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Ireland continues to lag on SDG progress after Budget 2020

The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), 169 targets and over 230 indicators are designed to refocus efforts towards policies that directly help people and communities in the long run. They aim to provide both a pathway out of poverty for about a billion people in the world, and a pathway to a sustainable future for all countries and peoples. 

A recent study published by Social Justice Ireland (Measuring Progress: Economy, Society and Environment in Ireland 2019) analysed the country’s performance on these indicators across the Economy, Environment and Society, and compares Ireland with our EU-15 peers.  Since the SDGs came into effect in January 2016, Ireland has performed in the bottom half of the EU-15 on a range of these goals.  In 2019, Ireland ranked 11th out of the EU-15 overall, and 13th on the Environmental Indicators.

All levels of Government have a role to play in progressing towards Ireland’s SDG targets.  To this end, we have also produced a briefing for Local Authorities and how they can support Ireland’s progress towards the Goals.

If Government is serious in making up for lost ground on our progress towards the SDGs, we need to see real political leadership on climate action, sustainability and inequalities.  Budget 2020 has made only moderate progress in this regard.  Our ODA allocation, while representing an increase of €20m on 2019 will not result in any significant improvement in terms of national income and moves us only marginally closer to the UN target of 0.70 per cent of national income by 2025.  Inequalities were left unaddressed, as the poorest households were disregarded in favour of businesses in Brexit plans.  Action on climate change was disappointing, particularly when it came to supporting rural Ireland to make a just transition irrespective of Brexit.  The SDGs aims to leave no one behind.  Budget 2020 reinforces Irelands position as a laggard.