Photo by IISD/ENB | Kiara Worth
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A select number of 'SDG Champions’ will be identified who exemplify best practice and “inspire others to contribute in whatever way they can to Ireland’s achievement of the Goals”.

Ireland’s first set of SDG Champions will hold the role for a 12-month period, beginning in June 2019.

This initiative is one of Ireland’s 19 key actions featured in the government’s National Implementation Plan for 2018-2020.

31 January 2019: The Government of Ireland has announced an initiative to recognize organizations and individuals who are “leading by example” in achieving the SDGs, by identifying a set of national SDG Champions. The initiative is one of 19 key actions in Ireland’s SDG National Implementation Plan, which was launched in April 2018.

Ireland’s Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Richard Burton, announced the SDG Champions initiative during the third meeting of the National SDG Stakeholder Forum, which took place on 31 January 2019, in Dublin, hosted by the Ministry. He said the SDG Champions will be organizations or individuals who exemplify best practice and “inspire others to contribute in whatever way they can to Ireland’s achievement of the Goals.” Burton noted that many organizations across Ireland are active in areas relating to SDG 1 (no poverty), SDG 5 (gender equality), and SDG 8 (decent work and economic growth) as well as various aspects of environmental protection, such as SDGs 13 (climate action), 14 (life below water) and 15 (life on land). He expressed the Government’s desire to harness good work already underway and inspire others to contribute to the SDGs.

The call for expressions of interest for the role of SDG Champion is open through 28 February 2019. The Government of Ireland will select a limited number of organizations to act as Ireland’s first SDG Champions for a 12-month period, beginning in June 2019. Selected organizations must: demonstrate their willingness and ability to raise awareness of the SDGs among the general public and their own sectors; show that they have embedded sustainable development practices into their everyday activities; and identify a Goal or Goals that most closely relate to their activities and illustrate how they can promote those Goals.

Also at the Forum, Burton outlined Ireland’s commitment to implementing the SDGs. He said the Government has put in place an implementation plan and established a senior officials group to track progress on commitments. The SDG National Implementation Plan for 2018-2020 features 19 actions, which the Government of Ireland has committed to implement, including: reporting on progress seven times before 2030; establishing a SDG Stakeholder Forum; providing speaking time to a stakeholder representative during Ireland’s Voluntary National Review (VNR) presentation at the 2018 session of the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF); referencing SDG targets in Government Departments’ Statements of Strategy; and providing information on progress towards targets in annual reports.

At its VNR presentation in July 2018, Ireland presented an online portal to track the country’s progress towards achieving the 2030 Agenda, including all 17 SDGs. The platform includes publicly available data relating to the SDGs as well as the EU’s adapted set of SDGs, and measures Ireland’s progress against each Goal on the basis of those two sets of indicators. [SDG Champions Press Release] [Call for Expressions of Interest] [Government of Ireland Press Release on SDG National Implementation Plan]

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