The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Dr. Katherine Zappone T.D. launched the ‘UN Sustainable Developmental Goals Through the Lens of a Child joint report’ on 25 March 2019.
The report outlines the activities, outcomes and deliberations of a workshop entitled ‘SDGs through the Lens of a Child’ organised by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs and the Geary Institute for Public Policy, University College Dublin on November 9th, 2018 at the Royal Irish Academy. The objective of that workshop was to explore how the pressing issues of child poverty and food poverty in Ireland might be addressed within the context of the ambitions of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Authors of the report are Prof Enda Murphy and SPIRe's Prof Patrick Paul Walsh, Dr Aparajita Banerjee and Charlotte Thumser, as part of the Geary Institute and the Centre for Sustainable Development Studies.
The workshop last November was hosted by Minister Zappone and included Key Note Speaker Professor Jeffrey Sachs, Special Advisor to the UN Secretary General on the Sustainable Development Goals. It gathered stake holders from Government departments, Government agencies, Research and Academic institutions, Civil society organisations Youth Delegates, Media, Private Sector and other stakeholders in a stakeholder partnership forum. The objective of the workshop was to explore how the pressing issues of child poverty and food poverty in Ireland might be addressed within the context of the ambitions of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
An Irish Youth Delegation will present the findings of this report to the UN Youth Forum in New York in April 2019. The UN Youth forum summaries all the SDG work on Youth and Children, all over the world, for the General Assembly Leaders of Nations meeting in September 2019.
Speaking about the joint report the Minister added:
"I am delighted to launch this report today. I would like to thank Professor Sachs for his wonderful key note speech in which he stressed the system in which society and the economy operate today is rigged for creating inequalities and other complex social and environmental problems and that building a sustainable world is the foundation of the UN SDGs. Professor Sachs’ view, and one that I agree with, is that addressing child and food poverty is crucial to future social sustainability and that solving these and other global challenges requires a solid commitment to partnerships across government, civil society, academia and the private sector. I very much welcome the opportunity to engage with Professor Sachs on these important issues and this event gave us all the opportunity to draw on his experience commitment and passion in ending child and food poverty both in Ireland and around the world.
Similarly, I would also like to thank Professor Patrick Paul Walsh and his excellent team at UCD for their valuable assistance with this event and their work on producing this highly relevant, informative and valuable report.
Almost one in every five children in Ireland lives below the poverty line. One in four children in Ireland experience enforced deprivation. One in every ten children in Ireland lives in consistent poverty.
But there is nothing inevitable about child and food poverty.
The time to eradicate child and food poverty in a developed nation like Ireland is already upon us and that the active participation of all stakeholders is required to achieve it.
Eradicating child poverty and hunger is not only the duty of the government, and a multi-stakeholder ecosystem needs to put in place in Ireland where government leadership is supported by the experience and expertise of members of civil society groups, academia, and other government-funded research organisations.
I am delighted that an Irish youth delegation will present the findings of this report to the UN Youth Forum in New York next month, and I wish them well with their presentation and I am heartened that Youth voices are now a formal part of UN meetings. Following this example, Ireland needs to consider how to incorporate youth voices, as part of whole of society partnerships, in our institutions.
This event has given us the opportunity to outline the challenges that lie ahead for Ireland and other small countries to co ordinate, address and achieve the SGDs across the various stakeholders in society. On foot of this report I look forward to our continued collaborative efforts in eradicating child and food poverty in Ireland".