The Irish Wildlife Trust (IWT) welcomes the publication today (April 5th 2023) of the final report and recommendations of the Citizens’ Assembly on Biodiversity Loss. It confirms that the State has abjectly failed to protect nature, including breaking laws and ignoring its own policies.
This can’t be just another report and the government must move rapidly to implement its recommendations. We don’t need any more committees or speeches and the Citizens’ Assembly report largely confirms what was already known. The actions needed to reverse biodiversity loss have been widely articulated and supported by evidence for at least three decades. The missing ingredient has been the government’s determined avoidance of taking the necessary remedial actions. There has been a fundamental absence of leadership in dealing with this crisis.
We whole-heartedly agree with the Citizens’ Assembly that the State has “fundamentally failed” in its duties and that must change without delay.
The Government must signal its support for this report by vocally backing the EU’s proposed Nature Restoration Law, which will set legally binding targets to restore nature across a range of species and habitats, including farmland, cities and the marine environment. Government ministers have so far been equivocal, or even openly negative, about this law, which will be fundamental in meeting climate and biodiversity targets by 2030 and beyond.
The IWT particularly welcomes the recommendation by the Citizens’ Assembly to change the Constitution to provide rights to nature and to people to a healthy environment. We also welcome the support for NGOs, like the IWT, for our role in raising awareness of biodiversity and holding the State to account for its failings.
In particularly we also welcome the following key recommendations:
The IWT wants to thank the chair of the Citizens’ Assembly, Aoibhinn Ní Shúilleabháin as well as the expert group and the participating citizens themselves for giving generously of their time.