This IIED briefing paper advocates for using a ‘complex systems’ lens to approach the follow-up and review of the Sustainable Development Goals and discusses five key aspects of this perspective and their implications for national evaluation agendas. This is the third in a collection of briefings discussing the role of evaluation in achieving the SDGs. Read the first and the second paper in this series.
This briefing paper from IIED argues that, if the world is going to make significant progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, development actors will need to think and work in new ways, including in evaluation and that complex systems-informed approaches can make a major contribution.With reference to SDG14 (life below water), this briefing offers two examples: (i) exploring interactions between SDG targets, and (ii) shifting attention from projects and programmes to systems. Such approaches can help all development actors — including monitoring, evaluation and learning specialists — to create boundary-spanning development and evaluation plans, identify leverage points, priorities and trade-offs, and reveal new ways to accelerate progress.