On September 18 th , 2023, An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar spoke at the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Summit. In his speech he noted that “The 17 Sustainable Development Goals are an urgent and universal call to action; to end poverty, to protect the planet, and to improve the lives and prospects of everyone, everywhere… and yet, at this midpoint, we know that only about 15 per cent of our targets are being met.”
Later on, he stated that “As the Political Declaration states, the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs, represent our best hope for humanity and the planet.
In it, we, the world’s Leaders, commit ourselves to bold, accelerated, just and transformative actions. Actions anchored in international solidarity and effective cooperation, to create a sustainable future for all.”
An Taoiseach’s speech is linked here .
On May 9 th , 2023, Coalition 2030 published “ Furthest Behind First, or Falling Behind Further?” (linked here)
In the opening paragraph of the executive summary of this report “ Coalition 2030 argues via this document that, although the State has been an influential advocate for the SDGs internationally, commitment and progress domestically is less apparent, and that this is most evident in how the State is failing to reach those who are in most need of the State’s support; the furthest behind.”
In the conclusion, they state that “The worsening of poverty rates, the destruction of the biosphere, and the continued marginalisation of certain groups is clearly never the intention of policy makers. Nevertheless, these are outcomes that are a result of policy choices, and are more likely to occur when policy decisions are not guided by principles such as sustainable development and human rights as provided for by the SDG framework.”
This report contains five recommendations:
- Lead from the Top
Amongst the four calls here is one to Move the SDG Unit to the Department of An Taoiseach : currently responsibility for the SDGs rests with the Department of Environment, Climate and Communications
- Budget for the SDGs
Amongst the three calls under this heading is one to “ Create a 10 year policy programme on the funding and implementation of the SDGs, signed by all political parties both in Government and in opposition to ensure long-term commitment. This should include a review and re-commitment after 5 years.”
- SDG-proof policy
Amongst the three calls under this heading is one to “ Create a national SDG Policy Impact Measurement Framework. This should include set criteria for all future regional and national policy in relation to the implementation and reporting of the SDGs.”
- Measure what matters
Amongst the four calls under this heading is one to “ Resource the CSO to collect relevant, disaggregated, and timely data which would inform policies to reach the furthest behind first. This data should be published regularly.” And as part of another call: “the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC) should be adequately resourced to engage with questions of SDGs/human rights alignment.”
- Establish a Future Generations Commissioner
On their website (linked here) Coalition 2030 also note that “There are a number of publications that assess how Ireland is doing in terms of achieving the SDGs. Not all use the same indicators and so arrive at different conclusions.” And they advise that people “use the various publications as well as your own experience to assess how you think Ireland is doing on achieving the SDGs.”
In the INOU E-bulletin Issue 47 there is a description of the Sustainable Development Goals, highlighting some of the key ones for the INOU, this article is linked here .