Way forward: Collaboration & Active Participation

In September 2015, Ireland, along with the other 192 United Nation Member States adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This Agenda is a plan of action for people, planet and prosperity with focus on 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Several efforts spearheaded by the Department of Environment, Climate & Communications to promote the 17 SDGs, provide avenues for stakeholders from all sectors to contribute towards achieving SDGs in Ireland. In this blog we explore the role and potential of the philanthropy sector in furthering SDGs in Ireland.

What is the philanthropy sector doing to support the achievement of SDGs in Ireland?

Ireland has been consistently recognised as the most generous country and it is estimated that there are 159 Irish entities dedicated to philanthropy, i.e. about one per 30,000 Irish citizens. Annual contribution by philanthropic organisations in Ireland, in 2020 was estimated to be €79.4 Million.

Philanthropy has immense potential to be a driver of change in Ireland and its support has made significant strides towards meeting the targets of SDGs. At Philanthropy Ireland, we analysed 1500+ social initiatives in the country that were supported by 24 philanthropic organisations between 2018 and 2021. The results indicated that a total of 1153 initiatives that received a total grant support of over €110 Million contributed towards advancing 14 of the 17 SDGs.

The below image presents the philanthropic support extended to further the cause of SDGs between 2018 and 2021:

More information on the initiatives can be found here: https://philanthropy.ie/pi-map/

Way forward: Effective SDG implementation in Ireland

I. Collaboration: Public-Private-Partnerships

II. Active Participation: National SDG Stakeholder Forum

I. Collaboration: Public-Private-Partnerships

Public and private funding could be channelled towards social initiatives and innovation that address sustainability challenges in a structured and systemic manner. Collaboration is not just beneficial, but essential. There is a need for collaborative and targeted funding initiatives with impact driven approach to designing sustainability solutions.

Experiences of public and private investment show that collaboration can drive impact, positively addressing some of the most pressing social needs.

Successful partnership models have taken many forms such as:

Match funding partnerships such as that with Rethink Ireland (who have created a cumulative social fund of €72m since 2016).

Seed investment such as that made by government in 2000 into Community Foundation Ireland (who in 2022 alone disbursed over €25m in grants).

Service agreements, effecting the work of Genio in areas including mental health and homelessness.

Co-investment such as that with The Atlantic Philanthropies on 19 projects in youth, children, dementia and disability. These are all models of significant collaborative success on issues of significant social challenge and need.

These are also examples of how philanthropy has been a key lever in collaborative efforts between Government, not-for-profits and philanthropic organisations, in addressing social challenges. There is real potential and need to advance such initiatives in support of strategic SDG implementation and achievement.

II. Active Participation: National SDG Stakeholder Forum

Recognising the collective ownership of the SDGs, the SDG National Stakeholder Forum was established by the Government to inform further development of the national SDG framework, and to provide a mechanism for stakeholders from all sectors to discuss and workshop innovative ideas and solutions for achieving the SDGs in Ireland. The Forum aims to provide stakeholders with opportunities to contribute to implementing and communicating the Goals, and inputting to the national reporting framework.

There is a strong need for members of the philanthropy sector to actively engage and participate in the public consultation processes and meetings of the Stakeholder Framework. This can help the sector harness the potential of the various avenues of public participation made available for furthering SDGs in Ireland.

Philanthropy Ireland at the UN SDG Stakeholder Forum

Philanthropy Ireland has been leading the efforts to represent the philanthropy sector at the UN SDG National Stakeholder Forum:

– Philanthropy Ireland participated in meeting of the National Stakeholder Forum that took place on 17 January, 2023 at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. The meeting focused on the key principle of Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development: Leaving No One Behind. At the meeting, we contributed towards defining ‘Leaving no one behind’ and further made inputs towards developing a policy to ensure that no one is left behind.

– Philanthropy Ireland also made a submission for inclusion in Ireland’s 2023 Voluntary National Review (VNR) highlighting the contributions of the philanthropy sector in Ireland to support the achievement of the SDGs. The submission also made key recommendations to further increase SDG implementation and build back a better Ireland while leaving no one behind.

Have Your Say! You can input towards the implementation of SDGs as a stakeholder from the philanthropy sector.

Philanthropy Ireland is collating inputs to submit to the next meeting of the SDG National Stakeholder Forum which will take place in April 2023. Write to us at [email protected] with your inputs and inquires.

By Pavithra Ramesh
Impact Research Lead
Philanthropy Ireland