PRESS RELEASE: IWT welcomes recommendations from the Citizens’ Assembly on Biodiversity Loss

Nov 28

Press Release: Irish Wildlife Trust welcomes recommendations from the Citizens’ Assembly on Biodiversity Loss

28th November 2022


The Irish Wildlife Trust (IWT) warmly welcomes the recommendation from the Citizens’ Assembly on Biodiversity Loss that the constitution should be amended to better protect biodiversity. The IWT had asked in our submission that the rights of nature be enshrined in our Constitution as well as recognising the rights of people to a safe and healthy environment. Currently there is no reference to nature or biodiversity in the Constitution which leaves little recourse to hold the government of the day to account for their neglect of this issue.

The Assembly also denounced the State for having “comprehensively failed to adequately fund, implement, and enforce existing national legislation, national policies, EU biodiversity- related laws and directives.”. The State can no longer shirk its responsibilities and must start immediately to right these wrongs.

IWT campaigns officer, Pádraic Fogarty, says: “Recognising that nature has a right to exist, that species have a right to live and thrive in Ireland and that people depend upon nature for health and prosperity would mark a radical but necessary shift in our ethics. It would signal that we no longer see it as acceptable to destroy nature at every turn for the sake of convenience or short-term gains. Our dysfunctional relationship with the rest of the natural world is at the heart of the climate and biodiversity emergency and amending the Constitution would signal that Irish people are ready to re-evaluate that relationship”.

Granting rights to nature has been done in other countries and has very practical benefits as well as symbolic ones. It would give nature the right to represent itself in court, just as corporations can today, and assert its right to exist, thrive and evolve.

The IWT wants to acknowledge the enormous contribution of the participating citizen’s in arriving at these recommendations (notwithstanding that more work is to be done in the new year) as well as the chair of the Assembly, Aoibhinn Ní Shúilleabháin, and the expert group that provided support.

CONTACT: Padraic Fogarty IWT Campaigns Officer