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Discussion paper

The Relationship between the Sustainable Development Goals and the Living Standards Framework (DP 18/06)

Issue date: 
Thursday, 26 July 2018
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Executive summary

Those familiar with both the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Treasury’s Living Standards Framework (LSF) have often asked us what the relationship is between the two. This paper, drawing on work done by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), provides an answer to that question. While there are conceptual differences between the two – the SDGs are a set of policy goals, the LSF a framework for thinking about wellbeing – there is a large degree of overlap. This paper shows that each of the SDGs relate to an aspect of the LSF, while three of the LSF’s domains of wellbeing do not map well to an SDG (though even here, the flexible nature of the SDGs mean it would not be hard to adapt SDG reporting processes to include these areas). 


I would like to thank Marjan van den Belt, Carrie Exton and her colleagues at the OECD, Phillip Taula and his colleagues at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Denise Brown and her colleagues at Statistics New Zealand, participants at the 2018 New Zealand Association of Economics conference and the various people at the Treasury who provided me with helpful comments and ideas based on earlier drafts of this paper. Any remaining errors and omissions are my own and the views expressed here do not necessarily represent the views of the Treasury, the above helpful people, or the agencies and organisations that they work for.


This paper is one of a series of Discussion Papers on wellbeing in the Treasury’s Living Standards Framework (LSF). The papers on the Financial/Physical Capital, Resilience and Future Wellbeing, and the note on the role of culture in the LSF are all Discussion Papers. The Discussion Papers are not the Treasury’s position on measuring intergenerational wellbeing and its sustainability in New Zealand. Our intention is to encourage discussion on these topics.

There are marked differences in perspective between the papers that reflect differences in the subject matter as well as differences in the state of knowledge. The Treasury welcomes comments on these papers to help inform our ongoing development of the Living Standards Framework.

Last updated: 
Thursday, 26 July 2018