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, written by Professor Charles Clark , Dr. Catherine Kavanagh and Niamh Lenihan, puts Ireland’s overall ranking in the Sustainable Progress Index at 11th out of 15 countries analysed (EU-15). Ireland’s performance on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is worst on Environment, Gender Equality, Responsible Consumption and Production, Climate Action, Affordable Clean Energy, Reducing Inequality and International Partnership on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The report highlights Ireland’s particularly poor performance on low pay, long term unemployment, household debt and GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions suggesting Ireland needs to drastically change its waste-based consumption patterns and recognise that short term economic growth policies are unsustainable.
There are positives in this report, such as Ireland making the top third of rankings in quality education (SDG 4). However, our particularly bad performance on Environment and inequalities emphasises the need for these SDGs to become an integrated part of policy formation across the board.
The Sustainable Development Goals being pursued by the UN are quickly becoming a part of the political reality facing policy makers. We need to understand that the rising tide only helps those with strong boats. We need to use data like this to start working towards a more sustainable future”
It is broadly accepted that if we were to cut down forests for economic growth without replanting in a sustainable manner, we would be hit twice as hard down the line on both environment and economy. We need to start looking at short term economic policies that damage families and promote inequality in the same way.