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The freedom accorded to governments on how to achieve the ambitious and holistic 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development raises the critical issue of how countries should adapt the Sustainable Development Goals at the national level. This paper presents an analytical framework that merges methods from complexity science with economic analyses to address this issue of adaptation. The proposed framework 1) highlights the interlinkages, including complementarities, synergies and trade-offs across different Goals, 2) measures the country’s capacities to achieve the Goals, and 3) identifies optimal pathways for progress towards sustainable development. Using Bangladesh, Kazakhstan, and Fiji as examples, the derived pathways for progress are seen to align well with traditional development theory. However, the paths are reflective of the specific circumstances of each country, which in turn dictates their development paths. Overall, the framework provides a guidebook that may inform national deliberations on the adaptation by proposing pathways for progress that take into account interdependencies across different sectors as well as countries’ unique circumstances.

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