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NESC publishes Council Report no 152: Grounding the Recovery in Sustainable Development: A Statement from the Council



February 18th 2021


Urgent Climate and Biodiversity Action Can Drive Ireland’s Recovery

NESC publishes Council Report no 152: Grounding the Recovery in Sustainable Development: A Statement from the Council

Rising to the challenge and seeing the possibility of change, as demonstrated by our response to Covid-19, is needed to tackle the climate change and biodiversity crises. This is the key message of a new Statement issued by the National Economic and Social Council today. The Council sets out the importance and value of grounding the recovery in sustainable development.

The Council, which represents interests and stakeholders from across the private sector, Government, social and community organisations, independent experts and the environmental pillar, believe that we as an society are at a moment to reset.  Government has set out its committed to more ambitious action on climate in the Programme for Government.

The Council argues that this can be a moment to reset in terms of ambition and action to reduce emissions and restore biodiversity. Such action is necessary and urgent and can also drive the recovery, while also meeting our commitments in the Paris Climate Agreement and deliver the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

Positive action on sustainable development can bring multiple benefits to the economy, society and nature. Director Dr Larry O’Connell said today that ‘Investing in nature and in reducing emissions will create jobs and at the same time become a means of re-imagining our economy and society, and crucially the relationship between them and our natural environment’.

Dr O’Connell continued that ‘we need to balance priorities in ways that enable Ireland to thrive, protect the wellbeing of people, and protect and restore the very foundation on which our lives depend: the air we breathe, the food we eat, the water we drink’.

The Council acknowledges the challenges and uncertainty that Ireland faces but believes that there is widespread support to make real progress. It sets out how it will work to help the Irish policy system to embrace these opportunities. The Council will continue to contribute to the framing and analysis of sustainable development and climate action, including the importance of just transition and engagement. It is probing what cities need to do to be resilient; exploring what will enable communities to be more economically resilient and how to place conditions on State investment to make it greener.


Note to Editors:

This publication is referred to as a Council Report, prepared by the National Economic and Social Council, an independent Council comprising employers, trade unions, farmers, community and voluntary sector representatives, environmentalists, senior officials from Government departments, plus independent members.  The Council was set up to analyse and report on strategic issues relating to the efficient development of the economy, the achievement of social justice and environmental sustainability.  The report is available on NESC’s website at


For further information, please contact:


Dr. Larry O’Connell, Director

The National Economic and Social Council

16 Parnell Square

Dublin D01 E7C1

Email: Larry.O’

Telephone: +353 8146332



To view the full report click here


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