Ireland last in Europe on environmental SDGs, report


February 21st, 2020

Ireland is falling behind on its green commitment under the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a new report has found.

The Sustainable Progress Index for 2020 launched this morning revealed that Ireland scores last on the environmental category among 15 European countries examined for their overall efforts to implement the SDGs.

The 17 universal
goals are central to the UN’s sustainable development agenda and aim to achieve
over 150 targets seeking to eradicate poverty, safeguarding the planet and
ensuring prosperity for all by 2030.

Overall, Ireland
ranks 10th out of 15 comparable EU countries alongside Greece, Portugal and
Spain in this year’s report commissioned by Social Justice Ireland (SJI).

Ireland’s poor
environmental performance, the report states, reveals the country’s mounting
challenges in meeting its environmental targets.

SJI has found
that we are faring poorly in the SDGs, including clean energy, responsible
consumption and production as well as climate action.

Much like last year’s report, the report has found that Ireland scores low
in wastewater management and recycling among the examined countries. Further
development in drinking water and sanitation is also a necessity, the report

In 2018, the
European Commission opened an infringement
against Ireland
for failure to ensure drinking water for over 500,000 consumers is safe from
Trihalomethanes exposure.

Although Ireland
has scored relatively well in the category of air pollution in urban areas, it
has failed to reach a satisfactory level when it comes to the state of the
country’s public transport system.

Ireland also
scores well for offering quality education and is regarded as a relatively safe
place to live with lower homicides and crime rates relative to other countries.

Commenting on the
new findings, Dr Seán Healy of SJI said that Ireland has the potential to set
an example of a “truly healthy society” yet we are “seriously
underperforming in certain areas”.

the complexities of sustainable development requires a joined-up thinking
approach,” he said.

It requires a
balance between economic and social progress and sustaining the planet’s
environment and resources as well as combatting climate change,” Dr Healy

In 2018, the Sustainable Development Goals Index and Dashboards Report also found that Ireland is falling behind on its environmental commitments under the SDGs.

The report was the first worldwide study to assess where each country stands with regard to achieving the goals and found that further efforts are needed in Ireland to protect biodiversity and support sustainable production and consumption.

About the Author

Shamim Malekmian

Shamim is a Senior Reporter at The Green News and a contributing writer to the Irish Examiner, Cork Evening Echo and the Dublin Inquirer.

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