05/10/17

Minister Heather Humphreys launches Ireland’s 3rd National Biodiversity Action Plan, Actions for Biodiversity 2017 – 2021

  • New Biodiversity Plan to strengthen Ireland’s endeavours to protect biodiversity nationally and globally
  • 119 actions set out in framework of seven strategic objectives
  • Minister to set up high-level group to monitor roll-out of Plan

Minister Heather Humphreys today (5 October 2017) launched Ireland’s 3rd National Biodiversity Action Plan, ‘Actions for Biodiversity 2017-2021’ in the National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin, Dublin. The Plan sets out actions through which a range of government, civil and private sectors will undertake to achieve Ireland’s ‘Vision for Biodiversity’, and follows on from the work of the first and second National Biodiversity Action Plans.

119 targeted actions are contained in the Plan, underpinned by seven strategic objectives. The objectives lay out a clear framework for Ireland’s national approach to biodiversity, ensuring that efforts and achievements of the past are built upon, while looking ahead to what can be achieved over the next five years and beyond.

They include:

  1. mainstreaming biodiversity across the decision making process in the State;
  2. strengthening the knowledge base underpinning work on biodiversity issues;
  3. increasing public awareness and participation;
  4. ensuring conservation of biodiversity in the wider countryside;
  5. ensuring conservation of biodiversity in the marine environment;
  6. expanding and improving on the management of protected areas and protected species;
  7. enhancing the contribution to international biodiversity issues.

Launching the Plan, the Minister said:

“We are lucky in Ireland to be surrounded by an abundance of nature. This natural heritage supports our livelihoods and enriches our lives on a daily basis. We also gain many fundamental benefits from a healthy biodiversity, with many of Ireland’s economic sectors depend on our natural capital.

“The new National Biodiversity Action Plan for 2017-2021 demonstrates Ireland’s continuing commitment to acting on its obligations to protect our biodiversity for the benefit of future generations.

 “All sectors of society need to be engaged for the Plan to be a success. Local government and local community involvement, in particular, is crucial. I would like to see Local Authorities more involved in supporting the Plan through locally focussed biodiversity projects and will be considering options in this regard in the coming period.”

Turning to North-South co-operation, the Minister stressed that work should continue on an all-island basis, with programmes such as INTERREG, which is designed to promote greater levels of cross-border co-operation. The Minister said:

“Biodiversity knows no borders and we will continue to work with our colleagues in Northern Ireland towards the protection of our shared resource of wildlife.”

Minister Humphreys also highlighted the importance of Ireland’s role globally, and maintaining our commitments to a range of international organisations and conventions, at EU and UN level:

“Globally, biodiversity is declining and despite increased awareness and efforts to halt its loss, it remains threatened by human activities worldwide. The Plan includes indicators which facilitate reporting on Ireland’s progress towards national, European and global biodiversity targets. It is crucial that Ireland continues to make its voice heard for biodiversity on the global stage.”

Returning to efforts nationally to protect habitats and species in Ireland, Minister Humphreys stressed the importance of maintaining cohesion in the work being carried out by numerous agencies in the area of biodiversity. To assist this, she stated her intention to set up a high-level group to monitor the process of rolling out the Plan:

“Cohesion across government is central to the success of the Plan, and we are committed to working together, in cooperation with the many stakeholders across the heritage sector, to make the implementation of the Plan a success.

“I intend to convene a meeting with other Departments and State Agencies to set out my priorities for implementing the actions in the Plan.”

Minister Humphreys concluded by noting the contributions and continued efforts of the broad range of organisations involved in biodiversity conservation. This includes central Government Departments, State agencies, Local Authorities, the research community, national and local NGOs, local communities and individuals.

ENDS

*******The Plan is available on www.npws.ie/publications

Note for Editors:

Biodiversity is the term used to describe the full variety of life on earth including plants, animals and the ecosystems supporting them.  Biodiversity is vital to human health and well-being and key ecosystem services provide us with products and services such as food, fresh water, clean air, raw materials, carbon storage and the genetic materials used in the development of many modern medicines.

The Plan reiterates Ireland’s Vision for Biodiversity: 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”.

As a Party to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, Ireland has made a commitment to prepare Action Plans towards the achievement of the Convention’s targets:  namely to secure the conservation of biological diversity; sustainable use of its components; and the equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilisation of genetic resources.  Many of the targeted actions in the Plan also contribute towards Ireland’s obligations under EU environmental directives.

Government Departments and State agencies as well as the relevant sectors of society were invited to contribute to the drafting of this Plan. There was also a comprehensive public consultation process earlier this year.

The Plan’s seven main objectives are to:

  • mainstream biodiversity across the decision making process in the State
  • strengthen the knowledge base underpinning work on biodiversity issues
  • increase public awareness and participation
  • ensure conservation of biodiversity in the wider countryside
  • ensure conservation of biodiversity in the marine environment
  • expand and improve on the management of protected areas and protected species
  • enhance the contribution to international biodiversity issues

Some of the key actions include:

  • A number of legislative initiatives, including a National Parks Bill and the introduction of a requirement on public bodies to take consider biodiversity in policy and decision making
  • Actions involving agriculture and forestry, which account for over 70% of total land use in the State
  • Measures to tackle the issue of invasive alien species
  • Engagement with local communities on biodiversity issues.
  • a commitment on the integration of biodiversity concerns into Ireland’s Overseas Aid programme

 

Further information:
Biodiversity Policy and Awareness Unit
National Parks & Wildlife Service
Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht
7 Ely Place
Dublin 2
IRELAND D02 TW08

Tel: +353 1 888 3248
Email: biodiversitypolicy@chg.gov.ie
www.npws.ie

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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