Thursday, 25 February 2021
Topical Issue Debate
Sustainable Development Goals
I thank the Minister. To give him his due, I know that the information in this year's report pre-dates our participation in government. We may not have our knees under the table for long but I would say that this reply sounds like business as usual, as if we are doing grand. Unfortunately the figures show that we are not doing grand, especially with environmental and sustainable development goals. We are ranking dead last. I want to see a step change in how we implement the SDGs. We should take them seriously and drive that agenda forward. I know the senior officials group met last week but that was its first meeting since November 2019. If we are serious about driving this agenda forward, we need to ensure that the meetings are more regular, or quarterly, as they are supposed to be.
I have three suggestions to make about driving this agenda forward. I know that there is work on well-being indicators. Iceland aligned its well-being indicators closely with the SDGs to make sure that the reporting happened in a transparent but meaningful way. I would like to see the SDGs reflected in the well-being indicators that are being developed by the Government. There is a programme for Government commitment about social dialogue. It has serious potential to be a framework for a whole-of-society discussion about the level of transformative change that we need in climate, in our society and in attaining Agenda 2030. With due respect to the work happening in the Department but recognising the cross-cutting nature of the sustainable development goals, I contend that this should not belong in the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications but in the Department of the Taoiseach, with proper oversight of the cross-cutting nature of the goals.
Will the Minister comment on that?