Areas of Expertise

Sustainable development


Cameron Allen is an international sustainable development expert and PhD researcher at UNSW. Cameron has 15 years of experience working in sustainable development and interdisciplinary environmental management with previous positions with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in Geneva, the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) in New York, the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (UNESCWA) in Beirut, the Australian federal and NSW governments, WWF-International, and the Antarctic Treaty Secretariat. 

Cameron spent several years working with the United Nations on the development and implementation of the global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as well as the inclusive green economy. Until recently, Cameron worked as a manager with the Australian Bureau of Statistics supporting Australia’s engagement with international statistical committees and processes, as well as technical capacity building on statistics and the SDGs in the Indo-Pacific region.  Cameron previously worked as a manager and policy advisor with the Australian federal and state governments on issues ranging from climate change risk assessment and adaptation in the Pacific region, to biodiversity and natural resource management. Cameron holds a Master of Philosophy, Master of Environmental Management, Bachelor of Environmental Science, and Bachelor of Business (Economics). Cameron also speaks excellent Spanish and basic French and Arabic.


Cameron’s research interests are in the fields of sustainable development and the SDGs, integrated planning and policy coherence, advanced modelling and quantitative analysis, climate change and the food-energy-water nexus, and circular economy. Cameron’s PhD research focuses on implementation and follow-up to the SDGs and the 2030 Agenda in Australia and abroad.

The 17 goals and 169 targets of the SDGs were conceived as an ‘indivisible whole’ to guide national sustainable development planning. The integrated nature of the SDGs means that progress towards each target is linked through complex feedbacks to other targets, resulting in synergies and trade-offs. A science-informed analysis of these interactions can support more coherent and effective decision making and planning responses to the SDGs.  However, a comprehensive assessment of these interactions in different country contexts remains lacking.

Cameron’s research applies a range of different systems analysis methods and evidence-based approaches for exploring progress and interactions among the SDGs to improve understanding of SDG interlinkages, enhance policy coherence, and inform effective national planning responses. Practical methods and approaches applied in the research include semi-quantitative systems and network analysis through to advanced system dynamics modelling and national pathways analysis.

With both developed and developing countries now turning their attention to implementation of the SDGs, Cameron aims to fill a key knowledge gap and emerging area of research into integrated sustainable development planning and policy making.

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Primary Supervisor: Professor Graciela Metternicht

Secondary Supervisor: Associate Professor Tommy Wiedmann



Journal Articles

Allen, C, Metternicht, G., Wiedmann, T., Pedercini, M. (2019) Greater gains for Australia by tackling all SDGs but the last steps will be the most challenging. Nature Sustainability 2, 1041–1050 (2019)

Allen C, Reid M, Thwaites J, Glover R, and Kestin T (2019) Assessing national progress and priorities for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): experience from Australia, Sustainability Science,

Allen C, Metternicht G, and Wiedmann, T (2018) ‘Prioritising SDG targets: assessing baselines, gaps and interlinkages’, Sustainability Science, published online 4 July 2018,  

Allen C, Metternicht G, and Wiedmann, T (2018) ‘Initial progress in implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): a review of evidence from countries’, Sustainability Science, published online 8 May 2018,

Allen C, Nejdawi R, El-Baba J, Hamati K, Metternict G, Weidmann T (2017) ‘Indicator-based assessments of progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): a case study of the Arab region’, Sustainability Science, 12: 975-989,

Allen C, Metternicht G, Weidmann T (2017) ‘An iterative framework for national scenario modelling for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)’, Sustainable Development, Vol 25, Issue 5, October 2017,

Allen C, Metternicht G, Weidmann T (2016) ‘National pathways to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): a comparative review of scenario modelling tools’, Environmental Science and Policy, Vol 66, December 2016, pp199-207,


Allen C (2016) National pathways to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): a comparative review of scenario modelling tools, theses dissertation, UNSW Faculty of Science, Sydney, Australia,

Reports and Book Chapters

United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia and United Nations Environment Programme (2016) Arab Sustainable Development Report, United Nations, Beirut.

Allen C (forthcoming) ‘Chapter 1: Inclusive green economy and sustainable development’, in United Nations Environment Programme (Ed), The Inclusive Green Economy (Text Book).  


Organisational units