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The growing humanitarian challenges and their implications for long-term sustainable development will be a cross-cutting theme of the World Humanitarian Summit, and are already at the forefront of daily politics in much of the world. This paper frames the key issues around the humanitarian-development divide, in preparation for the SDSN side event“Making the SDGs work for Humanitarian Needs” that will bring together high-level actors from both fields. The paper reviews the opportunities and challenges of linking and integrating the humanitarian and development agendas under the SDGs, and how the SDGs could become the shared framework for both development and humanitarian action.