Ireland’s 3rd National Biodiversity Action Plan, ‘Actions for Biodiversity 2017-2021’, was officially launched today by Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys TD. It sets out 119 specific actions through which a range of government, civil and private sectors will seek to achieve Ireland’s ‘Vision for Biodiversity’.
The 119 actions sit under a framework of seven strategic objectives. These include mainstreaming biodiversity into decision-making across all sectors; strengthening the knowledge base for the conservation, management and sustainable use of biodiversity and ecosystem services; increasing awareness and appreciation of biodiversity and ecosystem services; conserving and restoring biodiversity and ecosystem services in the wider countryside; conserving and restoring ecosystem services in the marine environment; expanding and improving management of protected areas and species; and strengthening international governance for biodiversity and ecosystem services.
Professor of Zoology at Trinity College Dublin, Yvonne Buckley, is Chair of the National Biodiversity Forum, which comprises 14 members from local government, academia, Environmental Non-Governmental Organisations, business, and on-ground agri-environment programmes. The Forum contributed to the development of the Plan and engaged more broadly on its focus with other key stakeholders throughout the process.
Declines in the quality of our natural environment and the biodiversity it supports affect all of us, and nature in Ireland is in trouble. Over 90% of its protected habitats, such as grasslands and peatlands, are either inadequate or in bad condition.
As a result, experts agree that we need substantial action to maintain and restore the quality of our natural capital. Agriculture, forestry, fisheries, peat extraction, air and water pollution, climate change and invasive species are all significant threats and need to be addressed.
Professor Buckley said: “Greater efforts are needed in species and habitat protection and in reducing pollution to ensure that Ireland meets its commitments under national, EU and global regulations and policies.”
“In the Forum we have been particularly struck by the need to increase awareness and appreciation of biodiversity and ecosystem services among policy makers, businesses, local communities, and the general public. The actions outlined in the 3rd Biodiversity Action Plan will help us to do that.”
“Government, industry, communities and individuals all have their roles to play in carrying out actions for biodiversity and providing the necessary funding to support the actions. By carrying out actions for biodiversity across national parks, farms, bogs, seas, road verges and our own land and gardens, we will ensure that the benefits and services we get from nature are delivered as broadly as possible.”
Launching the Plan, Minister Humphreys, TD, said: “We are lucky in Ireland to be surrounded by an abundance of nature. This natural heritage supports our livelihoods and enriches our lives. Though an increasing number of us now live in cities and towns, nature is close by and many of us are lucky enough to have the opportunity to engage with it on a daily basis.”
“The new National Biodiversity Action Plan for 2017-2021 demonstrates Ireland’s continuing commitment to meeting and acting on its obligations to protect our biodiversity for the benefit of future generations through a series of targeted strategies and actions.”