09/11/11

09/11/2011 Minister Deenihan Launches Second National Biodiversity Plan

Jimmy Deenihan, T.D., Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, today (Wednesday 9th November 2011) launched Actions for Biodiversity 2011 – 2016 in the National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin, Dublin 9.

Speaking at the launch, Minister Deenihan said “Our land, water and forests provide us with food, clean water, building materials and other essentials and underpin vital economic sectors such as agriculture and tourism. For those reasons alone we should strive to protect what we have.”

‘Actions for Biodiversity 2011-2016’ builds upon the achievements of the previous plan and focuses on actions that were not fully completed and addresses emerging issues. It has been developed in line with the EU and International Biodiversity strategies and policies.

In addition to biodiversity many important ecosystems exist which provide a variety of services which bring many benefits to society and the economy; there are four main categories:

• Provisioning services (production of food and water, etc.)
• Regulating services (e.g. the control of climate and disease)
• Supporting services (e.g. nutrient cycling and crop pollination)
• Cultural services (such as spiritual and recreational benefits)

The Minister also commented on the link between biodiversity and our economy, noting that “raising awareness of the issues is a vital step in meeting our objectives and if we can inform and influence the key players, be it farmers, the business sector or the wider public, of the connection between biodiversity and the services they rely on, we will improve the success of the actions we must take.”

The measures Ireland will take are presented as 102 actions under a series of 7 Strategic Objectives.  Some of the actions within the plan are continuing elements of existing work and many are requirements under existing EU Directives. The objectives cover the conservation of biodiversity in the wider countryside and in the marine environment, both within and outside protected areas; the mainstreaming of biodiversity across the decision making process in the State; the strengthening of the knowledge base on biodiversity; increasing public awareness and participation; and Ireland’s contribution to international biodiversity issues, including North South co-ordination on issues of common interest.

Concluding Minister Deenihan said, “I believe it is crucial that all of us recognise our mutual involvement and shared objectives and work together to achieve the most advantageous outcomes for biodiversity.  We all have a role to play in protecting our natural resources and using them in a sustainable manner.”

Note for Editors:

Some of the key actions within the plan are:
• To complete the designation process for Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) and Special Protection Areas (SPAs), in particular for marine coastal and offshore SACs by 2012 and marine SPAs by 2014

• To  implement existing species action or management plans for species under threat and review and update as necessary; develop and implement additional species action or management plans for a wider range of species under threat

• The development of measures in future rural development programmes for the protection and enhancement of ecosystem services and biodiversity

• To continue and complete national measures to research and reduce adverse effects of marine fisheries, aquaculture, etc. on biodiversity

• The further implementation of a range of EU Directives

• Measures to tackle the issue of invasive alien species

• The introduction of a biodiversity duty in legislation and the consolidation of the Wildlife Acts and to improve enforcement of wildlife law

• Enhanced research on biodiversity and ecosystem services and improvements in harmonisation of data use and sharing

• The adoption of headline biodiversity indicators for Ireland

• The integration of biodiversity concerns into national accounting systems

• Enhance training, communication, cooperation and concerted action between relevant sectors in support of biodiversity conservation

• The inclusion of biodiversity and ecosystem goods and services in relevant courses in secondary and third level education
• enhanced co-operation with Northern Ireland on common issues

ENDS

Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, 23 Kildare Street, Dublin , D02 TD30. Tel: 01 631 3800 / LoCall: 1890 383 000

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