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Update on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Ireland and England




Minister Denis Naughten

Minister Naughten of the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment launched the National Implementation Plan for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Dublin on 26 April 2018. This long-awaited plan came only 3 months in advance of Ireland’s Commitment to present their Voluntary National Review (VNR) on how well we are doing with regards to the SDGs at the High Level Political Forum (HLPF) in New York. Brian O’Toole (Interprovincial Justice Desk, England and Ireland Units) said “we are delighted that the plan has been completed and that each of the SDGs can now be situated within a government department with a minister in charge, therefore allowing for greater accountability.” They were however disappointed that the lead department was not that of the Department of An Taoiseach (Prime Minister), they had hoped that such a lead would carry more weight and could be more demanding of the other government departments, who they are being told, will be held accountable. They were also delighted to hear that all future government policies will be proofed against the SDGs prior to publication. But there was some disappointment in that there is little time offered to Civil Society to comment, reflect and indeed participate. It was felt that this would have been necessary in that each government was told to have Civil Society comment in the preparation of the Voluntary National Review (VNR) to be presented. But they now have a document and they feel that the first VNR will be a baseline description of how we engage (or not) and the real progress in Ireland will be measured at the presentation of their second VNR in 2020. 

Also, in April all three Justice Commissions (Ireland South West, North East and England) came

Sisters and Associates at work at the convention in Mount
Saint Anne’s

together in Mount Saint Anne’s, Killenard, Portarlington, Co Laois, Ireland, to look at the ongoing work of the Interprovincial Justice Desk and to collaboratively put together a tentative action plan for the next three years. The pictures show all hard at work. This meeting occurred after the message of the 7th International Presentation Association (IPA) Assembly was brought home to all Units in Ireland and in England. As per the advice and recommendation at the IPA Assembly, they formed Thematic Groups one of which was named Embracing the Sustainable Development Goals in a human rights framework and in this way they share with all who have signed up to this group any information that will help to inform and clarify. Equally and importantly, this group also has the benefit of allowing members to share with all events, information or services that they hear of or are part of. 


In England, there is not the same rush to prepare for a Voluntary National Review (VNR) as the UK has elected to present their VNR at the UN in New York in 2019. However, there is much work being done and Presentation have been a part of this process of preparation for the National Implementation Plan in the UK, a draft of which will have to be ready by July 2018.



You can follow what the Interprovincial Justice Desk do as they continue to try to spread the word and increase awareness  of the SDGs on Facebook by using the following link https://www.facebook.com/presentationjusticedesk/ 

Brian O’Toole has created a video giving an update on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Ireland and England. To view the video, please click here

Submitted by: Brian O’Toole, Director of the Interprovincial Justice Desk, England and Ireland Units