Sustainable development goals

 

Sir, – September 25th indeed marked a proud moment for Ireland (“Development goals work boosts Ireland’s UN drive”, September 28th). On that day, Taoiseach Enda Kenny announced Ireland’s commitment to a new global deal negotiated under Irish leadership.

The Taoiseach rightly highlighted the transformative nature of this new global agreement and he called for action to implement it. We welcome this call to action, as well as the Taoiseach’s promise to support an Oireachtas debate on the sustainable development goals.

Such a debate would be a great starting point to arrive at a national plan of action and would send the right signal to all government departments as to the seriousness with which this Government is taking the goals. Similarly, in presenting Budget 2016 to the Oireachtas, the Government has an outstanding chance to show it is willing to make the choices required to bring the goals home to Ireland.

Having helped to give birth to the sustainable development goals, the Government now has the chance to match its words with action on climate, inequality, education, health and overseas aid. – Yours, etc,

HANS ZOMER,

Director,

Dóchas,

Dublin 2.

Sir, – The launch of the new sustainable development goals was an historic moment in the fight to end poverty, hunger and injustice in the world.

The creation of the goals, in which Ireland played a leading role, followed the longest and most comprehensive global consultations ever undertaken by the United Nations.

The goals are not, however, about the world’s rich countries promising to fix the problems of the world’s poorest. Rather, they place a responsibility on us all, and have been produced following detailed negotiations that have also involved middle- and low-income countries.

Ultimately, however, they will only succeed if we all, as individuals, play our part, holding our governments to account in meeting their obligations in the years ahead. Some have questioned whether the 17 goals and 169 targets that underpin them are too unwieldy a target, and there is some frustration at the absence of mechanisms to hold governments accountable. But, as with the millennium development goals, the new goals do provide us with some hard metrics to measure progress. These are vital if the objectives are to be met.

We at Gorta-Self Help Africa are heartened at the central role of farming in the sustainable development goals agenda. Indeed, sustainable agriculture and nutrition are at the heart of the goals, and feature in no less than 14 of the 17 new goals.

No matter where in the world, the new goals offer a path out of hunger and poverty for hundreds of millions of people, in a way that doesn’t imperil the planet’s future. – Yours, etc,

RAY JORDAN,

Chief Executive,

Gorta-Self Help Africa,

Dublin 8.