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Government Press Release: Cross-government launch of new National Implementation Plan for the Sustainable Development Goals 2022-2024

5th October 2022

Taoiseach Micheál Martin, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar, Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan, and other members of government today launched the new National Implementation Plan for the Sustainable Development Goals 2022-2024.

The new plan sets out five strategic objectives and 51 actions, with 119 individual measures, to increase Ireland’s ambition and strengthen implementation structures to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The plan was developed in collaboration with all government departments and key stakeholders, and based on input from two public consultation processes held over the last year.

Agreed by all 193 United Nations Member States, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals represent the international community’s collective roadmap towards a safer, fairer, more prosperous and sustainable world. They provide an internationally-agreed framework to advance progress across the three dimensions of sustainable development — economic growth, social inclusion and the protection of the environment — while ensuring that no one is left behind.

The launch today reflects the whole-of-government approach Ireland has adopted to the implementation of the SDGs. Each Minister has specific responsibility for implementing individual SDG targets related to their Ministerial functions and the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications has responsibility for overseeing coherent implementation across government.

A key objective of the new National Implementation Plan is to embed the framework provided by the 2030 Agenda into the work of national and local government. This will ensure a coherent system-wide approach, and provide for greater dialogue and joined-up thinking between policy makers across sectors to meet the Goals.

The launch of the Plan today is complemented by the publication of an updated SDG Policy Map, which identifies the lead Department for each of the 169 SDG targets and maps the targets against national policies. 

Greater reporting mechanisms will also be put in place to monitor Ireland’s progress towards achieving the SDGs and this will inform Ireland’s Second Voluntary National Review, which will be presented at the United Nations High-Level Political Forum in July 2023. 

Sectoral Engagement

The new plan places a large emphasis on partnerships for the goals. This reflects the fact that the SDGs belong to us all, and the government will work in partnership with society to achieve these goals.

A new chapter in the Plan reflects the contributions of key stakeholder groups to the SDGs and identifies opportunities for greater partnerships. 22 case studies have been included in the Plan; these showcase valuable initiatives and examples of best practice projects and programmes being progressed by organisations and sectors across the country. The Plan sets out actions to establish new national stakeholder engagement mechanisms and the further development of existing mechanisms.

In recognition of the fact that the SDGs must be achieved for everyone, one key action under the Plan is to open a collaborative and inclusive dialogue to explore the concept of Leave No One Behind — a core commitment of Agenda 2030 — and what it means in an Irish context. This dialogue will begin at the next SDG National Stakeholder Forum on Wednesday, 7 December, in Croke Park.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin said:

“The launch of Ireland’s second National Implementation Plan for the Sustainable Development Goals comes at a crucial time. The global COVID-19 pandemic slowed progress across the world towards achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, with progress in some areas even going into reverse. Now is therefore the time to redouble our efforts, to achieve greater momentum, and to get things back on track.

“The Sustainable Development Goals are the agreed roadmap to a fairer, safer world. Through Ireland’s National Implementation Plan, we are playing our part in achieving that end, equipping ourselves to deliver the goals at a global level and here at home.”

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said:

“Ireland has made good progress on two of the goals: Decent Work and Economic Growth, and Responsible Consumption and Production. We have never had more people at work and female labour market participation has never been as high. We are introducing reforms to strengthen workers’ terms and conditions, gender pay gap reporting in the workplace, and legislation to enhance work-life balance. Irish businesses also know that customers expect their goods and services to be sustainable.

“Although the Irish economy is in good health, the nature of work is changing and we will need to help businesses and workers adapt. The twin transitions of digital and green, as well as greater automation, mean we can’t rest on our laurels. So, I have commissioned a new White Paper on Enterprise Policy to articulate what needs to be done differently to realise our aspirations for our economy in 2030 and beyond.”

Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan said:

“I very much welcome the launch of this new National Implementation Plan. Now is the time for us all to recommit to Agenda 2030 and accelerate action to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

“The Sustainable Development Goals offer us an important blueprint to respond to the current crises we are facing— at national and global level and to forge a more united and coherent way forward. One that leaves no one behind.

“The New National Implementation Plan sets out the steps needed to embed the key principles from the Sustainable Development Goals into the work of national and local government. This will ensure that there is better cooperation, understanding and partnership in the development of workable policies that enable all communities to thrive into the future.”

Minister for Education, Norma Foley said:

“Education is central to the success of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and my department is committed to ensuring that the targets, particularly those under SDG 4 — Quality Education — are achieved. Education for Sustainable Development – ESD to 2030 — will be a focus for The Department of Education, ensuring that our young learners and students have the knowledge, skills and competencies needed to promote sustainable development and to take action to ensure Agenda 2030 is realised.”

Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, RodericO’Gorman said:

“Gender equality is an important pillar of the work of my department. It is an important Sustainable Development Goal (Goal 5) but it also runs through all of the other goals as a basis for a truly equal society. I look forward to continuing to work towards gender equality in Ireland, through initiatives like the gender pay gap reporting and developments in family leaves.”

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue said:

Each of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) rely on healthier, more sustainable and equitable food systems. Ireland’s innovative 10-year agri-food strategy Food Vision 2030 was developed using a food systems approach which places sustainability in all its guises at its core. The Food Vision 2030 implementation plan aligns its missions and goals with specific SDG targets, putting food system transformation at the centre of the agri-food sector’s commitment to help realise the SDGs by 2030. A sustainable food sector is good for our farmers, our food producers, our consumers and our environment.”

Minister of State for Overseas Development and the Diaspora, Colm Brophy said:

“I am delighted to be part of the launch of the new National Implementation Plan today. Ireland played a significant role in the negotiation and adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals as the framework for the fight to end global poverty and inequality. Through our international development programme, we are working to support vulnerable countries to reach the Goals. The National Implementation Plan gives us the framework for the truly whole-of-government effort needed to make the SDGs a reality at home and abroad.”

Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform, Malcolm Noonan said:

“I welcome the launch of the new National Implementation Plan, which sets a clear pathway to achieve the targets. The Sustainable Development Goals belong to all of us, and it is vital that we embed their principles in all that we do, both at a national and local government level.

“The Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage has a key role to play in this regard. Healthy nature underpins the SDGs and we are working across our department to address the biodiversity emergency — on land and in the sky, in our rivers, lakes and groundwaters, and in our marine environment.

“My top priorities include the development of stronger, more ambitious policies and legislation, such as the new River Basin Management Plan, the new National Biodiversity Action Plan and new legislation for Marine Protected Areas, all of which are currently in progress and, once implemented, will support our national effort to protect and restore the natural world that our society and economy depend on.”

Minister of State for Public Procurement and eGovernment, Ossian Smyth said:

“The Sustainable Development Goals offer us a unifying and shared framework to work towards at local, national and international levels. I welcome the launch of Ireland’s new National Implementation Plan today, which sets out the steps to embed this important framework into the work of all government departments and local authorities.

“The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform will continue to play a key role in progressing a number of SDGs. The Department has in recent years introduced green budgeting, equality budgeting and well-being budgeting, and this work will be critical to integrating the framework provided by the SDGs into the budgetary process.”

Minister of State for Public Health, Well Being and National Drugs Strategy, Frank Feighan said:

“The health objectives in the SDGs are a global reflection of this government’s health objectives. The measures we recently announced promoting access to GPs, expanded health care for children and access to contraception, are very much in line with the targets of the SDGs. Indeed, the policies of Sláintecare and of Healthy Ireland completely echo the overarching goals of SDG 3 — Good Health and Wellbeing. This Implementation Plan will help us deliver on both our international commitments and our domestic policy objectives.”

Minister of State at the Department of Finance, Seán Fleming, stated:

“I believe that the National Implementation Plan will strengthen Ireland’s capacity to progress the Sustainable Development Goals and deliver on the vison and ambition of Agenda 2030. This Plan is an important addition to our toolkit.

“I am pleased that the Plan places a strong emphasis on the importance of the contribution of partnerships. The Sustainable Development Goals targets are ambitious and achieving these will require a diverse range of stakeholders working together. In promoting the engagement of organisations, institutions and sectors, both regional and national, this Implementation Plan will increase the potential to achieve these targets and the resilience of success.”

Notes to the Editor

‘Transforming Our World’: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

On 25 September 2015, ‘Transforming Our World’: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development was adopted at the United Nations. Ireland co-led the 2030 Agenda negotiations alongside Kenya. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which aim to “end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity”, are an integral part of the 2030 Agenda.

The SDGs cover the three dimensions of sustainable development: economic growth, social inclusion and protection of the environment. They are universal in application and aim to address poverty, hunger and food systems, health, education, gender equality, clean water and sanitation, energy,

economic growth, decent jobs, industrialisation, inequalities, cities and human settlements, sustainable consumption and production, climate change, oceans, ecosystems and peace and justice.

The 2030 Agenda is voluntary and not legally binding, but every country has agreed to implement the SDGs and every country is expected to develop a national framework setting out how they will be achieved.

Ireland’s approach to implementation of the SDGs

Ireland has adopted a whole-of-government approach to SDG implementation, with overall political oversight provided through the Cabinet. The Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications has responsibility for promoting the SDGs, and for overseeing their coherent implementation across government.

The new plan sets out Ireland’s SDG governance and implementation strategy for 2022-2024 and is the second in a series of consecutive Implementation Plans, each building on the previous iteration, to work towards achieving the SDGs. The plans set out the overarching national governance, coordination and monitoring framework for the SDGs. The detailed policy approaches to progress individual SDGs and targets are addressed in relevant national policies as set out in the SDG Policy Map.

Ireland’s first SDG National Implementation Plan was published in 2018. The new plan aims to build on the structures and mechanisms from the first plan and to develop and integrate additional approaches in areas identified through review and consultation as requiring further action.

Two public consultation processes were held during the development of the Plan. The first was held over the summer of 2021 and reached over 5,000 individuals. The actions set out in the Plan were developed in direct response to the input received. A final round of consultation was subsequently launched in May 2022 to provide an opportunity for feedback on the draft plan. The SDG National Stakeholder Forum was also relaunched and a meeting held on 2 June 2022 to provide an additional mechanism for input.

Two supporting documents will be published and made available on in tandem with the Plan’s launch, including:

  1. Policy Map 2022 — An updated SDG policy map has been developed to accompany the publication of the NIP. The SDG Policy Map identifies lead Departments for each of the 17 Goals and 169 targets, maps all SDG targets against national policies and identifies contact details for each relevant policy area
  2. Policy update on Ireland’s Implementation of SDG targets — this is a new and comprehensive document to centrally capture government initiatives being taken which progress the SDGs. It provides an update from all government departments on the policies, actions and initiatives being undertaken to progress each of the 169 SDG targets. It is intended that this document be updated annually and be complemented by annual CSO statistical progress reports for the SDGs.
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