Citizens and NGOs march to demand action on sustainable development

Published by Lia Flattery on

September 25th, 2017

NGOs, activists and citizens marched in Dublin City Centre today calling on the Government to uphold its promises to fully implement the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

The Global Goals March was held to coincide with the second anniversary of the adoption of the SDGs by 193 governments in 2015.

The 17 goals are at the centre of the UN’s sustainable development agenda and seek to achieve over 150 targets aimed at ending poverty, protecting the planet, and ensuring prosperity for all people by 2030.

They expand on the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which were established in 2001 and expired in 2015.

The march was led by Coalition 2030, an alliance of over 100 Irish and international civil society organisations dedicated to ensuring that the Irish government achieves the SDGs.

Members of the umbrella group include Concern, World Vision, Eco-Unesco, ATD Ireland and the Environmental Pillar.

Campaigners marched from the Rosie Hackett Bridge to the Famine Memorial on Custom House Quay, carrying banners and calling on the Irish government to take action and ‘Light the Way’ in SDG implementation in Ireland and abroad.

Coalition of Irish NGOs and citizens rally together Photo: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

They joined thousands of citizens and NGOs at over 800 events across 109 locations worldwide calling on governments to follow through on their commitments to the SDGs.

Michael Ewing, Coordinator of the Environmental Pillar, said: “It is two years now since our Government signed up to deliver on the UN Sustainable Development Goals and civil society is left wondering what is going on.”

The Irish Government played “a stellar role” in helping to develop the goals, Mr Ewing added. However, since then “little or nothing is happening to ensure that Ireland makes the changes needed”, he added.

Niamh Garvey, Head of Policy and Advocacy at Trócaire, said that action on climate change will be key in determining the success of the SDGs.

According to Ms Garvey, Ireland’s action on climate change is “woefully inadequate” and the country is “dramatically off track” for meeting its emissions reduction targets.

She called on Minister for Environment Denis Naughten to strengthen “the ambition and delivery” of the National Mitigation Plan as evidence of the government’s intention to deliver on the SDGs.

Speaking at the National Ploughing Championships last week, President Michael D. Higgins also highlighted the importance of the SDGs.

“The Goals require all of our support, our understanding, our advocacy and our changes in practice”, he said.

Ireland played a leading role in the negotiations surrounding the SDGs in 2015 as Ireland’s permanent Ambassador to the UN, David Donoghue, facilitated the negotiation process.

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Categories: InternationalNews

Lia Flattery

Lía is a former writer and Deputy Editor at Trinity News. She also has a BA in History and English Literature from Trinity College Dublin.