SEATTLE – Like many countries, Ireland recognizes that we all share a responsibility to improve the world. While many countries were present throughout the creation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that were ratified last month at the United Nations, Ireland played a particularly important role.
Along with Kenya, Ireland was appointed to lead negotiations on the SDGs. The position required gathering together the UN member states, private sectors and civil societies, and conducting talks and consultations.
“The appointment puts Ireland at the center of the most important and ambitious global development agenda that the world has ever undertaken,” said Sean Sherlock, minister for development.
Charlie Flanagan, minister for foreign affairs, told The Irish Times it was a huge honor.
The SDGs were developed to set an agenda for the next 15 years of global development work. They replace the UN’s Millennium Development Goals, which were eight targets introduced in 2000 aimed at reducing by a half extreme poverty and hunger, achieving universal primary education, and halting the spread of HIV/AIDS by 2015.
By many measures, the MDGs have been a success, but there is more work to be done.
On August 2 Irish UN ambassador David Donoghue and Kenyan UN Ambassador Macharia Kamau declared that an agreement had been reached on the new Sustainable Development Goals. That agreement was officially announced the following month at the UN in New York.
Photo: Blackrock Castle
Ireland has been involved in global development long before the SDGs were created. Irish Aid manages the country’s international aid program through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Irish Aid specializes in “reducing hunger and improving resilience; inclusive and sustainable economic growth, better governance, human rights and accountability.”
In March of this year, Minister Sherlock announced the implementation of the UN Youth Delegate Programme of Ireland, in which two young adults would accompany Irish government officials to New York to participate in the announcement of the SDGs.
“For a planet where more than half of the world’s population is under 30 years old, young people in particular will have an essential role in bringing about the transformative change which the goals promise,” said Eoin O’Liathain, one of the UN youth delegates, to the National Youth Council of Ireland.
The UN Youth Delegate Programme of Ireland invites young people to take notice of global issues. It also helps them discover their own abilities to affect change.
Irish Aid implores the rest of the world to join the cause, asking the question: “The Goals are for every country and every citizen, so why not get involved in promoting them?”