The Environmental Pillar welcomes the publication of this Draft FSDI, and the opportunity to submit a commentary on it. The draft brings together a wide range of important information, referencing some 84 policies, strategies and international agreements and covering most aspects of the three pillars of sustainability; social, environmental and economic. Although the Environmental Pillar argues that the Strategy lacks a clear vision for Ireland in its opening statements, sustainability is clearly established as a priority for the country. Sectoral challenges, commitments and targets, gaps and measures are
listed although some omissions are highlighted here.
The Environmental Pillar notes with serious concern the absence of SMART (specific, measurable, accountable, realistic and time-bound) measures and implementation cycles without which neither the Strategy nor the 84 references it is using as metrics are likely to succeed.
It is clear that there will be conflicts between the interests of different sectors and policies prescribed in the FSDI, but there is no attempt to name these or to provide mechanisms to resolve same, despite references to partnership. Ownership of the FSDI by the public is essential for its implementation as is a strong political champion. The absence of public participation in the development of the draft will be a serious handicap in this regard.
The Environmental Pillar believes this to be a critically important strategy for the future success of Ireland, and in this submission it has attempted to address all the areas where it found gaps in the draft document. A new role for NESC as the National Sustainable Development Council would further recognise the shift away from sectoral silos towards a holistic understanding of the absolute integration of the three pillars of sustainability.
The championing of the Strategy by An Taoiseach is essential if it is to take on its role as an overarching national strategy with which all other strategies, policies, programmes and plans must concur.