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SDGs and Local Authorities - Creating Sustainable Communities
In 2015, the UN proposed and adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and identified 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) based on 169 targets and over 230 indicators. In January 2016, the SDGs came into force. The SDGS 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. The World Bank, WHO, IMF, OECD and Eurostat have all committed to data collection efforts to support the monitoring of the SDGs. Since the adoption of the SDGS, there have been several attempts to track countries’ progress on achievement of the goals. In February 2019, Social Justice Ireland published its Sustainable Progress Index 2019 (authors: Clark and Kavanagh). It examines Ireland’s performance on the SDGs in the context of its peers in the EU – the focus is the EU15 countries. Comparing relative performance among countries from a similar regional or income group is valuable. Variations observed in small groups of similar regions should encourage policymakers to better understand reasons for divergence and design strategies for achieving the SDGs by 2030.
Everyone has a role to play in supporting Ireland’s progress towards the SDGs. Ireland’s National Implementation Plan for the SDGs identifies the crucial role that Local Authorities have to play in translating the SDGs into practical action at local level. It identifies the Local Community Development Committees (LCDCs) and the Strategic Committees (SPCs) as well as local plans as being especially well placed to integrate the SDGs into their activities. In our latest policy briefing, SDGs and Local Authorities, developed as part of the DEAR project in which we collaborate with IEN, World Vision Ireland and ECO-UNESCO, we set out a series of proposals for Local Authorities, covering all 17 SDGs, that could be included by Local Authorities and their LCDCs, SPCs in their development plans.