Outputs from Ireland’s National Biodiversity Conference is now online in an interactive conference report

Today, the International Day for Biodiversity, May 22 2019, the interactive report for Ireland’s National Biodiversity Conference was published by the National Parks and Wildlife Service of the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (npws.ie) and Irish Forum on Natural Capital (naturalcapitalireland.com).

The two-day conference, which sold out five weeks in advance, attracted over 500 delegates and 4,500 live streamers to join proceedings in Dublin Castle on 20th and 21st February 2019 in order to listen, learn and discuss the future of biodiversity in Ireland.

The conference report includes videos, synopses and key facts from the 89 speakers (46% of whom were women), including President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins, who gave his famous quote: “If we were coalminers, we would be up to our knees in dead canaries.”

It also details the conference charter, ‘Seeds for Nature’, which includes a suite of commitments from 14 Government Departments, state agencies, businesses and NGOs that go above and beyond current work programmes to take action for nature and support the implementation of the National Biodiversity Action Plan 2017-2021. Since the charter was announced, the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht:

  • Launched a €2 million fund to enable local biodiversity action
  • Are promoting legislation to introduce a Biodiversity duty which will require public bodies to enhance or restore nature as part of their functions
  • Released funds to undertake a Financial Needs Assessment for Biodiversity
  • Will release a fund to enable the Biodiversity forum to oversee the implementation of the National  Biodiversity Action Plan

Dr Ciaran O’ Keeffe, Head of Science and Biodiversity at the NPWS in the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht said:

Our first National Biodiversity Conference brought together people from all walks of life and energised and encouraged every one of us. President Michael D. Higgins’ inspirational words powerfully affirmed the need for protection and restoration, and the huge range of contributions from the podium, the floor and online urged us all, in our wide-ranging roles and lives, to do more and to do better, for nature and natural capital.

Professor Jane Stout, Director of the Irish Forum on Natural Capital and Professor in Botany at Trinity College Dublin, said:

Despite widespread concern about the current state of nature and the insufficient resources available to protect and restore biodiversity and ecosystems in Ireland, the first National Biodiversity Conference was filled with a sense of optimism. It showed that different sectors are in fact pulling in the same direction, demanding the transformative changes – the paradigm shifts – that we need in order to ensure nature is the first consideration, not the last, in our decision-making. And it demonstrated that we are further down this road than we might think: people do care. They are willing to conserve nature. People do value biodiversity.”

The conference came on the back of Ireland’s 3rd National Biodiversity Action Plan, ‘Actions for Biodiversity 2017-2021’, which was launched in October 2017. Through talks, debates, workshops and creative elements, this event raised awareness of the Plan and explored some of its key aspects, including:

  • How to better engage with communities across Ireland to conserve biodiversity
  • How biodiversity can help us adapt to a changed climate
  • Where funding for biodiversity comes from, and how that money is spent

Information about the conference and the conference report is available at www.biodiversityconference.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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