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Ireland Ranks 11th out of 15 countries on UN Sustainable Development Goals

The index publication comes in the same week as UN World Social Justice Day and is a timely reminder that Social Justice is a multi-faceted and multi-departmental issue that must be measured if it is to be accounted for.

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. Equipped with these goals as tools for guidance and accountability, our Government has the opportunity to lead the way towards a new generation of politics shaped by the economic, social and environmental demands of a truly healthy society. The Sustainable Progress index is another landmark report to inform the policy decisions of the Irish Government when it comes to progressing the SDGs.

Written by Prof. Charles M.A. Clark of St John’s University, New York; and Dr. Catherine Kavanagh of University College Cork, the index compares 15 EU countries across all UN SDGs, assesses their performance on each individual SDG and creates a ranking table for performance overall.

The report finds Ireland is in the top third for 3 SDGs. The analysis suggests that Ireland does well on SDGs relating to Quality Education (SDG 4); Peace and Justice (SDG 16) and Clean Water and Sanitation (SDG6). On these Ireland is ranked 2nd, 4th and 5th respectively.  Ireland has a good reputation internationally for quality education, and skilled graduates are in high demand. Ireland is also regarded as a relatively safe place to live with lower homicides and crime rates relative to other countries. 

However, the report also highlights 4 SDGs are in the bottom third: Reduced Inequalities (SDG10); Partnerships for the Goals, (SDG 17); Affordable and Clean Energy (SDG 7); and Responsible Consumption and Production (SDG 12). Of the 15 countries studied, Ireland is ranked 11th, 11th 12th and 14th, respectively on these.  Significant challenges lie ahead if Ireland is to achieve its objectives on these goals. 

Social Justice Ireland  believe the Government should be congratulated on openly committing itself to these SDGs as a part of all policy formation. It should also be recognised that we are performing well in many areas. However, there are certain areas where we are seriously underperforming, and this is dragging our overall ranking down. The Government should use this information constructively to plan a route to the top of the table and make Ireland a world leader and a sustainably progressive society on all fronts.