The Centre for Sustainable Development Studies were part of a Geary Institute for Public Policy and Department of Children and Youth Affairs organised workshop on the Sustainable Development Goals through the lens of the child on 9th November 2018. Prof Patrick Paul Walsh, Prof Enda Murphy, Dr Aparajita Banarjee, Caitriona Devery and Charlotte Thumser were part of the organising team.

The workshop was convened by Minister for Children Katherine Zappone. It was attended by senior officials from the Department of the Taoiseach, the Economic and Social Research Institute, civil society and academia. Keynote speaker, Prof Jeffrey Sachs, special adviser to the UN secretary general on SDGs.

Almost one in every five children in Ireland lives below the poverty line and children carry a higher risk of poverty than any other age group. One in four children experiences enforced deprivation, and children carry a higher risk of deprivation than any other age group. One in every 10 children lives in consistent poverty – experiencing both income poverty and deprivation – and again the risk of consistent poverty is higher for children than any other age group. Minister Zappone called for a cross-departmental approach to the issue.

Prof Sachs reminds us “A market system produces wealth but it does not produce social justice . . . The the desire for wealth. It has to be tempered by the demands of morality, ethics.”

Read the Minister's speech here.

Prof. Olanrewaju Olaniyan, Director, Centre for Sustainable Development (CESDEV), hosted the

Ninth annual Ibadan Sustainable Development summit (ISDS), August 2018, August 27 - 30, 2018.

The Theme of this year’s summit was “Megatrends that will shape National and Global Prosperity by 2030”.

The Summit was opened by  Prof. Labode Popoola, Director, Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN-Nigeria),   Dr. Belay Begashaw, Director General, Sustainable Development Goals Centre for Africa, Kigali Rwanda and  Mrs. Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, Senior Special Adviser to the President on SDGs.

Over the three days, the summit was attended by 1000 people.  SDSN Youth Nigeria had an important side event at the summit.

Amongst 150 excellent research papers  there were  four keynote addresses;

Dr. Ojijo Odhiambo, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Nigeria
Prof Patrick Paul Walsh, University College, Dublin, Ireland
Prof. Foluso Okumadewa, World Bank, Abuja
Prof. Afeikhena Jerome, African Union Commission, Addis Ababa

Prof Patrick Paul Walsh focused on three megatrends that need urgent cooperation between nation states; Global Population Dynamics –Social, Approbation of Rents in Global Value Chains –Economic, and Ocean Health-Environmental.

All nations should drive  towards multilateralism.

Kofi Annan "Our futures, our prosperity and security, are wrapped up together more than ever before. No country, no matter how wealthy or powerful, can any longer stand on its own."

Prof Patrick Paul Walsh, Prof Enda Murphy and Dr David Horan of UCD are presenting at the UN High Level Political Form 2018 side event on Digital Governance and Stakeholder Engagement for Sustainable Development on July 18th in New York, alongside International Monetary Fund, UN SDSN and SDSN Youth, UN Library and UN DESA. The event will be opened by Minister Denis Naughten, Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment is hosted by Irish Mission.

The full title of the event is Combining Digital Governance and Stakeholder Knowledge to Promote Innovation and Transformative Actions in Support of the 2030 Agenda.

Outline of the event:

What are the opportunities for innovation and transformative solutions in digital governance that will  combine knowledge and expertise from academic science with the knowledge and experience from non-governmental stakeholders to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals? From digital governance to a whole of society interface with the implementation of the SDGs, an open dialogue between key stakeholders, followed by an open discussion.

Read the event Agenda.


Ireland's first Voluntary National Review (VNR) on SDG implementation was approved by government in June this year.  The report will now be presented to the UN High-level Political Forum (HLPF) in New York in July 2018. The VNR considers Ireland's performance against each of the 17 SDGs and, includes a statistical annex using Eurostat indicators.

The Department of Communications, Climate Actions and the Environment is responsible for both Ireland's first SDG National Implementation Plan and the Voluntary National Review. The Implementation Plan was published in early 2018. The Plan  sets out arrangements for interdepartmental coordination, stakeholder engagement and periodic progress reporting at national and global levels.

The VNR features a Compendium of contributions from national stakeholders in Ireland. 

The UCD contribution was as follows:

What is UCD doing to support the SDGs?

Undergraduate: A discovery module on the Global Goals can be taken by any first year student in UCD as an elective. There are many disciplinary Modules on the SDGs on offer across Social Science, Economics and Politics, Business, Veterinary Science, Law and Agricultural degrees. UCD SDG Awareness Week is organised annually, where there are talks, poster exhibits on campus, social media campaign, all with the aspirations of raising  awareness and implementing the SDG’s on the UCD Campus. UCD Volunteers Overseas has extended its activities to projects in India, Haiti, Nicaragua, Tanzania and Uganda, and employs two full-time staff to co-ordinate its activities. To date, approximately 1,500 volunteers have engaged in environmental, educational, healthcare, construction and computer training projects in disadvantaged communities overseas. Postgraduate: MPA in Development Practice (MDP) to train young professionals to implement the SDGs in government and in stakeholder partnerships. Ph.D. in Global Human Development, to train academic staff in mainly African countries up to the level of a Ph.D. in any area relating to the SDGs Research: The Irish EPA and the IRC/EC have commissioned University College Dublin’s Centre for Sustainable Development Studies to research governance, data needs and a follow-up and review framework for achieving the SDGs in Ireland. At the core of our research focus is government enabled multi-stakeholder partnerships for SDG implementation in Ireland. Outreach: UCD is an active ember of the UN SDSN, operating since 2012 under the auspices of the UN Secretary-General.

SDSN mobilizes global scientific and technological expertise to promote practical solutions for sustainable development, including the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Climate Agreement. UCD has Consultative Status with UN ECOSOC consultative status for an organization enables it to actively engage with ECOSOC and its subsidiary bodies, as well as with the United Nations Secretariat, programmes, funds and agencies in a number of important ways. One aspect is to be an active member of the UN Major Group for Science and Technology during UN HLPF meetings.

UCD's key observations on Ireland's SDG implementation?

Ireland's VNR provides a strong framework for governance arrangements that can facilitate a whole of government approach to SDG implementation. We welcome the: Updating of  national sustainable development strategy to directly reflect the SDGs; The high levels of political engagement, including cabinet oversight and ministerial responsibilities of SDG implementation; The clear assignment of SDGs responsibilities across all departments, including the mainstreaming and mapping of policies; The development of mechanisms for interdepartmental coordination on the SDGs, e.g. the SDG Interdepartmental Working Group; The development of a SDG Stakeholder Forum. HLPF 2018 – Compendium of Irish Stakeholder Inputs 5

How would UCD further enhance SDG implementation?

The Irish Government need a better framework for a whole-of-society approach to SDG implementation. The period 2018-2020 is stated as the government period for defining a
baseline, taking stock of policy gaps and defining roles and responsibilities of government departments and agencies. The whole of Government committee and the Stakeholder Forum, over the next two years, have in their terms of reference the need to formalize the role of stakeholders in setting policy agendas, SDG implementation and follow up and review. Our research in UCD over the next two years will explore ways that government can engage stakeholders and ways that stakeholders can be enabled to work together in pursuit of the SDGs. The Irish SDG plan during 2020 to 2030 should have best practice and smart innovations in terms of engaging all stakeholders in achieving the SDGs in Ireland and beyond.


The Sustainable Development Goals Center for Africa (SDGC/A) is an international organization set up by African Leaders to support African governments, civil society, businesses and academic institutions to accelerate progress towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Africa. The SDG Center for Africa Is based in Kigali, Rwanda. Dr. Belay Begashaw is the Director General and H.E. Paul Kagame,President of the Republic of Rwanda, Founding Board Chair. It is a partner of the UN SDSN Directed by Prof. Jeffrey Sachs of Columbia University, special adviser on the SDGs to the UN Secretary General.

Details of the Center can be found on their website and on Facebook.

The Sustainable Development Goals Center for Africa hosted an important conference on "Mobilizing African Intellectuals Towards Quality Tertiary Education" (Agenda). The conference brought together Vice Chancellor's from all over Africa and High Level Delegates to discuss Tertiary Education in Africa and strides that be made to ensure that African Universities address the UN 2030 Agenda and top the Global Ranking of Universities studying Sustainable Development by 2030. Prof Patrick Paul Walsh attended as a representative of the Education initiatives of UN SDSN and University College Dublin.

Session 3 of the conference focused on "Building Reputable University Systems in Africa"

Chair: Dr. Fred Swaniker, Chief Executive Officer and Founder, African Leadership Academy and the African Leadership Network, South Africa

Presenter: Professor Patrick Paul Walsh, Professor of International Development Studies, University College Dublin, Ireland

This session focused on the necessity for African universities to be considered as international institutions that attract students and scholars from all over the world, by upgrading their quality and global ranking. The session addresses the importance of the university system in building a strong reputation in an increasingly competitive global space, the development of multicultural communities of students and staff, preparing the students for global political and social environments; as well as the development of international alliances in research, education and business.

Prof Jeffrey Sachs with Prof Paul Walsh

Prof  Walsh reported the findings of this Session on “Building Reputable University Systems in Africa” during the SDG Center for Africa Conference on “Mobilizing African Intellectuals Towards Quality Tertiary Education”

The talk is available on YouTube and you can view the slides here also (PPWalsh Slides).