The Irish Wildlife Trust today (16/2/21) welcomes the report of the National Biodiversity Forum which highlights serious weaknesses in the state’s approach to biodiversity protection.
The IWT particularly welcomes the recommendation that the next National Biodiversity Action Plan be placed on a legal footing to ensure accountability for its delivery – in a similar manner to the Climate Action Bill.
The independent expert report highlights the shocking failure of the state in abandoning its responsibilities to conserve nature and in particular it emphasises the need for government policy to be aligned to the goals of the National Biodiversity Plan. Currently, policies to expand economic output from the sea or agricultural land are directly at odds with biodiversity targets.
The report highlights that existing protected areas on land and sea are merely ‘paper parks’ which offer no real protection while endorsing a new approach to reaching national and EU targets of protecting 30% of land and sea by 2030. The report says this should be done with public land while also incentivising local communities and private landowners to create nature reserves.
IWT campaign officer, Pádraic Fogarty (who represented the Environmental Pillar on the National Biodiversity Forum) says “we can’t just go on producing colourful reports. The state must acknowledge its central role in delivering on commitments made in previous plans. Complying with environmental legislation is the bare minimum that we should be striving for – we need to be a whole lot more ambitious in restoring nature to our island.”
The government will shortly be preparing Ireland’s fourth National Biodiversity Action Plan. The IWT urges Minister Malcolm Noonan (the minister responsible for developing the plan) to endorse the report of the National Biodiversity Forum and to act swiftly on its recommendations.