The One Planet Summit, which takes place today at the initiative of French president Emmanuel Macron and which will be attended (virtually) by Malcolm Noonan, Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform, will draw attention to the biodiversity crisis and will pave the way for a mooted ‘Global Deal for Nature’, due to be held in China later this year (COP15 of the Convention on Biological Diversity).
The IWT welcomes Minister Noonan’s confirmation that Ireland will be among the group of countries which have formed a ‘High Ambition Coalition for Nature and People’. This coalition is committed to the protection of 30% of land and sea by 2030 (in Ireland ‘protected’ areas currently cover 13% of land and 2.5% of sea), as well as the promotion of Nature-based Solutions to address the climate crisis.
Minister Noonan’s commitment, on behalf of the government, is welcome but must be backed by urgent action to end overfishing, create Marine Protected Areas, restore bogs, rivers and forests, reduce pollution and create a nature-friendly farming system.
IWT campaigns officer, Pádraic Fogarty, says “We’ve had 40 decades of talking so we really need to start acting in a way that reflects the state of emergency declared by the Dáil nearly two years ago. We’re still waiting on delivery of commitments made in the 1990s and 2000’s which were to have seen extinction and pollution as a thing of the past. Yet our extinction crisis is only deepening”.
The IWT is calling on minister Noonan to outline how he intends for Ireland to reach the ambitious new goal of protecting 30% of land and sea by 2030 in a way that will foster local and community stewardship of the natural environment. We also call on him to urgently deliver on commitments made in the Programme for Government including commencing the review of the National Parks and Wildlife Service and publishing the expert report on Marine Protected Areas which has been on his desk since last October.