News & Events

Ireland supports Sustainable Development Goals at UN Oceans Conference in New York

Domestic Legislation Will Prohibit Sale or Manufacture of Certain Products containing Microbeads 

Minister of State Breen Announces $1 Million in Support of Developing Countries’ Progress on SDGs and Paris Climate Agreement Commitments 

Delivering Ireland’s National Statement at a major international Conference on the Oceans taking place this week at UN Headquarters in New York, Minister of State Pat Breen TD has today highlighted the need for all nations to support achievement of UN Sustainable Development Goal 14 (‘Life Below Water’). 

Underlining the importance of this week’s meeting, Minister Breen noted that:“ In our world today there are entire countries and regions being left behind. Left behind because of their size, their remoteness, their poverty. Increases in global temperature, sea level rise, ocean acidification and other climate change impacts are seriously affecting coastal areas and low-lying coastal countries, including many least developed countries and Small Island Developing States.” 

The Minister further outlined Ireland’s contribution to the global effort to tackle ocean pollution and confirmed that Ireland will legislate domestically to prohibit the sale or manufacture of certain products containing microbeads:“At the national level, Ireland has put in place a National Integrated Maritime Plan to enable us to protect and develop our greatest natural resources. This integrated approach means the management of our marine resources is done in a holistic way that integrates our economic, environmental and social concerns, mirroring the ambition of the SDGs. 

Plastic marine litter, including microplastics, represent a serious and growing threat to the health of our marine ecosystems and to human health and I am pleased therefore to confirm that Ireland will support Sweden’s initiative calling for ban on microbeads in cosmetics. 

Ireland will legislate domestically to prohibit the sale or manufacture of certain products containing microbeads including not just cosmetics, but also body care and cleansing products as well as detergents and abrasive surface cleaning products. It will not solve the microplastic problem, but it is an important start.” 

Minister Breen also announced today that over the next three years Ireland will provide $1 million in funding to help enhance the statistical capacity of developing countries, with a particular focus on Small Island Developing States, to implement and monitor their progress towards achieving their SDGs and Paris Agreement commitments. The funding will be delivered via the World Bank’s Trust Fund for Statistical Capacity Building and to the G.E.F. Trust Fund for the Capacity Building Initiative for Transparency. 


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Notes to the Editor:

  • The United Nations Ocean Conference brings together Heads of States, Heads of Governments and other high-level delegates, representatives from civil society organizations, the business community, intergovernmental and UN agencies as well as renowned personalities, and other ocean and marine life advocates at the Ocean Conference on 5 to 9 June to spur action to improve the state of the world’s oceans.  
  • The Ocean Conference, the first UN conference of its kind on the issue, will focus on achieving the targets of Sustainable Development Goal 14, highlighting the need to conserve and sustainably use oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development. 
  • The 17 Sustainable Development Goals cover a wide range of areas, and address the many causes of poverty, injustice and damage to our planet. The Goals are universally applicable and are the result of several years of inclusive consultations and negotiations between UN Member States, civil society and engaged citizens around the world.  
  • The final set of negotiations at the UN was co-facilitated by Ireland and Kenya. This culminated in the agreement entitled:  Transforming Our World:  the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The agreement consists of the 17 goals and 169 targets; an accompanying Declaration; a section on the means, financial and otherwise, by which the Goals will be achieved; and a section on monitoring and reviewing progress.