Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht invites applications from local authorities for increased biodiversity funding
Minister Josepha Madigan today announced an increased allocation of grant funding for local authority projects that promote actions contained in the National Biodiversity Action Plan (NBAP) 2017-2021.
The Plan, Ireland’s third, was launched in October 2017, capturing the objectives, targets and actions for biodiversity that will be undertaken by a wide range of government, civil society and private sectors towards attaining Ireland’s ‘Vision for Biodiversity – namely that that in the future “biodiversity and ecosystems in Ireland are conserved and restored, delivering benefits essential for all sectors of society and that Ireland contributes to efforts to halt the loss of biodiversity and the degradation of ecosystems in the EU and globally”.
Stakeholder participation is crucial to achieving targets set out in the Plan, and local authorities around the country are ideally placed to engage with community groups and volunteers who may not have an opportunity to engage directly with the implementation of the Plan on a national level.
In 2018, funding was awarded to local authorities under two separate headings: implementation of the Plan and also to tackle invasive alien species of Union concern in support of the EU Invasive Alien Species Regulation (1143/2014).
This year, both of these grant schemes are being amalgamated in order to allow local authorities more freedom in how they decide to spend the funding in their areas. The Department encourages local authorities to avail of the opportunity to make applications for multi-annual projects and has committed to providing an increased amount of two million euro over three years to the new amalgamated scheme. Half a million euro will be available in 2019.
Projects for consideration might include: the enhancement of biodiversity at county level; biodiversity / heritage officer led participatory workshops; development of media products or multi-media projects, or information and training sessions etc.
Any activity proposed for funding by the local authority must contribute towards achieving the objectives of the NBAP, including raising awareness of and tackling invasive alien species, particularly those included on the European list of Union concern.
This increased allocation of funding builds an important channel of communication into the implementation of the National Biodiversity Action Plan: capitalising on the networks of biodiversity officers and heritage officers, to take account of the needs, abilities and resources of local communities and how these feed into the overarching objectives of Ireland’s national biodiversity plan.
The rollout of this scheme in 2018 laid the groundwork for the next multi-annual phase of the grants scheme and it is hoped that it will help encourage continued engagement at local level with the implementation of our National Biodiversity Plan through 2021 and raise awareness of biodiversity issues locally, regionally and nationally.