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INSTITUTIONAL ASPECTS OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN IRELAND


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INTEGRATED DECISION-MAKING

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

Ireland has a widely based approach towards the promotion and achievement of sustainable development; and in particular towards the implementation of Agenda 21. This approach is reflected in a range of National policy plans/statements and practical measures which together provide a dynamic framework for action across major areas of the economy and within both governmental and non-governmental sectors. Since 1990, the momentum towards fuller environmental integration has intensified at many levels - institutional, regulatory, consultative, and sectoral.

In February 1999, the Minister for the Environment and Local Government officially launched Comhar, the National Sustainable Development Partnership. Participants in Comhar include representatives of the Environmental Protection Agency, the Central Fisheries Board, the County and City Managers' Association, the Irish Assembly of Regional Authorities, the Department of the Environment and Local Government/Green Network of Government Departments, the Small Firms Association, the Irish Farmers' Association, the Irish Business and Employers' Confederation, the Irish Tourist Industry Confederation, the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers' Association, the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, the Irish Coalition for Sustainability, An Taisce, the Irish Uplands Forum, the Irish Environmental Conservation Organization for Youth, the National Women's Council of Ireland, the National Youth Council of Ireland, Partnerships for Local Action Network, the Community Platform, the Royal Town Planning Institute, the Environmental Sciences Association of Ireland, and the Institution of Engineers of Ireland. Comhar has been asked to examine and, as necessary, make recommendations in three areas:

.

In 1978, the Ministry of the Environment was assigned general responsibility for the promotion and protection of the physical environment. Ireland has an Environment Action Programme which at a National level formulates environmental targets and policy objectives. This programme was reviewed in 1993 for the period 1993-1997, and the Government made commitments to speed up its implementation. In December 1994, a Government programme was published which included a commitment to adopt both the "precautionary" and the "polluter pays" principles, as well as integrated environmental protection considerations in all policy areas and at all levels of Government. By early 1997, a National Sustainable Development Strategy was published, with an objective of providing a cross-sectoral framework for all sectoral plans and programmes related to Sustainable Development. The Strategy provides for the identification of future objectives. The Strategy also led to the establishment of a National Coordinating Mechanism for Sustainable Development.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is responsible for regulations and control of activities which pose a high pollution risk. The agency also handles many other tasks, including, supervision of local authorities, research, advisory, and information functions. Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is primarily used in relation to development proposals and projects. The Environmental Protection Agency has issued guidelines on the content of Environmental Impact Statement prepared for the EIA process. The EPA has an Advisory Committee which includes representatives of environmental NGOs, and the industry, agriculture, education, and research sectors.

For the period 1994-1999, Ireland has adopted both a European Community Support Framework (CSF) and a National Development Plan. Both the CSF and the Plan have as their primary objective the enhancement of Ireland's economic performance through sustainable growth and development. They are both multi-sectoral and cover a vast range of Agenda 21 issues. The Plan is primarily designed to address the needs of industry, tourism, and rural development. The European Regional Fund is supporting the 1994-1999 Operational Programme.

In addition to the above measures, Ireland relies on environmental legislation which is consistent with the recommendations of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) and with the European Union's (EU) Fifth Environment Action Programme called Towards Sustainability.

In October 1994, a Green Network of Government Departments was established. The concept of the network is to promote better exchange of information among departments and to support the work of the environment units which have been established in the main economic departments. A Parliamentary Committee on Sustainable Development has also been established. The Department of the Environment has concluded an agreement with the National Economic and Social Research Institute to set up an Environmental Policy Research Center to study the economic aspects of environment policy.

National Decision-Making Structure

1. National Sustainable Development Coordination Body: IN PROCESS
2. National Sustainable Development Policy: YES
3. National Agenda 21/other strategy for SD: YES
4. Local/Regional Agenda(s) 21: IN PROCESS
5. Environmental Impact Assessment Law: YES
6. Major Groups involved in Sustainable Development Decision-Making: IN PROCESS

National Instruments and Programmes

1. Sustainable. Dev. or environmental education incorporated into school curricula: YES
2. Sustainable Development Indicators Program: IN PROCESS
3. Ecolabel Regulations: NO
4. Recycle/Reuse Programs: YES
5. Green Accounting Program: IN PROCESS
6. Access to Internet: YES
7. >Access to World Wide Web: YES
8. A national World Wide Web Site for Sustainable Dev. or State of the Environment: YES

Policies, Programmes, and Legislation

Does your country have either a policy, programme, and/or legislation consistent with Agenda 21 in:  
1. Combatting poverty: YES
2. Changing consumption and production patterns: NO
3. Atmosphere: YES
4. Land Use Planning: YES
5. Forest and Deforestation: YES
6. Desertification and Drought: NO
7. Sustainable Mountain Development: YES
8. Sustainable Agriculture: YES
9. Biological Diversity: IN PROCESS
10. Biotechnology: YES
11. Oceans and Coastal Areas: YES
12. Freshwater Management: YES
13. Toxic Chemicals: YES
14. Hazardous Wastes: YES
15. Solid Wastes: YES
16. Radioactive Wastes: YES
17. Energy: YES
18. Transport: IN PROCESS
19. Sustainable Tourism: YES

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

Please refer to Decision Making: Coordinating Bodies.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

Please refer to Decision Making: Coordinating Bodies.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

No information is available.

Programmes and Projects 

No information is available.

Status 

No information is available.

Challenges

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising  

No information is available.

Information

No information is available.

Research and Technologies  

No information is available.

Financing

No information is available.

Cooperation

No information is available.

 

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This information was provided by the Government of Ireland to the fifth and seventh sessions of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: February 1999.

For Ireland's Department of the Environment and Local Government, click here.

For access to ENFO, click here.

Click here for Ireland's Environment Protection Agency.

For information on Environmental Law around the World, click here:

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MAJOR GROUPS

WOMEN

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

No information is available.

Programmes and Projects

No information is available. 

Status 

No information is available.

Challenges

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising  

No information is available.

Information

No information is available.

Research and Technologies

No information is available.  

Financing

No information is available.

Cooperation

In Ireland, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women was ratified on 23 December 1985.

 

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This information was provided by the Government of Ireland to the fifth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: 1 April 1997.

For information on WomenWatch in different countries, click here:
For information on national plans of action in the follow-up to the Beijing Conference, click here:

CHILDREN AND YOUTH

No information available.

 

* * *

INDIGENOUS PEOPLE

No information available.

 

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NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

No information is available.

Programmes and Projects

No information is available. 

Status 

Local and National major groups are considered essential in the overall contribution to the National sustainable development initiatives, and participate most actively at the local level. In particular, NGOs are involved in the National Economic and Social Forum, the Advisory Committee to the Environment Protection Agency, and the National Forum on Development Aid. NGOs were also consulted in the preparation of the National Sustainable Development Strategy during 1996. They have taken part in the 1996 meeting of the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD), and will again in 1997. They have also participated in other UN meetings, such as the Social Development Summit, Copenhagen, and the Women's Conference, Beijing. Financial aid is given to a number of NGOs linked with Agenda 21 issues, and the Government considers NGOs and major regional groups (for example, Amazonian, Baltic, Pacific) as being quite helpful.

Challenges

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising  

No information is available.

Information

No information is available.

Research and Technologies

No information is available.  

Financing

No information is available.

Cooperation

No information is available.

 

* * *

 

This information was provided by the Government of Ireland to the fifth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: 1 April 1997.

LOCAL AUTHORITIES

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

No information is available.

Programmes and Projects

No information is available. 

Status 

In Ireland, local authorities are empowered by the Local Government Act, 1991. It was recommended that the National Sustainable Development Strategy for 1997 should be accompanied by a complementary strategy for local levels. The strategy should involve the whole community, its local elected members, and other community and representative groups. The Government supports Local Agenda 21 initiatives, which given the structure of governance in Ireland, should be at county and borough levels. Guidelines were issued by the Department of the Environment in mid-1995 to assist local authorities in developing local Agendas 21.

Challenges

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising  

No information is available.

Information

No information is available.

Research and Technologies

No information is available.  

Financing

No information is available.

Cooperation

No information is available.

 

* * *

 

This information was provided by the Government of Ireland to the fifth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: 1 April 1997.

Click here for Dublin Regional Authority

WORKERS AND TRADE UNIONS

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

No information is available.

Programmes and Projects 

No information is available.

Status 

In Ireland, the National Authority for Occupational Safety and Health (NAOSH) is responsible for enforcing safety in work legislation and promoting safety awareness among employers and employees.

Challenges

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising  

No information is available.

Information

No information is available.

Research and Technologies  

No information is available.

Financing

No information is available.

Cooperation

No information is available.

 

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This information was provided by the Government of Ireland to the fifth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: 1 April 1997.

BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

The Department of Enterprise and Employment is responsible for the implementation of industrial policy. The Department works closely with the Departments of Agriculture, Food and Forestry, and the Marine in developing natural resource based industry reconciled with conservation and environmental protection objectives.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

The Community Support Framework (CSF) 1994-1999, is based on principles which will entail: focusing on cleaner technologies, waste minimization and recycling, and pursuing a policy of conservation of energy and other raw materials. Voluntary initiatives in relation to the industrial sector include: participating in the annual industry environment awards schemes, exploring the potential of voluntary agreements to reduce emissions, developing initiatives to implement the National Recycling Strategy, and implementing environmental management and auditing at the company level. In March 1995, Ireland, as an European Union (EU) member, launched the Eco-management and Audit Scheme (EMAS), and complemented it with some of their own standards under the Environmental Management Systems (EMS). Integrated pollution control (IPC) and the licensing measures handled by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are continuously being expanded to address a broader range of industrial activities.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

No information is available.

Programmes and Projects

No information is available. 

Status 

No information is available.

Challenges

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising  

No information is available.

Information

No information is available.

Research and Technologies

No information is available.  

Financing

No information is available.

Cooperation

No information is available.

 

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This information was provided by the Government of Ireland to the fifth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: 1 April 1997.

SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNICAL COMMUNITY

No information available.

 

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FARMERS

No information available.

 

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SCIENCE

No information available.

 

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INFORMATION

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

No information is available.

Programmes and Projects

No information is available. 

Status 

On 20 May 1993, Ireland put into law, a Directive 90/313/EEC on freedom of access for all persons to information held by public authorities in relation to the environment. The Planning and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Licensing Regulations have been amended to provide fuller access to environmental information. The Access to Information on the Environment Regulations, 1996, gave improved access to information under the European Union (EU) Directive. On the more general question of freedom of information, a Freedom of Information Bill was published in December 1996 and is now before Parliament.

The Irish Government is committed to work towards a new set of indicators in relation to Sustainable Development. This commitment was backed by a two-day conference on Sustainable Development Indicators which was fostered by NGOs and the academic community. An initial study "Formulating Indicators of Sustainable Development", commissioned by the Department of the Environment (DOE) from the Economic and Social Research Institute, was published in April 1996. The development of indicators will involve a number of Government departments, NGOs, sectoral representatives, and international experts.

The availability and quality of sustainable development information at the national level can be summarized as follows:

Agenda 21 Chapters

Very good

Good

Some good data but many gaps

Poor

Remarks

2. International cooperation and trade  

x

     
3. Combating poverty  

x

xx

   
4. Changing consumption patterns  

x

     
5. Demographic dynamics and sustainability  

x

     
6. Human health

x

       
7. Human settlements

x

       
8. Integrating E & D in decision-making        

n.a.

9. Protection of the atmosphere

x

       
10. Integrated planning and management of land resources    

x

   
11. Combating deforestation  

x

     
12. Combating desertification and drought    

x

   
13. Sustainable mountain development    

x

   
14. Sustainable agriculture and rural development  

x

     
15. Conservation of biological diversity  

x

     
16. Biotechnology  

x

     
17. Oceans, seas, coastal areas and their living resources  

x

     
18. Freshwater resources

xx

       
19. Toxic chemicals

xx

       
20. Hazardous wastes

xx

       
21. Solid wastes

xx

       
22. Radioactive wastes    

x

   
24. Women in sustainable development    

x

   
25. Children and youth    

x

   
26. Indigenous people  

x

     
27. Non-governmental organizations    

x

   
28. Local authorities    

x

   
29. Workers and trade unions    

x

   
30. Business and industry    

x

   
31. Scientific and technological community    

x

   
32. Farmers    

x

   
33. Financial resources and mechanisms    

x

   
34. Technology, cooperation and capacity-building    

x

   
35. Science for sustainable development  

x

     
36. Education, public awareness and training  

x

     
37. International cooperation for capacity-building  

x

     
38. International institutional arrangements  

x

     
39. International legal instruments  

x

     
40. Information for decision-making    

x

   

Challenges

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising  

No information is available.

Information

No information is available.

Research and Technologies

No information is available.  

Financing

No information is available.

Cooperation

No information is available.

 

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This information was provided by the Government of Ireland to the fifth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: 1 April 1997.

Click here for the Central Statistics Office of Ireland.

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INTERNATIONAL LAW

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

No information is available.

Programmes and Projects 

No information is available.

Status 

No information is available.

Challenges

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising  

No information is available.

Information

No information is available.

Research and Technologies

No information is available.  

Financing

No information is available.

Cooperation

A listing of major agreements and conventions which Ireland has entered into and which are relevant to Agenda 21 includes:

 

 

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This information was provided by the Government of Ireland to the fifth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: 1 April 1997.



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