20/02/19

Minister Madigan announces new measures to protect Ireland’s biodiversity at the opening of the first official National Biodiversity Conference

  • Establishing a Climate Action Programme within the Department of Culture
  • Doubling annual funding for County Biodiversity Actions to €1m by 2021
  • Creating an Irish Business and Biodiversity Platform
  • Introducing legislation to create a Biodiversity Duty on public and local authorities, and to improve implementation of the National Biodiversity Action Plan 2017-21

Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Josepha Madigan TD, will announce a number of new Government initiatives to protect Ireland’s biodiversity.

She  will be opening Ireland’s first National Biodiversity Conference which is taking place at Dublin Castle.

Jointly organised by The Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and the Irish Forum for Natural Capital, the event brings together all key stakeholders from Government, public bodies, business and NGOs to identify measures to help reverse biodiversity loss and implement  the  National Biodiversity Action Plan 2017 – 2021.

She will outline a number of major new Government initiatives to protect Ireland’s biodiversity including:

  • Doubling annual funding by the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht for biodiversity actions by local authorities’ Biodiversity and Heritage Officers to €1m and doubling funding to tackle invasive species by 2021;
  • Establishing a Climate Action Programme within the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht to improve understanding of the impact of climate change on biodiversity;
  • Creating an Irish Business and Biodiversity Platform with Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation with a range of Irish businesses;
  • Introducing legislation to create a Biodiversity Duty on public and local authorities, to improve implementation of the National Biodiversity Action Plan 2017-21;
  • Improving surveillance, detection and prosecution of wildlife crime with a Memorandum of Understanding with An Garda Síochána;

The conference is aiming to agree at least 20 Seeds for Nature among stakeholders across all sectors of our society and our economy. To advance this, Minister Madigan is hosting a meeting of senior leaders from Government, business and NGOs at the conference.  She will ask the Biodiversity Forum to oversee on a partnership basis the delivery of these measures.

Minister Madigan acknowledges that we are the first generation that has a clear picture of the value of nature and the enormous impact we have on it and believes that with that knowledge, comes a clear responsibility. Quoting the Living Planet Report 2018, she says “We are the last generation that can to reverse this trend. And the time for action is now. We are well past the point of well-meaning rhetoric and pious aspirations. Our impact on disappearing nature poses a clear and present danger to this and future generations.”

The Minister says the “Government has an important role to play and our vision is outlined in the National Biodiversity Action Plan. We have also committed to providing €60m funding to protect our natural heritage and biodiversity in Project Ireland 2040. My Department is protecting our National Parks and Reserves, rebuilding the National Parks and Wildlife Service, restoring bogs and carrying out extensive scientific investigation and monitoring of habitats and species. In Budget 2019 we increased funding for our built and natural heritage sector by 15% to €54.3m.”  

“So, a huge amount is being done, but we know we need to do more. The initiatives I will be announcing today are a sign of this Government’s commitment to protecting and restoring nature.”

“However, success will only come through collaboration with farmers, foresters, fishers, local authorities, businesses and communities. I’m asking everyone to lead within their own sphere of influence for a new horizon for nature in Ireland. Our rivers, our kingfishers, our woodlands, our salmon, our pollinators, our meadows, our eagles, our whales and dolphins, will not thrive without it.”

Jane Stout, Professor in Botany at Trinity College Dublin and Director of the Irish Forum on Natural Capital commented, “Nature underpins every transaction and every decision we make. We need to value it and invest in it. The Irish Forum on Natural capital is working with a diverse range of partners to help value, protect and restore Ireland’s natural capital and ecosystem services. By recognising the value of nature and making informed decisions, we can help reverse nature’s decline. This will benefit nature and people. This conference is a call to action – it is bringing people together to make nature count.”

In addition, Minister Josepha Madigan TD will also announce that her Department is seeking the views of the public on the draft Biodiversity Sectoral Climate Change Adaptation Plan.  The plan, which is cross sectoral,  aims to protect biodiversity from the impacts of climate change and to conserve and manage ecosystems so that they deliver services that increase the adaptive capacity of people and biodiversity. It will be open for public consultation until 17th of April 2019.

ENDS

View details of the conference here:

diversityconference.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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