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NESC Report 153 – Shared Island: Projects, Progress & Policy

The Government welcomes the publication of NESC’s Report 153 Shared Island: Projects, Progress and Policy. 

As part of the Government’s Shared Island Initiative NESC has been asked to carry out research and to produce a comprehensive report on the Shared Island in 2021, to inform the development of the Shared Island initiative as a whole of Government priority.  The NESC research will contribute to building a shared knowledge base and understanding about possible ways in which greater co-operation can emerge across a number of economic, social and environmental areas in Ireland, North and South, and also between these islands East and West.  

The Report sets out NESC’s approach to the work in line with their remit to provide advice to the Taoiseach and the Irish Government on strategic policy issues relating to sustainable economic, social and environment development in Ireland.

The research will seek to engage with all communities and traditions on this island to build consensus around a shared future, with a focus on actionable areas of cooperation.  The work will be underpinned by the Good Friday Agreement and absolute respect for the principle of consent.

The work will build on existing areas of cooperation and produce ‘state-of-play’ reviews in a number of areas of economic, social and environmental interest.  These will include exploring issues such as the all-island economy, good jobs, regional development, poverty, mental health and social enterprise.  Consultation will take place on environmental issues where areas such as climate policy; resilience in cities; natural capital and biodiversity; renewable energy; and just transition in rural farming communities will be considered.

More in-depth work will take place exploring issues of sustainability and connectivity using a ‘place-based’ approach, documenting the lived experience in a border region.  Common issues will be identified and shared, with a view to addressing problems in a cooperative way, through innovative solutions.

Overall lessons will be drawn out from the various strands of work, providing insights into how work within the concept of a shared island is understood. 

On the basis of this work NESC will produce a report for Government later in 2021.

Note to Editors:  This research will be undertaken 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 independents.  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.  

For further information see NESC’s website at