Intersectionality is critical to sustainable development, and is a major theme behind many recent changes in the development field. The Sustainable Development Goals for example incorporate a wide range of intersecting identities, such as women and girls, persons with disabilities, youth, etc. The fact the Sustainable Development Goals take into account such a wide range of identities, and ways of being, as having an impact on development makes the SDGs more likely to succeed in the long term. The Sustainable Development Goals also serve as an example for governments, private sector actors, charities, NGOs, etc. as to how intersecting identities can be incorporated into development policies more fully.

The intersectionality found in the Sustainable Development Goals tracks closely with moves toward multistakeholder governance and engagement in development. Just as engagement and involvement with multiple groups is critical to inclusive development, so too is the realization that an individual can be part of multiple identity groups simultaneously. Additionally, the Sustainable Development Goals reflect intersectionality in that they cover such a diverse, intersecting range of development issues. This reflects the fact things like climate change, urban conditions, and consumption patterns can all play a role in development. Covering these diverse, intersecting development issues also acknowledges their level of importance along side more traditional development issues such as poverty reduction and education.

A broad view of intersectionality leads to the insight that not only do identities combine to influence the development of individuals and groups, but larger issues like climate change and gender inequality also intersect to make development all the more difficult. Intersectionality also shows the importance of having a broad range of stakeholders involved in decision-making, as policies can have widely different consequences depending on the ways identities intersect. We are also led to see the importance of involving groups beyond state actors and markets in the development process, as the intersectionalities of different groups make different actors more or less able to help in the development process.