Conversation on the UN Sustainable Development Goals

Achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals

Thursday, 9 December 2021


The UN 2030 Agenda presents 17 goals to transform our world across the environmental, economic prosperity, social inclusion, and governance pillars. It complements the Paris Agreement, noting that environmental sustainability cannot be achieved without progress across all SDG pillars.

Distinctively, the SDGs were adopted by 193 nation states without reservation, presenting us with a shared vision and blueprint to deliver our collective ambitions. The problems and challenges are well known, but much more work is required to mobilise action and scale successes.

This 60-minute discussion (link in comments below) between two internationally prominent speakers – skillfully facilitated by Orla Kelly PhD. – is a fascinating, valuable exchange: David Donoghue co-chaired the UN 2030 Agenda negotiations; Professor Patrick Paul Walsh contributed to these negotiations, is a Senior Advisor to the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, and a Director of the UCD Centre for Sustainable Development Studies.

Key Takeaways:

00:00-04:00: Creation of the SDGs and their evolution from the Millennium Development Goals

08:30-14:00: Link to The Paris Agreement and COP26

15:00-28:00: Covid-19 impact and how it has brought into clearer focus the critical need for multilateralism, cooperation, and partnerships across all SDG pillars

36:30-40:30: Role of academic institutions and research in driving the SDGs across developed and developing nations

41:00-47:00: Relationship with Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions

#sustainabledevelopment #sdgs

Hosted By Professor Tasman Crowe is the Director of the UCD Earth Institute for environmental and sustainability research. Tasman’s expertise is in marine ecology and he has worked on the impacts of human activities on marine biodiversity and ecosystems for thirty years. He is the co-director of the UCD BSc in Sustainability.


David Donoghue | Ireland’s Former Permanent Representative to the United Nations

David Donoghue is a graduate of UCD (BA 1972, MA 1974) and also holds honorary doctorates from UCD and NUI. He was Ireland’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations from 2013-17. In 2015 he co-facilitated, with his Kenyan colleague, the UN negotiations which agreed the Sustainable Development Goals and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. In 2016 he co-facilitated, with his Jordanian colleague, the negotiations which produced the New York Declaration on Large Movements of Migrants and Refugees. As an Irish diplomat, he had a long involvement with the Northern Ireland peace process and was a member of the Irish Government team which negotiated the Good Friday Agreement. Today he is working in various think-tanks and academic communities on implementation of the SDGs, migration and refugee issues and conflict resolution.

Dr Orla Kelly | Assistant Professor in Social Policy, UCD

Orla Kelly is an Assistant Professor in Social Policy at the UCD School of Social Policy, Social Work and Social Justice. She specialises in studying sustainable human well-being, eco-social policy, sustainable development, and the social dimensions of climate change. She received her PhD in environmental sociology from Boston College. She holds an LLM in International Human Rights Law from the Irish Center for Human Rights, NUI Galway and an MSc. in International Business from UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School. Between 2010 and 2020 Dr Kelly worked as a research associate, and later a research fellow, at the FXB Center for Health and Human Rights, Harvard University. She is currently Principal Investigator in three large grant-funded research projects at UCD, leading an international consortium of academics working at the intersection of education and climate change.

Prof Patrick Paul Walsh | Professor of International Development Studies, UCD

Professor Patrick Paul Walsh is currently a Full Professor of International Development Studies and an elected member of the UCD Governing Authority. He is the Director of the UCD Centre for Sustainable Development Studies, Director of the UCD MSc in Sustainable Development in partnership with UN SDSN. Professor Walsh is a Senior Adviser to the UN SDSN, New York. Walsh represented universities as a member of the UN Major Group for Science and Technology in the intergovernmental negotiations on the SDGs. He received a PhD in Economics from the London School of Economics.

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