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".

UCD Students Union and the Literary & Historical Society hosted a panel talk on climate change on 6 February as a part of UCDSU’s first ever Green Week.

The panel considered on academics and politicians attempted to present and debate practical solutions to the climate crisis. Moderator Professor Patrick Paul Walsh introduced the talk by asking who is failing the environment and how do we fix it.

Speakers on the panel were:
· Prof. Patrick Paul Walsh (moderating)
· Eamon Ryan TD
· Deirdre Duffy
· Dr. Lisa Ryan
· Dr. Andreas Hoepner
· Craig McHugh

A full report is available on the College Tribune.

#WhosResponsible and #UCDGreenWeek

C1NK2W Beijing, Tsinghua University, Main Building, China

Prof Patrick Paul Walsh has been appointed as International Academic Committee member to the Institute for Sustainable Development Goals of Tsinghua University (TUSDG). Founded in April 2017 at Tsinghua University, TUSDG is the premier institution in China aimed at conducting interdisciplinary research and collaborating with global partners to address challenges in implementing UN Sustainable Development Goals.  The invitation was sent in view of Prof Walsh's academic contribution in SDGs areas, especially in international development studies, agricultural productivity and social security, and MDP networks.

Prof Patrick Paul Walsh spoke at the UN Sustainable Development Transition Forum (SDTF) in  Incheon, Republic of Korea on 29th - 31st October, 2018. 

The focus of the event was "Accelerating Progress towards the SDGs: Enhancing the Role of the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF)".

Prof Walsh spoke in Session 1: How can HLPF provide the most useful policy
guidance for SDG implementation? and Session 6: Data, Indicators, and Science for Tracking Progress on the SDGs.

The HLPF has the potential to create government lead global partnerships in a new wave of multilateralism. The success of national/regional level SDG partnerships are central to this vision. The Communique that came from the deliberations of the meeting can be found amongst the summary documents of the forum here

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.


Competition and Welfare Effects of Differentiated Taxation: Evidence from the Irish Automobile Market

Anna Bennato, Franco Mariuzzo and  Patrick Paul Walsh (2018)

Centre for Competition Policy,  University of East Anglia,  Working paper 18-5.


In recent years, policy makers in developed countries have adopted taxation systems that attempt to curb consumers’ behavior away from a harmful lifestyle such as a tax on sugar content.


The papers develops a theoretical model to disentangle the effects on competition and welfare of the adoption of an ad valorem tax that varies according to product characteristics (quality) in an imperfectly competitive market. As an example of a market where taxation varies by product attributes, taxes increased with engines size, we use product-level yearly data on the Irish automobile market between 2004-2008 to explore the impact on competition and welfare of differentiated taxation by product characteristic.

Key findings

In the  Irish automobile market taxes increased with engines size but  did not lead to a significant shift in sales structure, as was its objective  Rather, it shifted profits and consumer surplus away from bigger and towards smaller engines, as a result of a tax-induced strategic change in the nature of short run price competition. Our analysis provides an understanding on the changes in short run price competition, sub-market sales and welfare structure, in a way that one can expect from taxing an environmentally unfriendly aspect of a product.  In the short-run, due to strategic price responses to the different levels of taxation, one sees dirty engines becoming cheaper and clean engines more expensive with no change in market share.  In the medium to long run, the tax structure may induce R&D that makes big engines clean pushing rents back up to big cars.  In the short run, the tax structure did not reduce harmful CO2 emissions in terms of global warming.

The Centre for Competition Policy (CCP), at the University of East Anglia, undertakes competition policy research, incorporating economic, legal, management and political science perspectives, that has real-world policy relevance without compromising academic rigour.

Full Paper and Policy brief attached.

Seréna Pilkington, a former student of SPIRe, has had a paper published by Cornell University's Cornell Cosmic journal. The paper is called A Space Oddity: The Impact of Emerging Space Nations on International Security
Seréna Pilkington is a recent graduate from the School of Politics and International Relations (SPIRe) at the University College Dublin, Rep. of Ireland. She completed her bachelors thesis on modern space relations with a focus on international security. She later won the UCD Tom Garvin award for highest graded thesis. She plans to pursue a Masters in International Security in 2018, with a special focus on space relations.