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Sustainable Development

National Sustainable Development Policy
Comhar Sustainable Development Council
European Union Sustainable Development Council
Life+ Programme
Green Public Procurement (GPP)
Further Information



Sustainable Development is usually defined as "development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs".

While obviously this is an overarching issue, which concerns all sections of this Department, all other Government Departments and the whole of society, the Sustainable Development Unit deals with the policy issues driving the sustainable development agenda.

National Sustainable Development Policy

Under the terms of “Towards 2016”, the current Social Partnership Agreement, the Government is committed to publishing a renewed National Sustainable Development Strategy in 2008. Sustainable Development Unit is co-ordinating the preparation of this Strategy. The renewed Strategy will replace our first National Sustainable Development Strategy, “Sustainable Development – A Strategy for Ireland”, published in 1997, and “Making Ireland’s Development Sustainable”, published in 2002. 

  • Making Ireland's Development Sustainable - 2002

    “Making Ireland's Development Sustainable”, a five-year review of the original 1997 Strategy, was produced by the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government fin 2002. It also served as Ireland’s national report on sustainable development to the Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development held in 2002. The report examines progress made in the ten years since the Rio de Janeiro Earth Summit.


  • Sustainable Development - A Strategy for Ireland - 1997

    The aim outlined for Ireland in our first sustainable development strategy, published in 1997, was "to ensure that economy and society in Ireland can develop to their full potential within a well protected environment, without compromising the quality of that environment and with responsibility towards present and future generations and the wider international community".


The principal goals and polices defined in the 1997 publication Sustainable Development: A Strategy for Ireland continue to inform the development and delivery of policies and programmes in the area of environmental protection and sustainable development.  The integration of environmental considerations into other policy areas is a key means of securing balanced development.


Comhar Sustainable Development Council

Comhar Sustainable Development Council, established by the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government in 1999 is the forum for national consultation and dialogue on all issues surrounding Ireland's pursuit of sustainable development. With effect from 2012 the sustainable development role, currently performed by Comhar SDC will be integrated into the National Economic and Social Council. Further information about Comhar (external link)  

European Union Sustainable Development Policy

The Amsterdam Treaty made Sustainable Development a core task of the European Community.  In December 1999 the EU heads of State and Government asked the Commission to produce a Sustainable Development Strategy for the EU and present it to the Göteborg Summit in June 2001. This Strategy was entitled “A Sustainable Europe for a Better World”(external link) .

At its meeting on 15/16 June 2006, the EU heads of State and Government adopted a Renewed EU Sustainable Development Strategy (external link)

Further information on EU Sustainable Development activities can be obtained from the European Commission’s Sustainable Development webpage (external link)


Further Information

Sustainable Development Unit
Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government
Room 2.51
Custom House
Dublin 1


Fax: +353 (0)1 888 2014

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