Sustainable Ireland National Conference

The Sustainable Ireland National Conference took place on the 11th April in Croke Park, Dublin. The conference was about the Sustainable Development Goals, with a focus on scale food producers.

After powerful speeches from four young people about sustainable food for our future, Michael Creed TD, Minister for Agriculture, Food and Marine took the floor and defined the SDGs and summarize what can be done and how Ireland is doing about each SDG.

Some other speakers were talking after that about SDGs in their organisations. There were information about SDGs in Ireland but also in Africa and how we can develop SGDs abroad, put in place good agriculture practices, fair trade and small scale agriculture, how Ireland is doing in term if SDGs and comparing it to other EU countries, how to improve agriculture practices in Ireland…

There were also some witnesses of farmers who decided to focus on organic food and small scale agriculture, and talks about how some organisations are doing around Ireland to improve the agricultural system.

The speeches were very interesting and showed that we need to do more for the environment and to limit climate change. We have to change our practices and behaviours. More and more farmers are trying to develop small scale agriculture and other good practices, which is one of the solutions we can put in place.

Even though it gives a negative feeling to see that Ireland is so low in term of SDGs achievement compare to other EU countries, there are many positive actions around the country that will lead the way to a more sustainable Ireland.

 

 

 

September 30: Sustainable Development Goals Workshop

The Environmental Pillar and Dochas held a workshop on 30th September on the most important subject of the week: The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

the previous week in New York, after intense negotiations, 193 countries agreed on the next set of development goals but this was the easy part, the hard part is coming now: implementation.

The workshop’s main objective was to raise awareness of and support for the SDGs and the responsibilities of Ireland and its people.

Mr. Johnathan Derham talking about ensuring sustainable consumption

Mr. Johnathan Derham talking about ensuring sustainable consumption

The goals discussed were:

Goal 2. End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture.

Goal 12. Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.

Goal 13. Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.

Goal 14. Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.

I attended the group discussions for goal 13 and I was happy to find that I shared the same thoughts as everybody. For sure Ireland took some action to combat climate change (climate prize for Tidy Towns, Green Schools, public consultations and local workshops) but, for example climate change is not integrated in national policies, strategies and planning, this should be a priority in Ireland. This was the main point of Petra Woods from the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government.

The discussion, though, went to the other way – we need to start raising awareness in the local communities first because in first place, some people in the countryside don’t even know what climate change is. And most important, in my opinion, we need to show people how climate change affect them, Jon Doe, farmer in Leitrim,has to be shown the impact on him because showing some polar bears on a piece of ice sheet far away in Arctic world, won’t impress them and it won’t get them motivated to make a change.

Olga attended the workshop on the Goal:  End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture: ‘Initially, the discussion was on the wording of the goal, which I found difficult to understand.  However, a Northern Ireland farmer began talking about the relevance of the Goal to Ireland and I found this interesting.  500 million small farms worldwide provide up to 80 per cent of food consumed in a large part of the developing world. Small farms are really important.’

The conclusion to both workshops was that people have the power to drive the government but in order to do that we need more and more communities to get involved.

The implementation of the SDGs is a chance we should not miss.

Olga and Alice with Michael Ewing

Olga and Alice with Michael Ewing

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