers to systematically use this knowledge.