Agenda 21 must form the core of programme for government say Irish environment groups

Coherent implementation of Agenda 21 must form the core of the new programme for government in order to provide the radical change needed to ensure a sustainable future for Irish society Irish environment groups warned in Dublin today.
Agenda 21 is a UN supported roadmap to sustainability. The Environmental Pillar, the representative body for twenty eight of Ireland’s national environmental groups, published their ‘Programme for Government proposals’ document today. Charles Stanley-Smith, chairman of An Taisce said “The new programme for government must adopt Agenda 21 as an underlying principle for all aspects of its decision-making.”
The Pillar propose that as a first step towards implementation, the government publish a National Sustainable Development Strategy by January 2010, and then ensure its application at all levels of governance.
The document outlines over sixty key areas which need action, covering climate change, the natural and built environment, the economy, and democracy.
“The fast rate of climate change, and Ireland’s high levels of per capita emissions, wealth, and renewable energy resources demand a high degree of action” said Pat Finnegan, of Grian. “The country can become a leader in the international fight against climate change, but first it needs to produce a coherent, integrated institutional framework with ambitious emissions targets.”
Agriculture, tree cover, marine and biodiversity initiatives based on an “ecosystems approach” will ensure that the resources upon which the nation depends are protected and managed.
Planning, transport, and energy must be subject to a proper Strategic Environmental Assessment of future carbon emissions and their impact on energy, water, food security as well as the effects of Peak Oil.
Areas of action to develop sustainability in the economy include encouraging investment in renewable energy, sustainable waste management, and environmental services, an annual land value tax, amendments to property related legislation and creation of a property register. Other suggestions include levies and grants to reward reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and non-debt based money and financing systems.
The Pillar’s ‘Programme for Government proposals’ provides ideas for increasing participation in democracy and governance. It calls for the ratification of the Aarhus Convention, an amendment to the Constitution providing for the Right to a clean and healthy environment, the creation of an Ombudsman for the future, and the creation of ‘science shops’ in the nations’ universities and colleges.
The Document can be viewed here.
The position expressed in this release has been developed by members of the Environmental Pillar but is not necessarily the policy of each member group in the pillar.
Note to editors:
The following are available to provide more detail:
Pat Finnegan, Grian: Action against climate change
Kathy Marsh, Sonairte: Natural Environment
Charles Stanley-Smith, An Taisce: Built Environment
Emer O’Siochru, Feasta: The Economy
Michael Ewing, Environmental Pillar: Democracy
For more information and contact:
Danny Walsh (IEN Communications Officer) – 086 812 7139