Lifetime Achievement Award

The aim of the Dóchas Lifetime Achievement Award is to highlight and honour the important work of an individual who has been a champion of international development and global justice throughout their lives. This is the first time we are giving out this award and we are delighted to honour David Donoghue, as he commences a new journey upon retiring from the Department of Foreign Affairs.

David Donoghue, with former Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-Moon

We would particularly like to honour David for his vital work as co-chair of the negotiations on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs have provided us with a roadmap that could bring about transformative change for all of the world’s citizens. David Donoghue’s strength of leadership in the negotiations was central to their success.

Born in Dublin in 1952, David Donoghue has had a long and varied career in the Department of Foreign Affairs. His overseas postings have taken him at different times to Rome, Bonn, Paris, Moscow, Vienna and Berlin.

He worked for many years on Anglo-Irish relations and the Northern Ireland peace process. He was involved in the negotiation of the Anglo-Irish Agreement (1985), the Downing Street Declaration (1993) and the Good Friday Agreement (1998). He served as the Irish head of the Anglo-Irish Secretariat in Belfast, a particularly challenging and sensitive post, from 1995-99. In this capacity he was a member of the Irish Government’s negotiating team for what was to become the Good Friday Agreement. 

He went on to become the Irish Ambassador to the Russian Federation from 1999-2001, coinciding with Vladimir Putin’s initial ascent to power. In 2001 he returned to Dublin as Director-General of Irish Aid. His three years at the helm coincided with a significant expansion in the resources and thematic range of the Irish Aid programme. In 2004 he became the Irish Ambassador to Austria and the Vienna-based UN agencies. In 2006 he was appointed the Irish Ambassador to Germany, serving in Berlin for three years at the beginning of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s period in office.

In 2009 he returned to Dublin as Political Director in the Department of Foreign Affairs, a post which gave him a broad overview of Ireland’s foreign policy in all its dimensions – ranging from human rights and the Middle East to conflict resolution and disarmament policy -- as well as responsibility for its day-to-day management.

In September 2013, David took up duty as Ireland’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York, a post for which his prior experiences managing the country’s foreign policy and its development cooperation programme amply qualified him. Immediately on his arrival, he served as co-facilitator, or co-chairman, for UN negotiations to produce an agreed outcome from a Special Event of the General Assembly which reviewed the progress made to date on the Millennium Development Goals.

In 2014 he was appointed co-facilitator, with the Ambassador of Kenya, for intergovernmental negotiations which led to the adoption of the ground-breaking 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in September 2015.  And in 2016 he served as co-facilitator, with the Ambassador of Jordan, for negotiations which produced a landmark agreement, called the New York Declaration, on a wide set of issues relating to the protection of refugees and migrants.