Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan TD with Aoife O’Mahony, Fair Seas Campaign Manager.
Coalition pledges to show how people can help make the world a better place during its term
Fair Seas has been named a champion in Ireland’s efforts to become a world leader in reaching the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The coalition of leading environmental non-governmental organisations and networks is one of 26 organisations appointed by the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan TD.
Fair Seas is recognised for its ongoing work to protect, conserve and restore Ireland’s unique marine environment. Its objectives align closely with SDG 14 which is concerned with ‘Life Below Water’ and aims to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources. Fair Seas is campaigning for the Government to designate a minimum of 30% of Irish waters as Marine Protected Areas (MPA) by 2030. The Marine Protected Areas Bill 2023 is currently at the pre-legislative stage with further progress expected to be made before the Dáil’s summer recess.
In total, there are 17 interlinked SDGs, developed to transform our planet adopted by all 193 members of the United Nations in 2015. Between 2014 and 2015 Ireland co-led negotiations to agree the goals. The overall objective of the SDGs is to eradicate poverty, find sustainable and inclusive development solutions, meet everyone’s human rights, and ensure that no one is left behind.
Ireland’s SDG Champion Programme was developed to raise awareness of the goals and show how everyone in society can contribute to achieving them. Champions have been selected from the public, private, community, voluntary, youth and NGO sectors and are represented by larger, national organisations and smaller, community groups.
Aoife O’Mahony, Fair Seas Campaign Manager said, “We’re honoured to be selected as an SDG Champion for Ireland’s Life below Water. Our role over the next 12 months is to act as an advocate and promoter of the global goals and to show how we all can contribute to making our world a better place.”
She adds, “The work and aims of the Fair Seas campaign spans several SDGs including primarily SDG Life Below Water, but is also intrinsically linked to SDG 15 Life on Land, SDG 13 Climate Action and others. The ocean is the world’s largest ecosystem and absorbs around a quarter of global annual CO2 emissions, however in many parts and respects its health is in steep decline. Yet, we know that clean, healthy and productive seas are vital for healthy ecosystems, coastal communities and livelihoods. We’re continuing to build national and global partnerships to focus on the universal goal to conserve 30% of our ocean. By working cohesively together across counties and countries, we are encouraging a societal and participatory approach to achieving the SDG goals.”
Ireland will, for the first time in 5 years, present a Voluntary National Review of its SDG progress to the UN this July at the High Level Political Forum in New York.
Simon Berrow, CEO of Irish Whale and Dolphin Group highlights the importance of this role “SDGs are important markers of human endeavours to create a more equitable and fair society with functioning and thriving ecosystems that not only support human life but support the planet’s biodiversity. We are all obliged to review our life and work with respect to SDGs.”
Earlier this year, Fair Seas successfully campaigned for the Greater Skellig Coast to become Ireland’s first Hope Spot. A large part of the southwest coast of Ireland was designated a Hope Spot by Mission Blue, joining a list of places like the Great Barrier Reef and the Galápagos Islands.