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Policy and Advocacy

Launch event of 'Women Taking the Lead' report.

Tackling the structural causes of poverty and injustice is core to Trócaire’s approach to how we work.

As well as engaging people in Ireland to take action on issues of global injustice, we also work with our leaders and elected representatives to play an integral role in building a just and sustainable world.

We urge those with power to take action –both domestically and within international forums – to contribute significantly towards global justice.

We provide expert analysis, research, policy briefs, reports and opinion pieces relating to the key policy issues which affect the communities we work with all over the world.

Our advocacy campaigns for nearly half a century have challenged apartheid in South Africa, businesses abusing human rights, trade with illegal Israeli settlements, and for over a decade we have raised the urgent need for Climate Justice.

We continue to hold the Irish Government, the Northern Ireland Assembly and the UK Government to account for their policies and actions which impact on global poverty and injustice.

Priority Issues

  • Preventing Climate Breakdown:

    “We risk a ‘climate apartheid’ scenario where the wealthy pay to escape overheating, hunger and conflict, while the rest of the world is left to suffer.”
    – Philip Alston, UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights, 2019.

    Ireland and much of the rich world have yet to experience the extent of the devastating impacts of climate change that are a persistent reality for the poorest people in the world. A crisis they played no part in creating.

    Trócaire has been responding to the impacts of climate change in the poorest countries of the world for more than a decade. We support communities to pick up the pieces when disasters strike. As climate impacts see disasters increase in frequency and intensity, however, the ability of people to bounce back is being severely eroded. There is a limit to what the poorest people can be expected to adapt to.

    Political debate on the island of Ireland on climate change has increased in recent years largely as a result of increased public concern. However, Political Parties and State institutions as a whole have yet to respond at the scale and pace that science, survival and justice demand. We need to urgently champion the Paris Agreement to avert climate catastrophe.

    Trócaire calls on Ireland to:

    • Enshrine a target of net zero emissions by as early a date as possible, by enacting an amendment to the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Act 2015, and introduce legally-binding five-year national carbon budgets to get us there.
    • Increase the EU’s 2030 climate targets, to at least 55%, aiming for 65%, and deliver an 8% a year annual reduction in emissions in the lifetime of the next Government.
    • Increase its current annual climate finance allocations approximately six fold, alongside fulfilment of ODA commitment to deliver 0.7 by 2025, to deliver its fair share of current joint donor climate finance commitments.

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  • Businesses respecting Human Rights:

    Trócaire is leading a campaign on business and human rights in response to widespread reports of corporate human rights abuses in the communities in which we work. This includes the displacement of communities, violent evictions, pollution of land and destruction of livelihoods. This has a disproportionate impact on women and indigenous communities.

    Killings of land, environmental and indigenous defenders are increasing year on year. Human rights defenders are increasingly being labelled as terrorists and criminals. Since 2015, more than 2,000 attacks on activists working on human rights issues related to business have been documented. In 2019 alone, 304 human rights defenders in 31 countries were targeted and killed for their work.

    There is a major gap in the regulation of corporate activities by states and in access to remedy for victims of human rights violations. It should not be a voluntary option for companies to choose whether they respect human rights or not. Stronger regulation is needed both nationally and internationally to provide a legal framework to ensure corporations do not violate human rights in their operations.

    Trócaire calls on Ireland to:

    • Adopt mandatory human rights and environmental due diligence legislation, to ensure businesses respect human rights across their activities and value chain and to establish a corporate duty to respect human rights.
    • Support and contribute to the development of a UN binding treaty on business and human rights to regulate the activities of transnational corporations and other business enterprises, which will complement the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.
    • Advance EU mandatory human rights and environmental due diligence legislation.

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  • Taking action on Israeli Settlements:

    Trócaire has worked in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories since 2002. We work together with both Israeli and Palestinian civil society organisations to support people affected by conflict and human rights violations.

    Trócaire has worked in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories since 2002. We work together with both Israeli and Palestinian civil society organisations to support people affected by conflict and human rights violations.

    These settlements are illegal under international law. Trócaire is supporting Palestinian communities on the ground who are forcibly removed from their land in order to make way for these settlements.

    Israeli and foreign businesses involved in activities related to these settlements maintain and sustain Israel’s illegal settlement enterprise and thereby contribute to violations of international law.

    At present, there is a historic opportunity for Ireland to take action on this issue. We can pass legislation that would make it illegal in Ireland to sell goods from Israeli settlements.

    A majority of the Seanad and the Dáil have already voted in favour of the Occupied Territories Bill. However, it now needs the support of the 33rd Dáil to pass into legislation.

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  • Transforming the World’s Food System

    Ireland has a strong history of leadership in working to eliminate global hunger. However, despite the progress in reducing global hunger over recent decades, there are more than 820 million people living in hunger.

    Since 2015, the prevalence of undernourishment has stagnated. The absolute number of people living in hunger is again rising. More than a quarter of the world’s population, some 2 billion people, do not have regular access to nutritious and sufficient food.

    On this evidence, the current global agricultural food system will not deliver on the Sustainable Development Goal of zero hunger by 2030. It is clear that current agricultural and food policies are leaving a large number of the world’s poorest people behind.

    Furthermore, industrial agricultural systems are contributing to climate change, biodiversity loss and soil erosion. For these reasons, there is an urgent need for a global transition towards more sustainable and equitable agriculture and food systems.

    Internationally, Ireland can renew its leadership role in combatting hunger by promoting transitions towards sustainable and resilient agricultural and food systems. Systems that deliver on the adequate right to food for all, advance social equity and address the challenges of climate change.

    Trócaire calls on Ireland to:

    • Actively support international processes, including those at the Committee on World Food Security, designed to deliver sustainable and transformative food systems in support of the 2030 ambition of zero hunger.
    • Implement national policies across key sectors, including the agriculture and food sector that deliver the total emission reductions Ireland is obligated to meet under international climate agreements.

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