OECD assesses Ireland for 'sustainable' goals

Ireland is reaching targets in relation to available water, economic productivity and carbon emissions coming up to 2030 but falls down when it comes to areas like smoking and access to education, according to a major report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

The OECD report on sustainable development goals in advanced economies found Irish progress had been made in 10 key areas, while it was close to hitting the mark on a number of others.

"Ireland has already achieved the targets relating to water stress, GDP productivity, and CO2 (carbon dioxide) intensity," the report said.

Water stress describes when demand for clean water exceeds availability during challenging periods such as prolonged dry spells or flooding.

Carbon dioxide intensity describes emissions in relation to the activity of a pollutant.

The OECD report said that the Republic is "still very far" from meeting 2% of the targets, including tobacco consumption, and participation in lifelong learning.

Overall, the report said that compared to the OECD average, Ireland outperforms on goals such as poverty eradication, gender equality, climate and institutions such as government.

It is "relatively further away" on education and biodiversity, or the variety of plant and animal life, the OECD said.

Some of the most economically advanced countries have still not met targets in poverty reduction, youth employment, education and training, gender equality and numerical literacy, some 11 years out from the 2030 so-called "sustainable development goals", the OECD warned.

The report said medium-term GDP growth and productivity growth are "on the wane" in many countries, while one in seven people in the OECD area live in poverty, and one in four 15-year-olds and adults lack basic numerical competency.

Obesity and unemployment have been rising in a third of OECD countries since 2005, and in 13 countries vaccination coverage is dropping, risking outbreaks of diseases thought to have been eradicated.

The number of threatened species is on the rise in two-thirds of OECD countries, it said.

"Unfortunately we are very far from being able to declare Mission Accomplished,” said OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría.

"We must all redouble our efforts, with countries working together to make sure that the goals are achieved within the deadline that the international community set four years ago," she added.

Across the OECD, 14% of youths are not in education, employment or training, with rates above 20% in Italy and Turkey, while Spain is at 17%, along with Chile and Mexico.

Women hold fewer than a third of seats in national parliaments on average in the OECD, with no country achieving the target level of equal participation, the OECD said.

Earlier this month, another OECD report found that providing access to computers in schools is not enough and governments will need to review life-long teaching to keep up with automation.

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