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UN Independent Expert Bohoslavsky has called for a human rights-based response to the current pandemic, asserting that austerity cannot be an option and that there must be an immediate emergency response for the vulnerable (including an emergency basic income, housing and essential services). Economic policies and entitlements must be consistent with public health and human rights and there should be some reflief of both private and sovereign debt. Fiscal policies should finance social justice, and the opportunity for a real global green change should not be missed.

The COVID-19 crisis will impose its heaviest tolls on the most vulnerable. It is understandable that national leaders are focused on tackling this crisis in their own backyards, but countries must find the space for supporting other nations too, if humanity is to successfully defeat this disease. It is therefore incumbent on rich world countries to help poorer countries. It is also in rich countries’ interests to think and act globally as well as locally.

The UN Climate Action Summit 2019 begins in New York today.  The purpose of the summit is for countries who signed the Paris Agreement in 2015 to bring concrete, realistic and effective plans to meet 2020 targets and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 45 per cent in the next ten years.  What plan does Ireland have to fully transform the economy in line with the sustainable development goals?

The most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Report on Climate Change and Land raises some significant issues for Ireland, and in particular our policies on food production and land management.

Social Justice Ireland wishes our newly elected MEPs every success.  This is a pivotal time for the future of the European Union and MEPs play a key role in ensuring that social and environmental sustainability and the Sustainable Development Goals are at the heart of Europe's future.   To this end we have formulated Five Key Policy Asks for our MEPs in conjunction with Trocaire. They are:

  1. The Elimination of Poverty
  2. The Championing of Climate Justice
  3. Policy Coherence on the SDGs
  4. Delivery on the European Pillar of Social Rights
  5. Supporting an international treaty on Business and Human Rights

Social Justice Ireland regrets that to date Government has not committed to supporting European moves to introduce a Financial Transactions Tax. The tax offers the dual benefit of dampening needless and often reckless financial speculation and generating significant funds. Reports have estimated a net revenue yield of between €320m and €350m per annum in Ireland alone, while according to the United Nations, the amount of annual income raised would be enough to guarantee to every citizen of the world basic access to water, food, shelter, health and education. This tax has the potential to wipe out the worst forms of material poverty throughout the world.

On Thursday, 26th April 2018, Minister Denis Naughten unveiled Government's Sustainable Development Goals National Implementation Plan 2018-2020Social Justice Ireland welcomes this development and the commitment of Government to document the specific Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to which each current and new Government policy relates, and calls for the addition of an impact assessment for each of those policies in achieving Ireland’s goals and the closing of data gaps to support the development of an achievable SDG strategy.

Ireland is performing in the bottom half of 15 similar European countries on a range of important UN backed indicators covering Economy, Environment and Society. Measuring Progress: Economy, Society and Environment in Ireland puts Ireland’s overall ranking in the Sustainable Progress Index at 11th out of our peer countries in the EU 15.

Sean Healy, Director of Social Justice Ireland, was invited by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs to be part of an Expert Group Meeting on “Strategies for Eradicating Poverty to Achieve Sustainable Development for All” which was held at the United Nations in New York in May 2017.  This Expert Group Meeting was organised  to make specific policy recommendations on effective strategies for eradicating poverty in the context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including lessons from the implementation of the Second United Nations Decade for the Eradication of Poverty (2008-2017). 

The historic climate deal agreed in Paris represents an opportunity for world leaders and nations to act decisively to limit the impacts of climate change.

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