Submission on behalf of the Environmental Pillar on Ireland’s Fourth National Biodiversity Action Plan.
In May 2019, Dáil Eireann declared a climate and biodiversity emergency making Ireland only the second country to do so. Despite this and a multitude of government commitments, targets and timelines we continue to see the health of the environment deteriorate and even once common species edge towards national extinction. While some notable actions have been taken such as the of the National Parks and Wildlife Service, we are still awaiting an emergency response commensurate with the scale of the crisis we face. We have yet to see biodiversity loss prioritised or indeed recognised across many government departments, while the leading driver of biodiversity loss remains government policies in sectors such as farming, forestry and fishing. Even ‘green’ policies linked to climate change mitigation and adaptation have not been designed in a way that takes nature into account.
We know that the drivers of biodiversity loss are deep rooted, resulting from the complex interplay
of socio-economic, cultural and environmental factors at both a national and global level. Addressing
underlying systemic issues such as overconsumption, governance, globalisation and climate change
will not be easy and it won’t happen overnight but we must recognise the necessity for change and
act accordingly. Effectively addressing biodiversity loss will require addressing unsustainable policies
within key sectors and in some cases, it will require root and branch reform. A visionary and
enforceable National Biodiversity Action Plans (NBAP) is essential to deliver an all of government and
all of society response to biodiversity loss. Key to this will be ensuring that NBAP addresses the
failings of past plans and has the ambition to not only deliver on the targets of the EU Biodiversity
Strategy and the Draft Nature Restoration Law but that it looks to exceed their ambition. Even the
most ambitious actions are only as good as their implementation. To ensure that the NBAP is fully
realised much more will need to be done to enhance the transparency and accountability around the
implementation of this plan.
Ireland has the ability to be a world leader in biodiversity restoration; we know that when
conservationists, farmers and communities are given the tools we need we can turn the tide on
biodiversity loss. This has been demonstrated in the evolution of a distinctly Irish approach to
Results Based Agri-Environmental Schemes where we have seen Ireland already establish itself as a
world leader in this space.
We are providing our input into the draft NBAP in the hope that the views of ourselves and the
public will be considered and that the existing commitments within the draft plan can be built upon