SDG 13- Climate Action

Posted on Friday, 26 August 2022
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The CSO have recently published their thirteenth SDG update, ‘Ireland's UN SDGs – Goal 13 Climate Action, 2021’. Sustainable Development Goal 13 (SDG 13) is about taking urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.



There are five targets which are to be reached by 2030 -  

13.1 Strengthen resilience and adaptive capacity to climate-related hazards and natural disasters in all countries.

13.2 Integrate climate change measures into national policies, strategies and planning.

13.3 Improve education, awareness-raising and human and institutional capacity on climate change mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction and early warning.

13.A Implement the commitment undertaken by developed-country parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to a goal of mobilising jointly $100 billion annually by 2020 from all sources to address the needs of developing countries in the context of meaningful mitigation actions and transparency on implementation and fully operationalise the Green Climate Fund through its capitalisation as soon as possible.

13.B Promote mechanisms for raising capacity for effective climate change-related planning and management in least developed countries and small island developing States, including focusing on women, youth and local and marginalised communities.


Goal 13 - Climate Action 

The establishment of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) has given national governments clear economic, social and environmental standards against which established policies should be judged and prospective policies should be measured.  The CSO publication for 'Goal 13 Climate Action' has eight SDG indicators which are divided into two sections: Climate and Strategy.


SDG 13.1.1 Number of deaths, missing persons and directly affected persons attributed to disasters per 100,000 population currently has no available national source.

SDG 13.1.2 Number of countries that adopt and implement national disaster risk reduction strategies in line with the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 currently has no available national source.

SDG 13.1.3 Proportion of local governments that adopt and implement local disaster risk reduction strategies in line with national disaster risk reduction strategies is published in the UN SDG Global Database.

SDG 13.2.1 Number of countries with nationally determined contributions, long-term strategies, national adaptation plans and adaptation communications, is reported to the secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

SDG 13.2.2 Total greenhouse gas emissions per year is published by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  Data for EU countries is published by the European Environment Agency (EEA).


SDG 13.3.1 Extent to which (i) Global citizenship education and (ii) Education for sustainable development are mainstreamed in (a) National education policies (b) Curricula (c) Teacher education and (d) Student assessment is provided by the Department of Education.

SDG 13.a.1 Amounts provided and mobilized in United States Dollars per year in relation to the continued existing collective mobilization Goal of the $100 billion commitment through to 2025 is provided by Eurostat.

SDG 13.b.1 Number of least developed countries and small island developing states with nationally determined contributions, long-term strategies, national adaptation plans and adaptation communications, as reported to the secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is available on the UNFCCC website. 

sdg 13


The report acknowledges gaps in the available data. Of the indicators with available data, the Reports notes that: 

  • 100% of Ireland's local governments adopt and implement local disaster risk reduction strategies.
  • Ireland's first statutory National Adaptation Framework (NAF) was published in 2018. This sets out the national strategy to reduce the vulnerability of the country to the negative effects of climate change and to avail of positive impacts.  
  • In 2021, Ireland’s GHG emissions were 61.53 Mt CO2eq, which was 4.7% higher than 2020. Ireland had the second highest emissions of greenhouse gases per capita in the EU in 2020, at 11.58 kt CO2 equivalent, behind Luxembourg at 14.38 kt CO2 equivalent. 


  • At a national level, the Second National Strategy on Education for Sustainable Development: ESD to 2030 is aligned with UNESCO’s Framework for ESD for 2030 setting out five key priority areas for action. 
  • Ireland's contribution to the International 100bn USD Commitment on Climate Related Expending was €89.2m in 2020, up from €70.2m in 2019. 
  • Eight countries in the category ‘least developed’ (LDCs) received specialised support through Ireland’s Official Development Assistance (ODA).
  • Ireland donated €3.5 million to support climate adaptation in developing countries in 2021.

Sustainable Progress Index

Social Justice Ireland published our Sustainable Progress Index for 2022 and states that fulfilling the promise to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and operationalising the Green Climate Fund, SDG13 integrates climate change mitigation and measures into strategies and policies to reduce the severity from the effects of climate related hazards and natural disasters. Climate mitigation, climate impacts, and climate initiatives that support climate action are the main focus of this goal in the EU context. Commenting on the EU’s progress on this SDG, Eurostat note that “[o]n the basis of the indicators used, the EU is not on track to meeting two of the three climate and energy targets monitored here, including the increased 2030 greenhouse gas emissions reduction target.”[1] However, it is also noted that “support to climate action is increasing in the EU, both in terms of climate related expenditure and the number of local and regional governments signing up to the Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy”.[1] Problems with data availability (for example, reliable and comprehensive measures of mitigation, impacts and initiatives) make this one of the SDGs that international agencies still find problematic when attempting to determine important trends. A key indicator used by Eurostat is GHG emissions. Ireland witnessed an increase in its GHG emissions from 1990 to 2001 and although these emissions have since fallen, they remain well above EU average. Our SDG measure here focuses on just 2 indicators: COemissions per capita indicator, and the carbon pricing score. Ireland is ranked 10th overall in the EU on this SDG.

Policy Proposals 

National Level 

  • Establish a Just Transition and Adaptation Dialogue to ensure rural areas are not disproportionately impacted by low carbon policies and are supported to meet the challenges posed by the future of work.
  • Develop a comprehensive mitigation and transition programme to transition to a low carbon economy.
  • Increase carbon taxes in line with IPCC recommendations.
  • Ensure that all people are treated fairly in the creation of policies and projects that address climate change as well as in the systems that create climate change.
  • Develop a comprehensive mitigation and transition programme to support communities and people in the transition to a low carbon society.
  • Set ambitious emissions reduction targets for 2030 and ensure sufficient resources to support implementation of these targets.

Local Level

  • Develop Climate Change Adaptation Strategies in each Local Authority area, with the collaborative input of local communities and Public Participation Networks, supported by dedicated sustainable funding in the medium to longterm.

[1] Eurostat. (2021). Sustainable Development in the European Union: Monitoring Report on Progress towards the SDGs in an EU context, 2021 edition, Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union.