EGU21-8764, updated on 04 Mar 2021
EGU General Assembly 2021
© Author(s) 2021. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

A framework for the Integrated Assessment of SDG trade-offs in the Sundarbans Biosphere Reserve.

Charlotte Marcinko1, Robert Nicholls2, Tim Daw3, Sugata Hazra4, Craig Hutton5, Chris Hill5, Derek Clarke1, Andy Harfoot5, Oindrila Basu4, Isha Das4, Sandip Giri4, Sudipa Pal4, and Partho Mondal4
Charlotte Marcinko et al.
  • 1University of Southampton, Faculty of Engineering and the Environment, Civil, Maritime and Environmental Engineering Department (CMEE), Southampton, United Kingdom of Great Britain – England, Scotland, Wales (
  • 2Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, UEA, UK
  • 3Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm University, SE-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden;
  • 4School of Oceanographic Studies, Jadavpur University. 188, Raja S.C. Mallik Road, Jadavpur, Kolkata- 700032, India;
  • 5School of Geography and Environmental Sciences, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK SO17 1BJ;

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and their corresponding targets are significantly interconnected, with many interactions, synergies and trade-offs between individual goals across multiple temporal and spatial scales.  We propose a framework for the Integrated Assessment Modelling (IAM) of a complex deltaic socio-ecological system in order to analyse such SDG interactions. We focus on the Sundarbans Biosphere Reserve (SBR), India within the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna Delta. It is densely populated with 4.4 million people (2011), high levels of poverty and a strong dependence on rural livelihoods. It is only 50 km from the growing megacity of Kolkata (about 15 million people in 2020). The area also includes the Indian portion of the world’s largest mangrove forest – the Sundarbans – hosting the iconic Bengal Tiger. Like all deltaic systems, this area is subject to multiple drivers of environmental change operating across different scales. The IAM framework is designed to investigate current and future trends in socio-environmental change and explore associated policy impacts, considering a broad range of sub-thematic SDG indicators. Integration is achieved through the soft coupling of multiple sub-models, knowledge and data of relevant environmental and socio-economic processes.  The following elements are explicitly considered: (1) agriculture; (2) aquaculture; (3) mangroves; (4) fisheries; and (5) multidimensional poverty. Key questions that can be addressed include the implications of changing monsoon patterns, trade-offs between agriculture and aquaculture, or the future of the Sundarbans mangroves under sea-level rise and different management strategies, including trade-offs with land use to the north.  The novel high-resolution analysis of SDG interactions allowed by the IAM will provide stakeholders and policy makers the opportunity to prioritize and explore the SDG targets that are most relevant to the SBR and provide a foundation for further integrated analysis.

How to cite: Marcinko, C., Nicholls, R., Daw, T., Hazra, S., Hutton, C., Hill, C., Clarke, D., Harfoot, A., Basu, O., Das, I., Giri, S., Pal, S., and Mondal, P.: A framework for the Integrated Assessment of SDG trade-offs in the Sundarbans Biosphere Reserve., EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-8764,, 2021.

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